Originally published by the office of Alumni Relations.
“Dr. Ray Casey (Robertson School of Government, ‘97, School of Business & Leadership, ‘01, and School of Divinity, ’97 & ‘13) is the CEO of Hagar International USA, an international NGO that works with women and children who are suffering from the trauma resulting from slavery, trafficking and abuse.
Ray described that Hagar International’s vision is to see “communities free and healed from the trauma of trafficking, slavery, and abuse. We work with those who have been affected by trauma and those who support them. Hagar’s expertise is in care and recovery, and we believe that when healing happens, the cycle of trauma stops.” Founded twenty-two years ago by an Italian Swiss couple who traveled to Cambodia as part of a Youth With A Mission (YWAM) outreach, Hagar now works in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Afghanistan, and has recently expanded into Myanmar.
The U.S. branch of Hagar International focuses on educating, advocating, and fundraising on behalf of programs on the ground. “We travel throughout the U.S. and seek to educate people on the global problem of human trafficking. We have a great partnership with International Justice Mission (IJM), and they work on the front end of the process in terms of rescuing and providing legal protection. Hagar specializes in the intensive after-care process of the healing, recovery, and re-integration. It is not uncommon for the women and children that we serve to be with us for two and a half to three years as they go through the trauma recovery process.”
Each year, Hagar works with 850-900 women and children, and each one undergoes an economic empowerment process in order to assist them with finding employment after they leave Hagar’s care. “Re-integration into safe communities is key for us,” Ray explained, “as we make it our goal for them to move from survivors to thrivers. With the right support and capabilities, people can recover and take the lead in their own journey to wholeness.”
Ray’s awareness of the pervasiveness of human trafficking came, in part, from leading several overseas mission trips with his two young daughters. Ray said that he and his wife were passionate about “sowing the seed of mission with their children,” which has been an intentional focus for all twelve of their children. “As Christ’s followers, we are called upon to see what God sees and to hear what God hears and to respond to those who, due to circumstances beyond their control, have had to flee and to take refuge from some of the most severe human rights abuses.”
Prior to joining Hagar roughly two years ago, Ray held a number of different educational leadership positions in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and South Carolina. Most recently, he served as Head of School at Westminster Catawba Christian School, during this time he was enrolled in the D.Min. program in the School of Divinity with an educational leadership focus.
Ray heard about Regent via The 700 Club and was inspired by the vision put forward by Dr. Pat Robertson. “The level of inclusivity and clarity about the Kingdom and the Gospel and the importance of leadership in changing the world resonated with me and my wife. That is what inspired me to apply, and it was life changing.”
He falls into the rare category of alumni that have received four degrees from Regent from three different graduate schools. In 1997 Ray graduated with a joint degree in Public Policy and Biblical Studies from the Robertson School of Government and School of Divinity, respectively. He returned shortly after to work on an MA in Management 2001 from the School of Business & Leadership. Finally, Ray completed a Doctor of Ministry degree in 2013 from the School of Divinity.
The investment that we put into the training that we got from Regent, and the dividends and the fruit that came out of the training that we received have just been invaluable and really shaped, in large measure, our life and worldview as we have embraced that mission of Christian leadership to change the world.”
Jacob Ragsdale works for Regent University office of Alumni Relations.