The Council of the Lutheran World Federation re-elected Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko for his second seven-year term as the LWF General Secretary, during the international meeting held in Geneva Switzerland, September 1, 2004.
Following his reelection, which took place during a closed session during Council, Noko said he was “deeply appreciative” and expressed the hope to attend the next LWF Assembly, scheduled between 2009 and 2010.
As General Secretary, Noko will act as the Chief Executive Officer of the entire organization – a group that oversees more than 66 million Lutherans worldwide.
Noko was first appointed as general secretary in June 1994, becoming the first African to hold the position in the LWF.
The following is a brief biography of Noko, as provided by the LWF:
Born on 29 October 1943 in then Rhodesia, Noko received his primary and high school education locally. He pursued his theological studies at the University of South Africa in Pretoria, and at the University of Zululand. He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1971, majoring in systematic theology, church history and biblical studies.
After his ordination in 1972, he studied for a Master's degree at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, and completed in 1974 with a thesis on “Communion of Saints from the African Perspective.”
From 1974 until 1977, Noko studied at McGill University in Quebec and earned his Ph.D. with a doctoral thesis on “The Concept of God in Black Theology: An Appreciation of God as Liberator and Reconciler.”
During his studies in Canada, Noko worked as a parish pastor and university lecturer. In late 1977, he accepted a lectureship at the University of Botswana where, two years later, he was appointed head of the Department of Theology/Religious Studies. He also served for three years as Dean of the Faculty of Humanities.
In May 1982, Noko was called from the University of Botswana to join the LWF Department for World Service (DWS) where he worked for refugee services related to the churches, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Organization of African Unity and other organizations.