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African priest-educator delivers ‘justice’ lectures Nov. 10

Posted on November 7th, 2009

The future of justice, limitations and possibilities, in the continent of Africa will be the focus of two lectures on campus Nov. 10.

Dr. Emmanuel Katongole
Dr. Emmanuel Katongole

Emmanuel Katongole will speak 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10, in EMU’s Campus Center room 105 (Strite Hall) on “Sacrificing Justice: Violence, Radical Forgiveness and the Future of Nation-State Politics in Africa.”

Dr. Katongole is associate professor of theology and world Christianity and co-director of the Center for Reconciliation at Duke University Divinity School, Durham, N.C. He teaches courses on The Face of Jesus in Africa, the Rwanda genocide, politics, violence and theology and on AIDS and other social challenges.

Katongole was born and grew up in the village of Malube in Uganda where he experienced the brutal regime of Idi Amin, witnessed the genocide in neighboring Rwanda and experienced first hand the dynamic and rich traditions of the African church. He attended the Catholic seminary in Uganda, where he was ordained a Catholic priest of Kampala Archdiocese. After his ordination, he taught philosophy and ethics at the Uganda National Seminary, training future priests. In 1991, he was sent to the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, where he earned a doctorate in philosophy.

Katongole has published widely in various journals. His latest book is A Future for Africa (Scranton 2005). In his teaching and writing, he is concerned not only with the difference Christianity can make in Africa but also with ways of bridging the distance between the West (America) and Africa.

Using the recent interest and upsurge in transitional justice mechanisms as a lens, Katongole will highlight limits in the discussions of political justice in Africa. These limitations point to an underlying issue in the imagination that shapes and drives nation-state politics in Africa. Such politics are built on a denial, indeed sacrifice, of African lives, particularly the lives of the weak. Katongole believes that these foundational visions of the political “need to be re-invented if a new future is to take shape in Africa.”

In the second lecture, he will use the story of Angelina Atyam, a human rights activist from Northern Uganda and her radical call for the forgiveness of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) as an example of what a new future beyond justice might look like. Atyam attended EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute in 2008 and spoke during one of the institute’s “Frontiers in Peacebuilding” luncheons.

The presentations, co-sponsored by EMU’s Bible and religion department and the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP), are open to everyone free of charge. For more information, call 432-4463.

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