New Kids on the Block: A Look at the 5 New World Division Presidents
- Division presidents are also members of the Executive Committee, the second highest governing body of the Adventist Church.
- In between General Conference Sessions, the Executive Committee is delegated the authority to act on behalf of the General Conference in Session.
- New division heads are replacing outgoing presidents who officially served only one term.
14 June 2022 | During the June 8, 2022, afternoon business session of the 61st General Conference (GC) Session of Seventh-day Adventists in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., presidents of the Adventist Church’s 13 world divisions were voted in.
Except in cases of retirement or death, division presidents are typically voted in during GC Sessions, which usually occur every five years. Due to COVID-19, the GC Session slated for 2020 was postponed twice, and finally happened in 2022.
Although the majority of the division presidents are incumbents, five of the division presidents are new. All the new division heads are replacing presidents who have officially served only one term and have been in office less than nine years. Of the outgoing presidents, Raafat Kamal had been in office the longest, since 2014.
Roger Caderma replaced former Southern Asia-Pacific Division President Saw Samuel, who was moved into a higher administrative position this year. One new president, Robert Osei-Bonsu, does not appear to have any high-level church administration experience, but does have extensive high-level educational administrative experience.
Perhaps coincidentally, four of the five divisions with new presidents receive some of the highest percentages of appropriations from the GC, according to the Treasurer’s Report (see page 18). The Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division receives 9.1%, the Southern Asia-Pacific Division receives 9.3%, the Trans-European Division receives 11.2%, and the West-Central Africa Division receives 11.5%.
Division presidents are also vice presidents of the GC and members of the Executive Committee, the second highest governing body of the Adventist Church, after General Conference Session. In between Sessions, the Executive Committee is delegated the authority to act on behalf of the General Conference in Session.
Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD)
Yo Han Kim is the new president of the NSD. Previously, he was the NSD director of Adventist Mission and assistant to the NSD president, reported the Adventist Review. He was also the associate director and director of the 1000 Missionary Movement (1000MM) in the Philippines for a total of 10 years. He was the business manager of Sahmyook Health University in the Korean Union Conference from 2006 to 2012, and Mongolia Mission president from 2016 to 2021.
Yo Han Kim replaces Si Young Kim as the region’s president. Si Young Kim was elected in 2017 during a Special Executive Committee meeting.
Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division (SID)
Harrington Akombwa is the new SID president. He was president of the Zambia Union Conference/Southern Zambia Union Conference from 2008 to 2020, reported the Adventist Review. He has worked in church administration since 1994, and was the Zambia Union Conference secretary from 2000-2008, and president of the West Zambia Field from 1994-1998.
According to an Adventist Echo article, Akombwa also was elected in 2021 as an SID vice president, and his term was to last until 2025.
Akombwa replaces Solomon Maphosa, who was elected in 2016 to replace Paul Ratsara, who retired.
Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD)
Roger Caderma is the new president of the SSD. For the past few months, he has been the SSD vice president, reported the Adventist Review. From 2017 to 2021, Caderma served as president of the South Philippine Union Conference, after being the region’s executive secretary from 2015 to 2017. Before that, he was president of the Southern Mindanao Mission from 2008 to 2015 and stewardship and planned giving director of the South Philippine Conference from 2005 to 2008. He also served in religious liberty positions, both in the South Philippine Conference and the Western Mindanao Conference.
Caderma replaces Saw Samuel, who was elected as SSD president in 2016. At this year’s GC Session, Samuel was elected as one of the new associate secretaries of the General Conference. Samuel’s wife, Orathai Chureson, also was elected to a higher position this year as the new Children’s Ministries Director of the GC.
Trans-European Division (TED)
Daniel Duda is the new TED president. For the past few years, Duda has been the TED field secretary and TED Adventist Mission director. From 2005 to 2015, he also was the region’s ministerial secretary. He was also appointed TED education director in 2005, reported the Adventist Review.
He was the head of the Theology Department and academic dean at Zaoksky Theological Seminary (now Zaoksky Adventist University) in the Russian Federation before arriving at Newbold College in 1998, where he held several positions.
Duda replaces Raafat A. Kamal, who was elected president of the TED in 2014.
West-Central Africa Division (WAD)
Robert Osei-Bonsu was voted in as the new WAD president after serving as dean of the Theological Seminary at the Adventist University of Africa (AUA) in Kenya. He has been an associate professor at AUA since 2020, reported the Adventist Review.
Before 2020, Osei-Bonsu was a church pastor in Ghana, but also worked in various educational administration positions at Ghana’s Valley View University, including as rector (chief academic and administrative officer) and pro-vice chancellor of the school. Osei-Bonsu has also worked as a youth, chaplaincy, and communication director of the South Central Ghana Conference.
Osei-Bonsu replaces Elie Weick-Dido, who was elected in 2015.
(Photo: Division presidents and their wives are seen right after their election by the 61st GC Session on June 8, 2022. Photo by Josef Kissinger via Adventist Record.)