Intercultural Competence and Undoing Racism team

Building intercultural competence and undoing racism 

The Intercultural Competence and Undoing Racism team assists AMBS in its strategic priority of building intercultural competence and undoing racism throughout the institution. AMBS is committed to creating a learning community where all voices and experiences are valued.

The Intercultural Competence and Undoing Racism team consists of administrators, teaching faculty, staff and students. It functions as a partner with the administrative cabinet, the board of directors and other seminary departments and committees.

Intercultural competence

ICUR defines intercultural competence as the ability to positively engage patterns of difference and commonality in values, beliefs and practice both within one’s cultural groups and across cultural groups. This competency is achieved through a developmental process of increasing “cultural self-awareness, understanding the experiences of diverse communities, and the capability to adapt one’s mindset and behavior to bridge across differences” (Mitchell R. Hammer). The Intercultural Development Inventory is the primary tool shaping our work in this area.


ICUR defines racism as race-based prejudice combined with the systemic abuse of power. Racial categories and racism have served to maintain supremacy and privilege for those identified as white.

Therefore, undoing racism entails naming, challenging and transforming racially oppressive attitudes and behaviors; strengthening solidarity between white and marginalized communities; and encouraging subordinated racial groups to resist race-based injustice.

ICUR recognizes that there are many other related social sins and unjust hierarchies that wound the body of Christ. The team strives for a more intersectional analysis to confront the web of oppression more fully.

Meet the ICUR team – Employees

Leah Thomas
Leah R. Thomas, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care; Director of Contextual Education
Nekeisha Alayna Alexis, MA
Intercultural Competence and Undoing Racism coordinator
Drew Strait, PhD
Assistant Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins

ICUR Team – Students

Each year, select students are invited to join the ICUR team.

Our approach

ICUR’s approach to increasing intercultural competence and resisting racism is both interpersonal and systemic in nature. This commitment involves advocating for changes in policies and practices, and helping people become effective allies for justice and compassionate agents of reconciliation across the dividing walls of hostility.

This work is essential for kingdom-building, so that we may be made one in Christ and bear witness to the world by the way that we love one another. (Leviticus 19:18; John 17:19-26; Ephesians 2:11-19; Colossians 3:10-17).

Tasks and accomplishments

Some of our accomplishments include facilitating changes to student employment practices to ensure greater fairness in hiring for campus jobs; conducting conversations with faculty candidates and reporting back to search committee members; initiating intercultural competence assessment activities for all employees; and arranging anti-racism training for new employees. ICUR also hosts educational and social events that provide healthy spaces for dialogue around intercultural and race-related issues.

ICUR Library Guide

The AMBS library, in collaboration with the ICUR team, has organized a collection of materials on intercultural competence, undoing racism, intersectionality and other related topics. These resources support the seminary’s vision and strategic priorities. Some of these resources are available for use by alumni and community members in the Elkhart region.