College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Centers & Institutes > Center for World Catholicism & Intercultural Theology > World Catholicism Week > 2019 Speakers

2019 Speakers


Mauro Garofalo

Head of International Relations
Community of Sant'Egidio

Mauro Garofalo assumed the position of International Relations Officer for the Community of Sant’Egidio in 2006. And since 2008, he has also served as Conflict Resolutions Unit officer as well as provided significant guidance as a member of the fundraising team. He has helped to organize several conferences of note while a member of the Community of Sant’Egidio and serves as its representative to many countries and international organizations. Additionally, he is involved in the secretariat for interreligious and ecumenical dialogues and manages the office that negotiates all of the memoranda of understanding (MOUs) for the Community of Sant’Egidio with governments, international organizations, and institutions.

Since 2008, Dr. Garofalo has assisted in a number of international rescue operations in Afghanistan and Senegal. He has also participated in and contributed to various peace actions in Africa (North and Sub-Saharan), the Middle East, and Far East Asia. He has participated in several emergency response efforts and cooperation development projects.

Dr. Garofalo has been quite active with the Community of Sant’Egidio since 1992, involved with various grassroots service initiatives. Besides this work, he also is an art historian and trained archaeologist, having followed several archaeological research sites and published articles on various related subjects.

Conference Topic—"Peace is an Open Workshop"

In this talk, I will discuss the theological and theoretical aspects, as well as the practice, of the nonviolent approaches to conflict resolution developed by the Community of Sant'Egidio at the end of the 1980s and how we have continued to practice and expand these intiatives all over the world.

Robert Emmet Meagher

Author, Killing from the Inside Out: Moral Injury & Just War
Professor of humanities, Hampshire College
(Amherst, MA, USA)

Robert Emmet Meagher holds degrees from the University of Notre Dame (summa cum laude) and the University of Chicago; he joined the Hampshire College faculty in 1972. Prior to that, he taught religious studies and theology at Indiana University and the University of Notre Dame. He has also held visiting chairs and professorships at numerous colleges and universities, including Trinity College Dublin and Yale University.

His publications include over a dozen books, as well as numerous translations and original plays. His most recent books are Herakles Gone Mad: Rethinking Heroism in an Age of Endless War; Killing from the Inside Out: Moral Injury and Just War; and War and Moral Injury: A Reader, co-edited with LTC Douglas Pryer, U.S. Army, retired.

He has offered workshops on the translation and contemporary production of ancient drama at colleges and universities here and abroad, and has himself directed productions at such venues as the Samuel Beckett Centre, Dublin and the Nandan Centre for the Performing Arts in Kolkota, India. In recent years, he has directed and participated in a range of events and programs concerned with healing the spiritual wounds of war in veterans, their families, and their communities.

Conference Topic—"Just War: A Convenient Untruth"

Wars begin with lies and never truly end. Lasting peace begins when we tell the truth and let it make us free.



**UPDATE 4/29/19—Sadly, we recently received word from Rev. Fadi Daou, Chair & CEO of the Adyan Foundation​ in Beirut that, due to extenuating circumstances, he cannot join us as he had planned. He sends his sincere regrets and best wishes for a successful conference. Taking his place in this roundtable is our own William T. Cavanaugh, CWCIT director and professor of Catholic studies here at DePaul.

María Teresa

Lecturer, Religious & Theological Studies
Merrimack College
(North Andover, MA, U.S.A.)

Before coming to Merrimack College, María Teresa (MT) Dávila served as associate professor of Christian ethics at Andover Newton Theological School (Andover, MA). She is an activist/scholar with a focus on race, racial justice, and theological ethics; Latino/a and mujerista ethics and public theology; Latino/a ethics and the ethics of the use of force; immigration; and the use of the social sciences in Christian ethics. Along with Agnes Brazal, she is the coeditor of Living With(out) Borders: Theological Ethics and Peoples on the Move (Orbis, 2016).

Her main scholarly and activist concern is the question of Christian discipleship in the U.S. context from the perspective of the preferential option for the poor. On this front, MT integrates her scholarly production with homeless ministries, community organizing, and local advocacy efforts around issues of family homelessness, refugee welcome and care, and racial justice. MT is a Roman Catholic laywoman.

Conference Topic—"Confessions of a Just Warrior: My Challenges Embracing a God of Absolute Nonviolence"

During the spring of 2018, I participated in a collaborative effort to draft a document proposing a theology of nonviolence through the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative (CNI). As an ethicist who has published and worked on just war theory, my journey through this process posed serious personal and theological challenges. With what certainty can we propose that the God of the Bible is a God of nonviolence? How are we to describe the violence in which the Church has systemically been participant? How do we speak about liberation of oppressed peoples without including violence as an option for just self-defense? My presentation will focus on my personal and professional experience as a participant in this process as we reflected on, and often negotiated, a new articulation of the will of God in history.

Rev. Erico Hammes

Professor of Systematic Theology
Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul
(Porto Alegre, Brazil)

Ordained a priest in 1979 in the Diocese of Santa Cruz do Sul, Brazil, Erico João Hammes is also professor of systematic theology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Porto Alegre, Brazil. He holds a PhD from the Pontifical Gregorian University (Rome), where he wrote his dissertation on the Christology of Jon Sobrino. He also completed a post-doctorate in the Christology of peace at the University of Tübingen (Germany).

He was first introduced to the field of peace and nonviolence in the 1970s when, as a student, he took part in the Christian students’ movement which grappled with questions about Brazil’s military dictatorship. It became his academic focus, and since 2005, he has been working on the topic of peace Christology and peace theology and belongs to an interdisciplinary research group on peace and nonviolence at the university in Porto Alegre. From various perspectives such as those of social science, law and justice, human rights, education, philosophy and theology, the group supports activities that promote an end to the culture of violence in the Church, religious practices, and society.

Prof. Hammes' latest publications include the following:

Conference Topic—"The Spirit Christology of Nonviolence"

In this presentation, I strive to connect Spirit Christology and nonviolence by taking into account the relationship in Scripture between Jesus and the Holy Spirit since the incarnation and his relationship to the Father as the Son in his eternal existence. The Spirit is the Spirit of peace and reconciliation, the Spirit of adoption and sonship. “Through him we cry ‘Abba’, Father” (Rom 8:15-16; Gal 4:6), and through him, all people are sisters and brothers.

William T. Cavanaugh

Director and Senior Research Professor, CWCIT

Professor, Catholic Studies
DePaul University (Chicago)

William T. Cavanaugh is the director of Center for World Catholicism & Intercultural Theology (CWCIT) and a professor of Catholic studies at DePaul. He received a BA in theology from Notre Dame in 1984 and an MA from Cambridge University in 1987. After working as a lay associate with the Holy Cross order in a poor area of Santiago, Chile, he worked at the Center for Civil and Human Rights at the Notre Dame Law School. He then studied at Duke University, where he completed a PhD in religion in 1996. He taught at the University of St. Thomas from 1995 and joined the faculty at DePaul University in 2010.

He specializes in the areas of political theology, economic ethics, and ecclesiology. He is the author of seven books and editor of four more. His publications include Field Hospital: The Church’s Engagement with a Wounded World (Eerdmans, 2016); The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict (Oxford University Press, 2009); and Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire (Eerdmans, 2008).

Conference Topic—Toward a Foundational Theology of Nonviolence

Nonviolence is not simply an attitude or technique; it cannot be advanced by pragmatic or consequentialist arguments alone. If nonviolence is viable, it can only be because it is true, and it is only true if it corresponds to the way things really are, that is, the way God really is, and the way that God has chosen to create and sustain and redeem the world. In this talk, I will briefly examine some of the central theological loci of the Christian tradition—creation, election, salvation, Christ, eschatology, Church, and sacraments—for what they can tell us about nonviolence.


Maria Clara Bingemer

Professor of Theology
Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janiero

A noted Brazilian theologian, Maria Clara Bingemer holds her PhD from the Pontifical Gregorian University (Rome) and is a full professor at Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio). She focuses her research on systematic theology and in particular, on contemporary mysticism, and Latin American and liberation theology. Dr. Bingemer is widely published in many languages.

Her English works include A Face for God: Reflections on Trinitarian Theology for Our Times (Convivium, 2014), Witnessing: Prophecy, Politics, and Wisdom (edited with Peter Casarella, Orbis, 2014), and Mary, Mother of God, Mother of the Poor (with Ivone Gebara, Wipf and Stock, 2004). More recently, she published Simone Weil: A Mystic with Passion and Compassion and The Mystery and the World: Passion for God in Times of Unbelief, both from Wipf and Stock, and Latin American Theology: Roots and Branches, from Orbis.

The former dean of the Center of Theology and Human Sciences at PUC-Rio, Bingemer held the first Duffy Lectures Chair at Boston College in spring 2015. She serves on the editorial boards of many theological journals, including Concilium.

Conference Topic—"Christian Nonviolence for Secular Causes: The 'Case' of Two 20th-Century Religious Communities"

In this talk, I will discuss the topic I addressed in my last book, about the Jesuits of El Salvador and the Trappists of Tibhirine, Algeria. Out of love for the poor and for those who counted on them, these communities chose to continue daily life in their respective regions, even knowing the risks of violence they faced. In the case of the Jesuits, the option for the poor is clearly at the center of their decision; for the Trappists, it is interreligious dialogue that motivates them to stay. Nonviolence and justice, nonviolence and diversity—these are the topics I will present.

Dean and Professor
St. Vincent School of Theology (SVST), Adamson University
(Quezon City, Philippines)

In addition to serving as dean, Daniel Franklin Pilario, CM, is also a professor at Adamson University's St. Vincent School of Theology in Quezon City, Philippines. He holds both his STL and PhD from KU Leuven (Catholic University of Leuven), and his doctoral dissertation became Back to the Rough Grounds of Praxis (2005, Leuven University Press and Peeters), now used as a reference book for philosophy students. Much of his research covers fundamental theology, inculturation, theological anthropology and sociology, methods of theological research, and political-social theory.

A founding member and former president of DaKaTeo (Catholic Theological Society of the Philippines), Pilario is also a vice president of Concilium as well as editor of other philosophical and theological journals. His articles appear in journals such as Questions Liturgiques, Bijdragen, Asian Christian Review, and Chakana, and he will soon be publishing a new book, Faith in Action: Catholic Social Teaching on the Ground, as part of the SVST Interdisciplinary Series. Additionally, as member of the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians), he regularly ministers in a parish in Payatas garbage dump/landfill site on the outskirts of Manila.

Conference Topic—"Rethinking Martyrdom in the Age of Violent Populist Regimes: A Report from the Philippines"

Martyrs are considered martyrs because they were killed out of hatred of the faith (odium fidei). In recent times, however, Jon Sobrino argues for martyrdom out of hatred of justice (odium justitiae) or hatred of love (odium amoris). In the context of violent populist regimes, as presently experienced in the Philippines, where having a drug-free country is the banner political project, more than 28,000 have been viciously killed because they were listed on the government list of drug users. The victims were fathers killed while in the act of feeding their children...poor garbage workers resting after a hard day’s labor...young men who were merely out running errands at night—all fulfilling their everyday Christian duties of love, compassion, and service. Can they be also considered "martyrs" in our present times?

Associate Professor of Systematic Theology
Boston College School of Theology & Ministry

A native of El Salvador, O. Ernesto (Neto) Valiente earned his doctorate in systematic theology at the University of Notre Dame before coming to the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, where he is currently associate professor of systematic theology. His main areas of scholarly interest include political and liberation theology, and theologies of social reconciliation.

He is the author of Liberation Through Reconciliation: The Christological Spirituality of Jon Sobrino (Fordham University Press, 2016) and has also recently co-edited The Grace of Medellín: History, Theology, and Legacy / Reflections on the Significance of Medellín for the Church in the United States (Convivium, 2018), which celebrates the event’s 50th anniversary. His work has appeared in journals such as Theological Studies, Irish Theological Quarterly, and Christus. He is also the former chair and the current vice chair of CRISPAZ (Christians for Peace in El Salvador).

Conference Topic—"Christian Martyrdom: Jesus’ Self-Giving, Nonviolent Response to a Violent World"

In this talk, I propose that just as Jesus’ cross is the consequence of pursuing God’s mission in a sinful world, Christian martyrdom, which is defined by Jesus’ example, is ascribed to those who exhibit the grace to witness to Jesus and God’s reign to the end. Like Jesus, they do so in a radical self-giving manner that embodies a nonviolent resistance to the forces of evil.


**UPDATE 5/1/19—Our third presenter for this roundtable was Martha Inés Romero (Pax Christi International—Medellín, Colombia); however, she recently informed us that, due to unanticipated and extenuating circumstances, she cannot join us at the conference. She had hoped to be able to send us the text of her lecture but, unfortunately, is unable to do so and sends her sincere apologies. ​

Executive Director, Center for Peace Education, Miriam College
President, Pax Christi Pilipinas
(Quezon City, Philippines)

Jasmin Nario-Galace, PhD, is executive director of the Center for Peace Education (CPE) and professor in the Department of International Studies at Miriam College (Quezon City, Philippines). Additionally, she currently leads the Peace Education Network, while also serving as president of Pax Christi Pilipinas, chair of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines’ Justice and Peace Education Committee, and vice president of the Philippine Council for Peace and Global Education.

Internationally, she serves actively in numerous organizations: as a board member of the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders; as co-coordinator of the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) Women’s Network and a member of IANSA’s International Advisory Council; as representative of the CPE in the Women Peacemakers Program-Asia, the Asia-Pacific Women’s Alliance on Peace and Security (APWAPS), and the Control Arms Coalition. She also co-represents the CPE in the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), recipient of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. In addition, she is a member of the Group of Experts of the Forum Arms Trade, the board for the Centre for Armed Violence Reduction, and the Facilitation Team of Pax Christi-Asia Pacific.

Her previous positions include coordinator of the CSO Group of the Preparatory Committee, which led the formulation of the UNSCR 1325 National Action Plan (NAP) in the Philippines, and co-convener as well as national coordinator of the Women Engaged in Action on 1325 (WE Act 1325). This national network of women from peace, human rights, and women’s organizations helps to implement the NAP on Women, Peace, and Security.

She is also the author or co-author of various publications on peace education, conflict resolution, arms control and women, and peace and security. She holds an MA in peace studies from the University of Notre Dame (South Bend, Indiana) and a PhD in educational psychology at the University of the Philippines.

Conference Topic—"Mainstreaming Gender in Peace and Disarmament Policies: The Role of Nonviolent Persuasion"

In this presentation, I will share personal stories about how gender was mainstreamed in policies and other documents that relate to peace and disarmament. My narrative will focus on the methods of nonviolent persuasion used to win gender language in local and national action plans on Women, Peace, and Security; the Bangsamoro Basic Law; and the National Action Plan on Preventing Violent Extremism in the Philippines, as well as the Outcome Document of the Third Review Conference on the UN Program of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons and the Arms Trade Treaty. I will describe how Church teachings have helped shape my advocacy plans and approaches. And I will discuss the gains from such lobby work, identify challenges faced, and lessons learned; I will also give recommendations on how to better the work of nonviolent persuasion in the struggle for peace and gender justice.

Lecturer, Peace & Conflict Studies, St. Paul's University
Board Member, Pax Christi International
(Limuru, Kenya)

Teresia Wamũyũ Wachira is a Kenyan and a member of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM), commonly known as the Loreto Sisters. She is currently a senior lecturer in peace and conflict studies at St. Paul’s University in Limuru, Kenya, as well as a board member of Pax Christi International and member of the IBVM NGO Advisory Committee to the UN in New York. Her areas of interest focus on the following: youth; women and peacebuilding; gender and development; community peacebuilding; sustainable development goals; indigenous peacebuilding approaches; gender and African approaches to nonviolence; creating cultures of peace, especially in educational institutions; and alternative rites of passage to counter female genital mutilation which is widely practiced in Kenya and other parts of Africa and the world.

Teresia holds an MA in applied theology, peace, and justice studies from Middlesex University, UK, and a PhD in peace and conflict studies from the University of Bradford, UK, for which she explored the experiences of violence in schools in Kenya. She has also served as a teacher and principal in Loreto schools in Kenya, specializing in the education of young women and training them for peacemaking and reconciliation work.

Teresia’s dream is for a world that women and men, young and old, call “home”…a world that is free of fear, violence, and inequality…a world where people shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks…where nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more (Isaiah 2:4).

Conference Topic—"Exploring Nonviolent Indigenous Approaches to Building Peace: The Case of Women in the North Rift and Coast Regions of Kenya"

In this paper, I explore the application and potential of nonviolent indigenous approaches employed by women in responding to violence in the Kenyan context. Since the role of women in peacebuilding is crucial, it can be counterproductive if women are excluded from this process. Therefore, the sociopolitical peacebuilding efforts need to be constructed around an approach that respects women, their voices, and their approaches to building peace. Women can play a major role in developing core values for active nonviolence which assist not only in the prevention and reduction of violence but also in the eventual transformation of it. The key thesis for this paper is that the way women are engaged and afforded responsibility in the peacebuilding process will no doubt contribute to the creation of families and communities that model a nonviolent, just, and peaceful world where all experience love, justice, peace, equality, equity, and compassion.


Senior Research Professor, CWCIT; Professor of Catholic Studies and Political Science
DePaul University

Michael Budde teaches Catholic studies and political science at DePaul University, while also serving as a senior research professor in the Center for World Catholicism & Intercultural Theology. Previously, he served as chair of the Political Science Department and director of the Center for Church-State Studies. His areas of research focus on interactions between ecclesiology, political economy, and culture.

His publications include The Borders of Baptism: Identities, Allegiances, and the Church (Cascade, 2011); the edited volume, Beyond the Borders of Baptism: Catholicity, Allegiances, and Lived Identities (Cascade, 2016); and the co-edited Witness of the Body: The Past, Present, and Future of Christian Martyrdom (Eerdmans , 2011). He has also written The Two Churches: Catholicism and Capitalism in the World System (Duke University Press, 1992); The (Magic) Kingdom of God: Christianity and Global Culture Industries (Westview, 1997); and Christianity Incorporated (Brazos, 2002). Additionally, Budde has edited several other books and published in scholarly journals such as Studies in Christian Ethics, Sociology of Religion, and World Policy Journal.

Conference Topic—"Killing with Kindness: Can a Plague Cure a Plague?"

Expecting Christians to maintain a principled pacifist stance in the face of massive human rights violations is inhumane, un-Christian, and unrealistic—such in brief is the case in Christian ethics in support of military force where Responsibility to Protect (R2P) principles are invoked. To many Christian ethicists, a more adequate position exists, one that incorporates traditional principles of just war theory into the contemporary situations in which atrocities can be prevented or stopped by the use of military force. 

Sometimes called "Just Policing" or "Just Peacemaking," these frameworks may be seen as theological complements to the secular doctrines of R2P and humanitarian intervention. They assert that one may use lethal means in pursuit of a self-evident good—protecting innocent persons at risk of extermination, ethnic cleansing, sexual depredation, and more—without doing violence to the more general presumption against violence in the Christian tradition. The exercise of lethal force under carefully circumscribed conditions is a more realistic and principled expression of love than is a Christian nonviolence that does not admit of such exceptions.

This paper takes seriously the theological arguments put forward in support of R2P norms and actions.  It finds these arguments lacking in key areas, especially in some areas thought to be strengths of Christian-sanctioned R2P—including  matters of  "realism," the ability of just war principles to discipline military force in pursuit of the circumscribed aims of R2P warfare, and the credibility of the Christian gospel in the years ahead  as occasions for R2P-related warfare proliferate. For persons unwilling or unable to embrace a thoroughgoing Christian pacifism, this paper ends with a modest proposal about how one might reconcile the use of military force in R2P situations with the demands of Christian just war theory.

Full Professor, Notre Dame University Graduate School
Senior Policy Advisor, Institute for Autonomy & Governance
Founding Chair, Kusog Mindanao
(Cotabato City, Philippines)

Fr. Mercado is a well-known peace advocate in Mindanao, the second largest island of the Philippines and home to the country’s largest concentration of indigenous minorities, who are also predominantly Muslim. He served as the assembly floor leader of the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development (SPCPD)’s Consultative Assembly during the period of political transition that followed the 1996 peace agreement between the Filipino government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

From 1998-2000, Fr. Mercado also served as chair of the independent cease-fire Monitoring Committee of the Filipino Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). He is also the senior policy advisor at the Institute for Autonomy and Governance, a public policy think tank based in Cotabato City. He has been extensively involved in the peace process in Mindanao and is a key convenor as well as the founding chair of Kusog Mindanao, a region-wide forum that brings together political, business, religious, and social leaders to work towards a consensus in policy and action on issues relevant to the region’s peace and development. 

Also active in academia, Fr. Mercado currently serves as full professor at Notre Dame University Graduate School in Cotabato City and San Beda University Graduate School of Law. Previous academic positions include two years as president of the Notre Dame Educational Association (NDEA) and 10 years as president of Notre Dame University in Cotabato City (1992-2002). He holds a doctorate in divinity and humanity and an MA in both theology and philosophy, having also completed work in Islamic Studies and Arabic Studies at the Gregorian University in Rome and the Oriental Institute in Cairo. 

Conference Topic—"The Peace Process and Active Nonviolence: The Southern Philippines' Experience"

The armed insurgency in the Philippines has been exacting heavy tolls, not only in terms of the destruction of human lives but also in terms of the economy. In the 1990s, when President Fidel Ramos came into power, a nationwide consultation was instituted on the root causes of insurgency and rebellion. The major result of this consultation was the revelation that the causes of rebellion are poverty, injustice (real or perceived), and exclusion (which includes the identity of the minority). With this discovery, NEW PATH (6 paths to peace—all nonviolent) became the nationwide policy in resolving conflict and rebellion.

Director, Hekima Institute of Peace Studies & International Relations (HIPSIR)
Hekima University College

Elias Omondi Opongo, SJ, is director of the Hekima Institute of Peace Studies and International Relations (HIPSIR) at Hekima University College in Nairobi. A peace practitioner and conflict analyst, he holds a PhD in peace and conflict studies from the University of Bradford, UK, and an MA in international peace studies from the University of Notre Dame (South Bend, Indiana). He focuses his research on the areas of transitional justice and post-conflict reconstruction; state fragility and the militarization of conflicts; religious extremism and violence; and state building and community peacebuilding.

Opongo has published books, book chapters, and articles on conflict resolution, transitional justice, peacebuilding and Catholic social teaching. His most recent books are Leadership in Peacebuilding in Africa (2014) Transitional Justice in Post-Conflict Societies in Africa (2016); and Pope Francis on Good Governance and Accountability in Africa (2018).

Conference Topic—"Humanitarian Military Intervention, Responsibility to Protect, and Nonviolence Discourse: Implications for State Fragility in South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo"

Protracted conflicts in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have raised questions about the extent to which military interventions are effective in ending the conflict. Despite the UN's and Africa Union (AU)'s peacekeeping military interventions, the conflicts in each of these two countries have continued. The nonviolent approaches of  peacebuilding activities—e.g., dialogue, advocacy, mediation, and protests/demonstrations—have been met with brutal force. Hence, in order to address the conflicts in DRC and South Sudan, there is a critical need for a discourse on alternative nonviolence strategies, implications of relative deprivation and polarization, and creative peacebuilding approaches.   


Executive Secretary for Theology & Doctrine, Catholic Conference of Bishops of India (CCBI)
Dean of Theology, Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth Pontifical Institute of Philosphy & Religion
(Pune, India)

Francis Gonsalves is an Indian Jesuit priest, professor of theology, journalist, and social activist. He holds a licentiate from the Gregorian University, Rome, and a PhD from the University of Madras. He was formerly dean at the Vidyajyoti College of Theology (Delhi) and is currently Dean of Theology at the Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth (JDV) in Pune. He has also lectured in the U.S., El Salvador, Italy, and South Korea. In addition, he serves as executive secretary of Theology and Doctrine for the Catholic Conference of Bishops of India (CCBI).

Prof. Gonsalves has authored seven books, including most recently, Body Broken for Body Building: Christic Living in a Broken Global Village (St. Paul’s, 2013) and Feet Rooted, Hearts Radiant, Minds Raised: Living Sacraments in India (Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 2015). And he has a book forthcoming titled Saint Romero and Pope Francis: Revolutionaries of Love. He is the editor of seven other books and has also published over 200 scholarly articles. Additionally, since 2010, he has been writing the syndicated column, “Mystic Mantra,” in Indian newspapers.

Besides his interests in spirituality, religion, theology, and journalism, Prof. Gonsalves is deeply concerned about social justice issues that affect the poor, the Adivasis (indigenous peoples), slum dwellers, and the prison inmates of Asia’s largest prison, the Tihar Jail in Delhi. His academic areas of interest are interdisciplinary approaches to theology; interfaith dialogue and interfaith initiatives; socioreligious and subaltern movements; networking with committed groups on social justice issues; and, developing poetry, music, art, dance, and drama as sources of theology. 

Conference Topic—"Toward an Interfaith Theology of Peace"

In this presentation, I will highlight two or three initiatives of the Church in India to foster peace in a multireligious context. In India, it is said that "to be religious is to be interreligious." I will show how efforts are being made to promote peace not by instructing children to desist from the use of violence in resolving disputes, but by teaching them that diversity is beautiful and that we must build on this God-given diversity to create societies of peace, love, justice, and cooperation.

Visiting Lecturer, RECONCILE Peace Institute of South Sudan
Founding Director, Horn of Africa Grassroots Peace Forum
(Northern Kenya)

Elizabeth Kanini Kimau lives and works as a grassroots peace builder in northern Kenya, near the Ethiopian border, among pastoralist communities (social groups based on livestock raising), and she is the founding director of the Horn of Africa Grassroots Peace Forum (HAP-Forum), a national NGO in Kenya. Additionally, she is a visiting lecturer at the RECONCILE Peace Institute (RPI) in South Sudan. RPI offers comprehensive three-month training sessions to church and community leaders engaging in trauma recovery, peace work, and/or development in South Sudan.

Kimau holds an MA in Peace and International Relations from the Hekima Institute of Peace and International Relations (Nairobi) and has also done work in peace studies through the Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation in Zambia. Her previous professional roles include serving as an alumnae liaison officer for Mercy Beyond Borders in South Sudan and as a technical consultant in peace and trauma healing for the Tombura-Yambio Catholic Diocese in South Sudan’s Western Equatorial State.

Learn more about Kimau’s grassroots work in this 2017 Pax Christi “Peace Stories” article she wrote as well as in this 2017 National Catholic Reporter article, “Pax Christi invites church to embrace tradition of active nonviolence.

Conference Topic—"The Untapped Power of the Catholic Church to Connect People at the Grassroots"

Many parts of the world are affected by unending wars as evidenced by the violent situations in Africa. Despite how hard international and national organizations are working to transform these conflicts, many continue to escalate. The Catholic Church has a lot of potential to heal and connect people who are deeply divided and wounded by these wars, but this has not yet been tapped in efforts to build sustainable peace.

Board Member, Church & Peace
Co-Founder, Regional Address for Nonviolent Action (RAND)

A native of Croatia, Ana Marija Raffai is a peace activist, Catholic theologian, and professor of French and German. In 1991, she graduated with a degree in theology with her work on the feminist theologian, Katharine Halkes. And in 1992, during the Balkan Wars, she and her husband, Otto, created an organization called the Regional Address for Nonviolent Action (RAND) in Croatia. Since 1996, she has worked as a coordinator, program leader, and educator for nonviolent action, actively committed to promoting nonviolence in education and civic action, focusing primarily on the interreligious peace work that links nonviolent action and interreligious coexistence. She serves on the boards of the Ecumenical Women's Initiative and the European ecumenical network, Church and Peace.

In 2005, together with a thousand women around the world, Raffai was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Together with her husband, Otto, she received the 2003 International Fellowship of Reconciliation as well as the 2012 Kruno Sukić Prize for the Promotion of Peacemaking, Nonviolence, and Human Rights. Then, from 2013 to 2017, she and Otto coauthored a monthly column on nonviolence in the Croatian magazine, Svjetlo riječi (Light of the Word), and since 2018, they have regularly collaborated on the column, “Revolution of Tenderness,“ on the web portal. Along with translations of French and German peace articles, their writing serves to popularize nonviolent action.

Currently, her most important projects involve nonviolent training sessions, MES Interreligious Educational Encounters organized by RAND, and the initiatives of RAND's Believers for Peace network which she coordinates and which holds regional interreligious conferences under the title, “By Building Peace, We Celebrate God.” She has published several theoretical and popular peace articles in Croatian, German, and French as well as several training manuals such as the "Volunteers in Peace Building“ (2004); "Tool on the Path to Nonviolence“ (2007); and "Interreligious Dialogue as a Way to Social Reconciliation“ (2010).

Conference Topic—"Believers for Peace: Christians, Muslims, and Nonviolent Peacebuilding in Europe"

In this talk, I will begin with a discussion of the initiative, "Believers for Peace," which has been active since 2006 in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Macedonia. This initiative is an example of a good practice through which believers, who are relevant for the sociopolitical context of the western Balkans, can contribute to nonviolent peacebuilding. In the second part, I will discuss the nonviolent education offered by the organization RAND, which is part of Believers for Peace. I will try to show how, based on our experience, education about nonviolence and nonviolent action needs to address these key points: encounter, nonviolent competence, and awareness of structural violence.