The Sophia Institute Innsbruck is sponsored by the Faculty of Catholic Theology of the University of Innsbruck. The Sophia Institute Innsbruck has  an advisory board, which awards the scholarships according to academic merit. The advisory board consists of representatives of the University of Innsbruck, the Diocese of Innsbruck, and the development cooperation.

The Faculty of Catholic Theology of the University of Innsbruck, not least because of its connection with the Jesuit order, has established itself as a supra-regional training center for the world church. There are currently more than 100 students from all over the world enrolled in the Faculty's doctoral programs.

The Faculty is committed to the intentions of Professor Dr. Herlinde Pissarek-Hudelist, who became its dean – and the world's first female dean of a Catholic theological faculty –  in 1989 in Innsbruck. Already at that time she was passionate to advance the concerns of women in theology . Her commitment and efforts to promote women remain a mission for us today.

The Faculty of Catholic Theology has many decades of experience in accompanying students from all over the world. It trains people to take on leadership roles in  their home countries, not least in:

  • educational institutions,
  • social and health care,
  • pastoral ministry,
  • peace work,
  • and the media.

The Sophia Institute Innsbruck expands on this tradition by qualifiying female multipliers to promote holistic development worldwide.

The Diocese of Innsbruck supports this concern because it understands the importance of an international and inter-contextual outlook in theology. The universal church in the wake of the Second Vatican Council lives through the diversity of its local churches. These are called to develop their culturally and contextually distinct shaped theological approaches. For churches of the Global South, learning to engage with world church involves  understanding the European tradition, but for European theology it involves encounter and dialogue with, and learning from, the theologies of the Global South.

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