ATC: Invited Speakers
African Christian Theology:
Memories and Mission for the 21st Century
Recalling African theology’s origins,
envisioning its 21st century mission
March 22-25, 2017
Notre Dame Global Gateway
Via Ostilia, 15
- Nwando Achebe is an award-winning author, professor of history, and Faculty Excellence Advocate (FEA) for the College of Social Science at Michigan State University. She is the founding editor-in-chief of the Journal of West African History, published by Michigan State University Press; member of the African Studies Association’s (ASA) Board of Directors, and past co-convenor of ASA’s Women’s Caucus. Dr. Achebe received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2000. In 1996 and 1998, she served as a Ford Foundation and Fulbright-Hays Scholar-in-Residence at The Institute of African Studies and History Department of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. She is also a 2000 Woodrow Wilson Women’s Studies Fellow. Nwando Achebe’s research interests involve the use of oral history in the study of women, gender, and sexuality in Nigeria. Her first book, Farmers, Traders, Warriors, and Kings: Female Power and Authority in Northern Igboland, 1900-1960 was published by Heinemann in 2005. Professor Achebe’s second book, The Female King of Colonial Nigeria: Ahebi Ugbabe (Indiana University Press, 2011), winner of three book awards—The Aidoo-Snyder Book Award, The Barbara “Penny” Kanner Book Award, and The Gita Chaudhuri Book Award—is a full length critical biography on the only female warrant chief and king in all of colonial Nigeria, and arguably British Africa.
- Archbishop Berthelemy Adoukonou is the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture. He was previously Secretary-General both of the Conférence Épiscopale Régionale de l'Afrique de l'Ouest Francophone and of the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Anglophone West Africa, as well as a consultor of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. He is a former student of Joseph Ratzinger and holds a doctorate in theology from the University of Regensburg.
- Fr. Raymond Aina, M.S.P. is a priest of the Missionary Society of St. Paul. Since 2011 he has been Lecturer at The National Missionary Seminary, Gwagwalada, in Abuja, Nigeria. He has a Masters of Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion from the Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium. In 2010, he earned his doctorate from the same university. His dissertation was entitled Overcoming Toxic Emotions and Restorative Justice: A Christian Ethical Reflection on the Promises, Ambiguities and Inspirations of Restorative Justice in Peacebuilding in Nigeria. His research interests are Restorative Peacebuilding, Catholic Social Thought, Theological Ethics, African Sexual Ethics & Conjugal Morality.
- Sr. Mary Reginald Anibueze, D.D.L. has a Ph.D. in Theology, with specialty in Liturgical Studies, from the University of Notre Dame. Her doctoral dissertation focused on an integrative study of the theological and relational aspects of ritual activities in both cultural and faith expressions. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Theology at the Catholic Institute of West Africa, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and subsequently received her Master’s Degree in Theological Studies from the University of Notre Dame. Her publications include: “Liturgical Inculturation and Actuosa Participatio: "What we have done and what we have failed to do in Africa,” in Christianity and Culture Collision: Particularities from a Global South, eds. Cyril Orji and Joseph Ogbonnaya (United Kingdom: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016) and “Immigrants and Cultural Continuance in the Liturgy: Celebrating the Nigerian-Igbo Mass in the United States,” in Journal of The Black Catholic Theological Symposium 8 (October 2014).
- J. Matthew Ashley is Associate Professor in the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, and department Chair since 2010. His Ph.D. in theology is from the University of Chicago Divinity School, where he studied with David Tracy. His areas of research are political and liberation theology, Christian spirituality, and the relationship between science and religion. His most recent books are Take Lord and Receive all My Memory: Toward an Anamnestic Mysticism, and, edited with Kevin Burke, SJ, and Rodolfo Cardenal, SJ, A Grammar of Justice: The Legacy of Ignacio Ellacuría. He is currently working on a book examining the influence of Ignatian spirituality on contemporary theology.
- John Cavadini is a member of the University of Notre Dame Department of Theology, having served as Chair of the Department from 1997-2010 and leading the Department to a top-10 ranking among doctoral theology programs. He is the McGrath-Cavadini Director of the Institute for Church Life. His main areas of research and teaching are in patristics with a special focus on the theology of St. Augustine, and on the biblical spirituality of the Fathers of the Church. He has published extensively in these areas, as well as in the theology of miracles, the life and work of Gregory the Great, catechetical theology, the theology of marriage, etc. As Director of the Institute for Church Life, he inaugurated the Echo program in catechetical leadership, the ND Vision program for high school students, the seminar "What We Hold in Trust" for trustees and presidents of Catholic colleges and universities, the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program and the Initiative in Spirituality and the Professions, among others. In November, 2009, he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to a five-year term on the International Theological Commission and was also created a member of the Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great, classis civilis. He has served as a consultant to the USCCB Committee on Doctrine since 2006.
- Fr. Stan Chu Ilo was ordained a Catholic priest in his home country of Nigeria. His educational background includes an MA in theology; an MA in educational leadership; an ecclesiastical licentiate in sacred theology; and a PhD in theology from the University of St Michael’s College at the University of Toronto (with a concentration in African Christian history’s cross-cultural currents). His areas of interest are cross-cultural studies, African intellectual and political history, African Christianity and the world Church, equity and diversity in faith-based education and ministry, religion and social transformation, and religion and violence. In addition to teaching at DePaul, Fr. Chu Ilo is also a visiting professor at Tangaza University College’s Institute of Social Ministry and Mission in Nairobi, and the founder of the Canadian Samaritans for Africa, a nonprofit that works directly with African women to help them alleviate poverty. He is coordinating CWCIT’s new African Catholicism Project, aimed at creating a network of established and emerging African Christian scholars to promote mentorship and diverse research in African Christianity and to make this scholarship more visible beyond Africa. He also has several books in various stages of production: “Suffering and Smiling: The Trials and Triumphs of God’s People in Africa”; “God in Africa: Religion and the Fate of Africans in World History”; and “The Faces of African Christianity: Telling Our Own Stories.”
- David Clairmont is the Tisch Family Associate Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. He studies comparative religious ethics, particularly the moral thought of Roman Catholicism and Theravada Buddhism, and issues of method in Catholic moral theology. He is interested in questions of moral formation, inter-cultural dialogue in the Church, and the importance of inter-religious dialogue for the future of Catholic moral theology. He is co-editor (with Don S. Browning) of American Religions and the Family: How Faith Traditions Cope with Modernization (Columbia University Press, 2007) and author of Moral Struggle and Religious Ethics: On the Person as Classic in Comparative Theological Contexts (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011). His articles have appeared in the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics and the Journal of the American Academy of Religion. He is currently working on two books: first, an analysis of the shape and contemporary relevance of Bonaventure’s moral theology tentatively titled Bonaventure’s Hope; and second, an introduction to comparative religious ethics (with William Schweiker) tentatively titled Religious Ethics: Meaning and Method.
- M. Shawn Copeland is a Professor of Theology at Boston College and has taught at Marquette University, Xavier University of Louisiana, and Yale University Divinity School. Her research interests converge around issues of theological and philosophical anthropology and political theology, as well as African and African-derived religious and cultural experience and African-American intellectual history. Copeland is a former convenor of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium (BCTS) and a former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA). She is the recipient of Barry University’s Yves Congar Award for Excellence in Theology (2000), as well as honorary degrees form Catholic Theological Union, Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, Holy Names College, and Emmanuel College. In 2009, she received the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Black Religious Scholars Group. The author of more than 80 articles, reviews, and book chapters, her more recent publications include “Enfleshing Freedom: Body, Race, and Being,” “The Subversive Power of Love: The Vision of Henriette Delille,” and “Uncommon Faithfulness: The Black Catholic Experience.”
- Pierre Diara is an Instructor of Religious Studies at the Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris and the Catholic Institute of Paris. A native of Mali, he is a native speaker of Boomu and Bambar. He teaches courses in African Religions, Epistemology, and Research Methodologies. Dr. Diarra is a member of the Research Center “Pragmatic Approaches to the Philosophy of Language and Communication” at the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris where he focuses his research on new tendencies in rituals. Among his editorial work, he is coordinating editor of the African and Amerindian articles for Rites, fêtes et célébrations de l’humanité (“Rituals, Festivals and Celebrations of Humanity”) and serves as chief editor of the Revue Mission en Eglise aux Oeuvres pontificales Missionaire (“Mission Church Review of Pontifical Works of the Missionary”). He has contributed numerous articles on African oral traditions, philosophical and theological beliefs and practices in Mali, and African approaches to humanity. Dr. Diarra is on the Board of Directors of VOVA, France.
- Fr. Cosmas Ebo Sarbah is a priest of the Archdiocese of Cape Coast, Ghana. He earned his licentiate degree from the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies, Rome and a doctorate in Islamic Studies and Interreligious dialogue from The University of Birmingham, UK. He is the director of interreligious dialogue of the Archdiocese of Cape Coast. Since 2012 he has been a lecturer of Comparative Religion and Interfaith Relations at the University of Ghana and St. Peter's Regional Seminary, Pedu.
- Fr. John Egbulefu, C.C.E. is a Nigerian priest and founder of the Congregation of Christ the Emmanuel. He was ordained priest on 1st May 1976 in the Holy Cross Parish Church at Ziril, Austria, under the hands of Bishop Paulus Rusch. Father John got doctorate in Philosophy in University Innsbruck in 1979. He transferred to the University of Munster in Germany where he did his doctoral studies in Theology in 1982. From 1984 to 1987, Father John did his post-doctoral studies in the University of Bonn, Germany and in 1989 was then called to the Vatican by Cardinal Josef Ratzinger (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) to teach Dogmatic Theology at the Pontificia Università Urbaniana. His other particular activities outside the founding and running of the priestly Congregation of Christ the Emmanuel are of scientific and pastoral nature. His scientific activities stretch from teaching at the Catholic Institute of West Africa in Port Harcourt, Nigeria and at the Urbaniana, to inter-disciplinary scientific research and publications. His pastoral activities include preaching, retreats, giving spiritual direction to Consecrated men and women as well as married and unmarried lay persons, the formation of future priests, and composing hymns for the choral adoration of God in the Blessed Sacrament.
- Fr. Mark Enemali, C.S.Sp. is a member of the faculty at the Spiritan International School of Theology Attakwu, Enugu, Nigeria. He specializes in the Old Testament and ancient Judaism. After his ordination in 2006 he worked in Tanzania before undertaking studies at the University of Notre Dame. His research interests include the reception history of the Hebrew Bible, theologies of divine presence, and ancient Near Eastern languages and cultures. His recent publications include “The Danger of Transgression against Divine Presence: The Case of the Ark Narrative (1 Samuel 4:1b-7:1; 2 Samuel 6),” Bulletin of Ecumenical Theology 26 (2014): 171-184; and “The Work of the Holy Spirit in Converts in Ephesians 2:11–22 and the Concept of Qarob in Rabbinic Literature” African Journal of Contextual Theology 6 (2016): 69-95.
- Alison Fitchett Climenhaga is a doctoral candidate in the Theology Faculty of the University of Notre Dame. She received her M.T.S. in systematic theology from the University of Notre Dame in 2011, and her B.A. from Messiah College with an interdisciplinary Humanities major and minors in Religion and Peace and Conflict Studies. Based on ethnographic and archival research, her dissertation project compares two different Catholic charismatic movements (movements that emphasize the experience of the Holy Spirit) in Uganda, with particular attention to their faith healing and deliverance practices and the controversies surrounding them. She explores how conflicts over healing—and closely allied debates about liturgical practice, religious authority, use of scripture, and healthcare delivery—are linked with processes of collective religious identity formation and broader debates about the appropriate role of religion in society.
- Nontando Hadebe is a lay woman theologian at the St. Augustine College in South Africa. She specializes in African Theology, Pastoral & Contextual Theology, Feminist & Womanist Theology, Liberation Theology, and Pastoral Psychology. She has a doctorate in theology from St Augustine College, having previously completed undergraduate and post graduate degrees at the University of KwaZulu Natal, Pietermaritzburg. Her first studies were in law, in Zimbabwe, where she specialized in the Law and Administration of Deceased Estates at the High Court of Zimbabwe, before turning to theology. Her doctoral dissertation at St Augustine was dedicated to A Trinitarian theological response to gender challenges in the context of HIV/Aids in Southern Africa. She is a member of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians as well as the TCCRSA Women's Caucus comprising Catholic women theologians in Africa. In February 2016 she was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of South Africa where she is participating in groundbreaking research with Prof Marilyn Naidoo on gender and theological education in South African institutions.
- Teresia Hinga is an Associate Professor of Theology at Santa Clara University in California. Her research focuses on religion and women's issues, particularly in Africa, African religious history, and expression in the global religious landscape, religion and public policy, and the ethics of globalization. She is a founding member of the "Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians," a pan-African association of women who study the role and impact of religion and culture on African women's lives. She is also a member of the Black Catholic Symposium of the AAR and of the Association for the Academic Study of Religion in Africa (AASR).
- Fr. Luke Ijezie hails from Imo State and is a priest of the Catholic diocese of Orlu. He is a senior lecturer at CIWA where he teaches sacred scripture and biblical languages. He studied Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute (Biblicum), Rome where he obtained the Licentiate degree in 1995, and later did the doctoral program in Sacred Scripture at the same institution until 2005, obtaining the STD from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. His area of specialization is the Old Testament, with particular focus on the historical books (Samuel – Kings). He is also a specialist in other areas of the Old Testament together with the Biblical and Oriental languages. His current research focus is on issues regarding the relationship between some African cultural traditions (Igbo, specifically) and the Old Testament biblical traditions and related cultures.
- Fr. Francois Kabasele was born in Kasayi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1947. He performed higher studies in France, where he obtained a doctorate in theology at the Institut Catholique de Paris with a specialization in liturgical sciences, a doctorate in the history of religions at the Sorbonne, a habilitation to direct studies at the Université des Sciences Humaines de Strasbourg, and a Master’s in Science of Language at the Université Paul Valéry de Montpellier. Ordained a diocesan priest in 1974, he engaged in pastoral ministry in the Congo as well as in France. He has taught liturgy, theology, and the history of religions at the Université Catholique de Kinshasa, at the Institut Lumen Vitae in Belgium, and at the Democritus University of Thrace in Greece. In France, he taught at the Institut Catholique de Paris and the Institut Catholique de la Méditerranée in Marseilles. He has written numerous works and articles on the cultures of sub-Saharan Africa and the coherence between religions and cultures. His most recent publications, Renouer avec ses racines (2005) and Naissances insolites en terre africaine (2011), were published by Karthala Press in Paris. He is a contributor to such collections as Chemins de la Christologie africaine (Desclée,1986, 2001), Pâques africaines d'aujourd'hui (Desclée, 1989), Der neue Mebritus im Zaire: Ein Beispiel kontextueller Liturgie (Herder, Freiburg,1993), and Théologie africaine et vie (Montréal, 2011). Today he is retired and lives in Greece.
- Fr. Emmanuel Katongole is Associate Professor of Theology and Peace Studies in the Kroc Institute for Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from the Catholic University of Louvain, undergraduate degrees in philosophy and in theology (Urbaniana, Rome) and a diploma in theology and religious studies from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. He has served as associate professor of theology and world Christianity at Duke University, where he was the founding co-director of the Duke Divinity School’s Center for Reconciliation. He is the author of books on the Christian social imagination, the crisis of faith following the genocide in Rwanda, and Christian approaches to justice, peace, and reconciliation. His most recent books are The Sacrifice of Africa: A Political Theology for Africa (Eerdmans, 2010). and Born of Lament: On the Theology and Politics of Hope in Africa (Eerdmans). Other publications include Stories from Bethany: On the Faces of the Church in Africa (Paulines, 2012), Mirror to the Church: Resurrecting Faith after Genocide in Rwanda, (Zondervan, 2009), Reconciling All Things: A Christian Vision for Justice, Peace and Healing (co-authored with Chris Rice, Resources for Reconciliation, 2008), A Future for Africa: Critical Essays in Christian Social Imagination (University of Scranton Press, 2005), African Theology Today(University of Scranton Press, 2002), and Beyond Universal Reason: The Relation Between Religion and Ethics in the Work of Stanley Hauerwas (Notre Dame Press, 2000).
- Fr. Leonard Santedi Kinkupu is a priest of the Archdiocese of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He is currently the Secretary-General of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of the Democratic Republic of Congo, professor of theology at the Catholic University of Congo (Facultes Catholiques de Kinshasa), and a member of the International Theological Commission. His writings include “Doing Theology and Philosophy in the African Context” and “African Christianities.”
- Aïcha Marianne Kola is a French-speaking Cameroonian, married for 16 years and the mother of five children. She holds a Diploma from the Papal Institute John-Paul II in Benin for studies on the marriage and the family. Since 2006, she and her husband have dedicated themselves full-time to service in the Church. From 2006 to 2010, she taught the spirituality of marriage and family at the School of Theology for Laymen in Douala. For the last ten years, she and her husband have coordinated the Apostolate of the Family in the Archdiocese of Douala. In 2015 she was appointed by Pope Francis as an auditrix at the Synod on the Family.
- Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah is the current Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto in northwestern Nigeria. He was ordained on December 19, 1976. He was the Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria and Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Kaduna until he was ordained as Bishop on September 8, 2011. Kukah has served in many presidential initiatives such as the Human Rights Violation Investigation Commission, the Electoral Reform Committee and the National Political Reform Conference. He was the presidential facilitator in negotiating an end to the hostilities between Shell Petroleum Development Company and the Ogoni people. He also served on a committee regarding Boko Haram set up by the Northern Governors. Kukah holds a Bachelor of Divinity from St. Augustine’s Seminary, a Master’s Degree in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford, and a Doctorate Degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies. He was a senior Rhodes scholar at St. Antony’s College, Oxford and a Mason Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, where he earned a Master’s Degree in Public Policy. Bishop Kukah wrote Religion, Politics and Power in Northern Nigeria, Democracy and Civil Society in Nigeria, and recently, Witness to Justice. Kukah is also founder of the Kukah Centre, a public policy think tank in Abuja, Nigeria.
- Fr. Ludovic Lado, S.J. is an anthropologist and activist from the Ivory Coast. After earning degrees in philosophy and theology at the College of St. Peter Cansius in Kinshasa and Hekima College in Nairobi, respectively, he earned a Master’s Degree in Theology at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Boston in 2002, and his Master’s and Doctorate in Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford in 2007. Since 2005 he has been a member of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Catholic University of Central Africa. His research concerns social justice in Cameroon with regard to the Catholic Church and Cameroonian politics, particularly the presidency of Paul Biya. In general he aims to provide a constructive critique for the sake of building a new society and greater justice. His doctoral thesis was published in English with the title, Catholic pentecostalism and the paradoxes of africanization (2009); and his works in French include Le pluralisme médical en Afrique [Medical Pluralism in Africa] (2010), Le chrétien face à l’avortement [The Christian Face to Abortion] (2009), De la déchéance à la dissidence [From Decline to Dissidence] (2008).
- Fr. Emery Longanga is a Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Tshumbe in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a PhD in Theology (2016). He is a lecturer at The Lay Pastoral Ministry Institute (LPMI) in the Diocese of St. Petersburg (Florida, USA) and a Research Fellow in the Theology Department at St. Leo University (Florida, USA). His research interests are in the areas of World Church, Fundamental Theology and Method in Theology.
- Fr. Laurenti Magesa is a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Musoma, Tanzania. He has a Ph.D. in moral theology from St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada, and is currently professor of theology at Hekima College and the Catholic University of East Africa, Nairobi, Kenya. He was a visiting lecturer at the Maryknoll School of Theology, Maryknoll, New York, in 1994 and at Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1995. He is the author of several books, including “African Religion: The Moral Traditions of Abundant Life” (Orbis, 1997), “Inculturation” (Orbis), “What is not Sacred?” (Orbis), and many articles on African theology, moral theology, and social ethics.
- Laurent Cardinal Monsengwo has been the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kinshasa since 2007. He did his initial ecclesiastical studies at the Seminary of Bokoro and studied philosophy at the Major Seminary of Kabwe. He was sent to studies at the Pontifical Urbaniana University and Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. He also studied under the future cardinal Fr. Carlo Maria Martini, S.J. at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Jerusalem, where he was the first African to obtain a doctorate in Biblical Studies. During the political transition from the dictatorship of Mobutu Sese-Seko to democracy, Archbishop Monsengwo served as president of the Sovereign National Conference in 1991, president of the High Council of the Republic in 1992 and speaker of a Transitional Parliament in 1994. He also served as Co-President of Pax Christi International from 2007-2010. He was named a Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010. As Bishop and Cardinal, Monsengwo has vocally defended human rights both in Congo and the rest of Africa.
- Ebrahim Moosa (Ph.D. University of Cape Town 1995) is Professor of Islamic Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and in Notre Dame’s Department of History. He is also a senior faculty member in the Keough School of Global Affairs, helping to lead the School's new initiative in Global Religion and Human Development. Moosa co-directs Contending Modernities, the global research and education initiative examining the interaction among Catholic, Muslim, and other religious and secular forces in the world. Moosa came to Notre Dame in the fall of 2014 from Duke University, where he taught in the Department of Religious Studies for 13 years. He previously taught in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Cape Town (1989-1998) and in the Department of Religious Studies at Stanford University (1998-2001). Moosa’s interests span both classical and modern Islamic thought with a special focus on Islamic law, history, ethics and theology. He is the author of Ghazali and the Poetics of Imagination, winner of the American Academy of Religion’s Best First Book in the History of Religions (2006) and editor of the last manuscript of the late Professor Fazlur Rahman, Revival and Reform in Islam: A Study of Islamic Fundamentalism. His book What Is a Madrasa? was published in March 2015 by the University of North Carolina Press. His publications also include the co-edited book The African Renaissance and the Afro-Arab Spring (Georgetown University Press, 2015); Islam in the Modern World (Routledge, 2014) and, Muslim Family Law in Sub-Saharan Africa: Colonial Legacies and Post-Colonial Challenges (Amsterdam University Press, Spring, 2010).
- Sr. Josée Ngalula was born in Kinshasa in 1960 and is of Congolese nationality. Sr. Ngalula is a member of the order of Saint-Andre. After studying Philosophy at the Grand Seminary of Lubumbashi, she studied theology at the Catholic University of Lyons. She defended her doctoral thesis in 2000, which concerned translation enterprises in Christian missions. In 1994 she became a professor of Dogmatic Theology at the Institute of St. Eugene of Mazenod, and in 2002 she became a professor of Theology at the Catholic University of the Congo. Beginning in 2012 she was made visiting professor at the Centre Sevres in Paris, and likewise she has been a lecturer at the Ecumenical Institute of Theology in Morrocco since 2013. She is a founding member of the Association of African Theologians and she is also a member of Tsena Malaka. Her specialties are Christian lexicology and the study of translation into African languages, particularly in the missions.
- Fr. Emeka Ngwoke is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka, Nigeria. He was educated at Bigard Memorial Seminary (now St. Joseph Major Seminary), Ikot Ekpene, Nigeria (1982-86), Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu, Nigeria (1987-91), the Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA), Port Harcourt, Nigeria (2002-2005), and at the University of Notre Dame, IN, USA (2006-2012). Ordained to the priesthood on 17 August 1991, he holds First Class Honors bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Theology, the master’s degree and licentiate in Dogmatic Theology and the PhD in Systematic Theology. He teaches in the Department of Religion and Cultural Studies at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is the author of Politics and Religion: A Christian Perspective (2001), The Eucharist and Social Responsibility towards the Poor (2006) and The Gospel and Church in Service of Society (2016); edited Bernard Fonlon: Random Leaves from My Diary (2013) Religion & State, Priests & Politics in Nigeria (2016) in addition to several book chapters and articles in learned journals. His research interests include the interface between the Gospel and culture, inter-religious understanding and the nexus between religion, violence and peacebuilding.
- Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu is the Apostolic Nuncio in Nicaragua. A priest of the Catholic Diocese of Aba in Nigeria, he holds an L.S.S. from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, where he also completed the lectio for the doctorate. He also holds doctorates in Systematic Theology and Canon Law. He has served in the Apostolic Nunciatures of Ghana, Togo and Benin (1994-1996), Paraguay (1996-1999), Algeria and Tunisia (1999-2002), and at the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations and International Organizations at Geneva (2002-2006). In 2006, he was called to the Vatican to take charge of the Human Rights Desk in the Second Section of the Secretariat of State. In 2007, he was named Chief of Protocol of the Secretariat of State and, five years later, was appointed titular Archbishop of Aquaviva and Apostolic Nuncio in Nicaragua. His publications include “The Birth of Systematic Theology in Contemporary Black Africa” and “The Courage to Change: Take Off Your Shoes.”
- Fr. Charles Nyamiti was born in 1931 in Tanzania and is among the proud founding scholars of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) whence he became full professor of systematic/dogmatic theology and merited the attribute of outstanding resource person in the Anglophone bloc of African thinkers. He remains professor emeritus at CUEA. He reads, writes and speaks Kinyamwezi, Kiswahili, English, Hebrew and Greek, Latin, French, German and Gikuyu. He holds doctorates in systematic /dogmatic theology, social anthropology and a laureate in Music composition. Nyamiti was ordained a Catholic priest in 1962. From 1976 to 1981, he was professor at Kipalapala Senior Seminary in Tanzania and a co-worker in some neighboring parishes. In 1983, Nyamiti moved to Nairobi to found what is today CUEA.
- Obiageli Nzenwa is a Medical Laboratory Technologist and Human Resource Management Consultant. She was educated in Nigeria and in the UK. She holds a B.SC., a post-graduate diploma, and an MA in Human Resource Management from the University of Westminster. She worked as the Head of Administration and Human Resources from 2001 - 2008 for Rockson Engineering Company Ltd, a leading Nigerian company with specialization in the construction, commissioning, and maintenance of power generation facilities. She presently works as a Human Resource Consultant and lives in Abuja with her husband and their five children.
- Sr. Jerome Obiorah, I.H.M., the first African woman to receive a doctorate from the Pontifical Biblical Institute, is a member of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She is professor of Sacred Scripture at the University of Nigeria Nsukka and at the major seminary of the Archdiocese of Onitsha, Nigeria.
- Fr. Paulinus I. Odozor, C.S.Sp. is a priest of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit. He received his initial formation in Nigeria and did his graduate studies at St Michaels College, Toronto, Regis College, Toronto, and the University of Toronto. Odozor's scholarly interests are in foundational issues in Christian ethics; the history of Catholic moral theology; contextual theological issues, including questions pertaining to inculturation; theology and society; African Christian theology; and the theology of marriage. Fr. Odozor is also an Africanist with interest in African history, African literature, African politics and questions relating to change and contemporary African societies. In addition to being the author of over 30 articles in peer-reviewed publications in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America, Fr. Odozor has also published the following books : Moral Theology in an Age of Renewal: A study of the Catholic Tradition since Vatican II (Notre Dame Press, 2003); Sexuality, Marriage and Family: Readings in the Catholic Tradition (Notre Dame Press, 2001), editor; Africa: Towards Priorities of Mission (Enugu: SIST Publications, 2000), edited with Elochukwu Uzukwu; and Richard McCormick and the Renewal of Moral Theology (Notre Dame Press, 1995). His latest book, Morality Truly Christian, Truly African: Foundational, Methodological and Theological Considerations, was released in November 2014 by the University of Notre Dame Press. Before and since coming to Notre Dame in 1999, Fr. Odozor has held numerous academic, administrative, and pastoral positions in Nigeria and Canada. He is currently president of the Governing Council of Spiritan International School of Theology in Enugu, Nigeria and was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as expert assistant to the 2009 Synod of Bishops for Africa.
- Fr. James C. Okoye, C.S.Sp. is Director of the Center for Spiritan Studies at Duquesne University. A priest of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), he is a noted leader within his congregation and the Church. He was the Provincial Superior of the Nigeria Province from 1981-86 and the General Assistant of the Congregation from 1986-92. He was also a member of the International Theological Commission from 1986-91 and Peritus in the Synod of Bishops for the preparation of the Synod of Bishops for Africa from 1992-94. He holds an L.S.S. from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome and an M.A., M.Phil., and D.Phil. from Oxford.
- Bishop Godfrey Onah is the Catholic Bishop of Nsukka in Nigeria and formerly a professor of Philosophical Anthropology and Vice Rector of Urban University in Rome. His published works include “Self-transcendence and Human History in Wolfhart Pannenberg.” He is also a consultor of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.
- John Cardinal Onaiyekan is the Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop of Abuja and the Administrator of Ahiara diocese, all in Nigeria. Cardinal Onaiyekan received his seminary education at SS Peter and Paul Seminary in Ibadan, Nigeria, and his graduate studies at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome and at the Urban University in Rome. Cardinal Onaiyekan is an internationally renowned speaker, addressing academic, religious, pastoral, and inter-faith audiences and parliaments in Europe and in many parts of the world.
- Fr. Mike Perry, O.F.M. is an American Franciscan friar and the Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor. Following his university studies, he entered the novitiate of the Province of the Sacred Heart of the Franciscan Order on 25 June 1977, and professed temporary religious vows on 11 August of the following year, the feast of Saint Clare of Assisi. He earned a Master of Arts in Theology and a Masters of Divinity from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, IL. He professed solemn vows on 10 October 1981, and was ordained on 2 June 1984. After ordination Perry was assigned to serve his province in the formation of its candidates, during which time he worked with the Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, an international ministry of the Franciscan friars. For ten years he worked as a missionary in the Democratic Republic of Congo. During that period, he gained a Doctorate in Religious Anthropology. He worked in Africa until his election as Minister Provincial of his province in 2008. Perry was elected Minister General of the order on 22 May 2013, to complete the six-year term of his predecessor, José Rodríguez Carballo, O.F.M., after Rodríguez was named a bishop.
- Dianne Pinderhughes is a Notre Dame Presidential Faculty Fellow, and Professor in the Department of Africana Studies and the Department of Political Science; she holds a concurrent faculty appointment in American Studies, is a Faculty Fellow at the Kellogg Institute, and is a Research Faculty member in Gender Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Her research addresses inequality with a focus on racial, ethnic and gender politics and public policy in the Americas, explores the creation of American civil society institutions in the twentieth century, and analyzes their influence on the formation of voting rights policy. Pinderhughes’s publications include Uneven Roads: An Introduction to US Racial and Ethnic Politics (co-author; 2014); Race and Ethnicity in Chicago Politics: A Reexamination of Pluralist Theory (1987); Black Politics After the Civil Rights Revolution: Collected Essays (forthcoming); Race, Gender, and the Changing Face of Political Leadership in 21st Century America (co-author; forthcoming). She is a member of the National Advisory Committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholars in Health Policy Research Program; she was a member of and then Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. She was President of the American Political Science Association 2007-08, and the APSA Task Force she appointed completed its report in 2009: Political Science in the 21st Century. Pinderhughes is 1st Vice President of the International Political Science Association and Co-Chair of its 2016 Istanbul World Congress. Pinderhughes has also been a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (2003-04).
- Fr. Paulin Poucouta is a Catholic priest in the Congolese diocese of Pointe-Noire in Brazzaville. He has a doctorate in Biblical Theology from the Catholic Institute of Paris and a doctorate in the history of religions from the University of Paris, Sorbonne. He is permanent professor of Bible in the faculty of Theology at the Catholic Institute of Yaoundé at the Catholic University of Central Africa in Cameroon. He is also president of the Group of Indisciplinary Research in African Theology (GRITA) and of the Scientific Council of the Catholic University of Central Africa. He is a member of the Pan-African Association of Catholic Exegetes (APECA), of the French Catholic Association of the Study of the Bible (ACFED), and an administrator and researcher at the Center of African Studies and Intercultural Research.
- Amy Servais is the co-founder of Mater Domini, and deputy chairperson of the board of directors. Mater Domini is a home for women in crisis pregnancy situated in Cape Town, South Africa, which assists women from all over Africa to overcome the trauma they encounter due to abandonment, abuse, violence, illness, destitution etc. associated with crisis pregnancy. The home operates within the Archdiocese of Cape Town, with Archbishop Stephen Brislin as Patron. Together with her husband, she is also involved in the production of Catholic media. Metanoia Media is a design and production apostolate focused on creative communication in the Catholic world through video, audio, and web design. Part of their mission is to produce documentaries which tell the story of the Church in Africa, with an emphasis on the vibrant spirituality unique to Africa. She also has a keen interest in the spiritual formation of children, and has served as a catechist in her parish for many years. Family and life issues are very close to her heart, and she strives to put the "culture of life," as cultivated by Pope St. John Paul II, at the center of her endeavors. Amy and her husband have three children, and they live in Somerset West, South Africa.
- Archbishop Buti Thlagale, O.M.I. is the first Catholic Archbishop of Johannesburg, South Africa. He studied in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, University of Lesotho, and at the Gregorian University in Rome. Besides teaching at various institutions in South Africa, he also worked in the Justice and Peace Department of the South African Council of Churches. He was also for many years the Secretary General of the South African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC). He has written extensively on theology, liberation, and labor issues.
- Bishop Tharcisse Tshibangu was born in what is today the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1933. He received a licentiate in Theology from the University of Lovanium in Kinshasa in 1959, and was ordained in the same year. He studied for his doctorate in Theology at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. His Master’s thesis treated the positive theology of Melchior Cano, entitled, “Positive Theology and Speculative Theology: the traditional position and the new problematic,” which completed his studies in 1965. Pope St. John XXIII named him a Theological expert at the Second Vatican Council, and Paul VI named him a Prelate in 1966 and appointed him Auxililary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Kinshasa in 1970. In 1992, Pope St. John Paul II named him Bishop of the diocese of Mbuji-Mayi, which see he held until 2009.
- Peter Cardinal Turkson is the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Coast, Ghana. He studied in Ghana, the United States, and Rome at the Pontifical Biblical Institute. He has served as president of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (1997-2004), was a member of the Governing Council of the University of Ghana, Legon (2001-2006), and was a member of the Board of Directors of Central Region Development Commission (CEDECOM) (2002-2006). He was also the General Relator of the 2nd Special Assembly for Africa of the 2009 Synod of Bishops.
- Fr. Bonaventure Ugwu, C.S.Sp. is a senior lecturer at Spiritan International School of Theology (SIST), Attakwu, Enugu, Nigeria. He holds degrees in sociology, religion and a doctorate in dogmatic theology from the Gregorian University, Rome with specialization in Pneumatology. He has written many articles and books and is currently the chief editor of the African Journal of Contextual Theology.
- Fr. Bede Ukwuije, C.S.Sp. serves in Rome as Assistant Superior General of the Spiritans. He holds a doctorate in theology from the Institut Catholique de Paris and a Ph.D. from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. He has been a professor of systematic theology at the Spiritan International School of Theology, Attakwu-Enugu, Nigeria, and the Institut Catholique de Paris.
Fr. Elochukwu Uzukwu, C.S.Sp. is professor of theology and the holder of the Pierre Schouver C.S.Sp. Endowed Chair in Mission at Duquesne University. He was educated in Nigeria and Canada and holds a Th.D. in theology from Saint Michael’s College of the University of Toronto. Among his many publications are “God, Spirit, and Human Wholeness: Appropriating Faith and Culture in West African Style,” “Worship as Body Language,” “Introduction to Christian Worship: an African Orientation,” “A Listening Church: Autonomy and Communion in African Churches,” “Liturgy, Truly Christian Truly African,” and more than sixty articles and chapters in various peer-reviewed publications.