Coming to Budapest for hope in education


Christian Life

Evert van Vlastuin, CNE.news

ACSI gathers education leaders from Europe in Hungary. Photo Facebook ACSI

This week’s education conference in Budapest has many purposes. But for co-organiser Paul Madsen, just one thing makes him happy. “School leaders are really able to connect and have fellowship with each other.”

Madsen works at the office of ACSI Europe in Budapest. That Hungarian capital is the place for this week’s conference, IELC 2024 (International Education Leadership Conference), held from Wednesday to Saturday. This conference has been organised every second year since 2015. This year’s topic is Anchors of Hope for Christian Education.

Madsen at an earlier conference. Photo Facebook
Paul Madsen admits that hope is not to be found in Christian education itself. “Christ is our hope. Where the Bible speaks about hope, for instance, in Hebrews 10, it speaks about Christ, not about something else. But a Christian school can be an instrument for pointing to that.”

On Wednesday, he expects 160 educational leaders from 82 institutions from 30 countries in Budapest. “We bring them together in a professional setting to focus on the spiritual needs of the leaders. The goal is that we understand our responsibility as leaders in our school. Our task is to bring hope in providing solid Biblical education to reach the peoples of Europe.”

Most visitors to the conference come from European countries, like Romania, Poland and Britain. But Madsen also hopes to meet colleagues from Australia, South Africa and Bethlehem in Palestine.

All those countries differ in their (legal and political) context, Madsen knows. “That message of hope in Christ brings unity in the diversity and theological backgrounds. Our responsibility is to transmit that hope in every aspect of the school.”

As with all conferences, this meeting in Budapest also has a social goal. “We see that there is a need to connect school leaders. They like to see God’s bigger work in Christian education globally and here in Europe. That gives them a new vision for their daily work. By meeting, they can be encouraged by how others have met challenges. And realise that God has blessed them in so many ways.”

Many leaders come from the 300 to 350 schools in contact with ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) in Europe. Most of these schools are in Hungary, Romania, Germany and Holland. A few are in Poland, France, Austria, Czechia and Slovakia.

What would make you happy at the end of the conference on Saturday?
“That the school leaders have been able to connect with each other and have had a deep level of fellowship about the hope in Christ. We’ve chosen more specific topics for this event, like the role of AI in education and gender and sexuality. I am very much looking forward to the conversations about that and the inspiring Biblical perspectives that are shared. The application might be different in all countries, but the principles are the same.”



Subscribe for an update, and receive a documentary and e-book for free.

Choose your subscriptions*

You may subscribe to multiple lists.