As the Director of European Programs for Duquesne University, Community of Christ Seminary alumnus MICHAEL WRIGHT ’22 calls Rome, Italy home.
In that role, he has helped establish two international campuses for Duquesne — one in Dublin, Ireland, and the other in Rome. All undergraduate and program-specific graduate students can spend a semester or summer abroad at these locations. Along with developing programs across Europe and Africa, Wright also co-teaches a course called Intercultural Awareness. This course connects American and Italian students on a project called “Be the Difference – Never Again.” Through this project, students collaborate to piece together the life and history of a soldier who is buried or memorialized at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery where 11,000 American World War II soldiers are buried. Wright commented, “I tell the students during our visit that the dead no longer speak, no longer complain. They lay at peace. But the true peace developing is in the relationships developed by our students who come from two different nations, cultures, and languages. These young people are learning how to make the world a more peaceful place.”
It was Wright’s own mission of creating a more peaceful and just world that led him on a journey of finding a faith that aligned with that mission. This ultimately led him to the 2019 Community of Christ (CoC) World Conference. After conversations with Apostle Richard James and the Seminary’s Dean, Zac Harmon-McLaughlin, Wright enrolled in the Seminary, Fall of 2019. Wright was grateful for the flexibility of the Master of Arts in Religion program offering online study, as he had a full-time career and lived abroad. One in-person experience at the Temple, however, was where everything connected. Wright told the story of a man who came to talk with his cohort. Having served time in prison, the man no longer felt welcome among the Community of Christ members. “Our class put into practice the ideas of dignity, justice, and love we had learned in class. The man left knowing he was welcome among us. All that I was learning felt possible and a glimpse of a more peaceful and just world — Zion, or the Peaceable Kingdom — felt like it could be within reach.”
Wright uses his Seminary education by continuing to find creative ways to educate American students in the mission of creating a more peaceful and just world. He has also published several papers and articles written during his years in the Seminary. He has been a presenter for Community of Christ’s Historic Sites lecture series, is a member of the Leadership Team for Community of Christ’s online congregation, is the Ministry Coordinator for Italy, a member of the Western Europe Mission Center Council, and currently awaiting priesthood ordination in the Community of Christ.