DAI's basic approach is to listen first, research the real needs of leaders, then design tools that respond to those needs effectively and begin putting in place an indigenous distribution system to enable leaders to access those tools. Every course DAI has written came about this way, including the popular Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) program that currently has over 1,000 students enrolled. Local Christian leaders grow in their integrity and effectiveness through ongoing training, mentoring, consulting and access to critical resources. DAI's programs continue to grow and evolve as new needs are identified or needs change.
In 1990, two distinguished professors believed they could make a difference in the lives and ministries of key leaders in the Majority World. Together, they founded The Center for Organizational Excellence at Eastern College. Their dream was to enhance the integrity and effectiveness of Christian leaders worldwide.
Dr. James F. Engel taught at Wheaton College for 18 years. Beside a highly successful secular career in marketing research, he served as a trainer and consultant to over 250 Christian organizations in 60 countries. In spite of all his success, a passion continued to burn in Dr. Engel to do more.
Meanwhile, Dr. David Fraser had gained significant exposure to leaders at the grass roots level, serving as a member of the senior staff of the MARC Division of World Vision International with responsibilities for Unreached Peoples. He had also served with the Mission Training and Resource Center for three years, helping to develop curricula and training models. Having taught in more than 15 countries he also carried a passion for effective leadership development.
Together the two undertook nearly three additional years of research in various parts of the world to identify key areas of need that would have to be addressed for Christian leaders in the majority world to be effective and positively impact their communities.
Over the next five years the curriculum was created, field-tested, modified, and retested. Methods of distribution were tried and evaluated. It began to become clear that interactive, story-based learning focused on asking the leader questions and requiring application enabled leaders to change. This method put the focus on learning and transformation of the leader and his leadership practices. Staff and volunteers were recruited, including men and women with expertise in the most critical fields, and the ministry began to expand. The organization incorporated as its own 501(c)3 corporation to enable growth and changed the name to Development Associates International (DAI) in 1996.
Where We Work
What We Do
Whether in DAIâ€™s multi-session workshops or Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership Program (MAOL), we strive to develop leaders through education that combines principles and knowledge along with practical application. We teach a leadership style modeled after Jesus Christ, encouraging leaders to serve others from a place of spiritual connection and integrity.