Oblate Voices is a JPIC blog that follows stories of hope and is about how Oblates and associates live and experience mission work in the spirit of the Oblate founder, St Eugene De Mazenod of responding to the needs of poor and most abandoned around the world.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Africa Faith & Justice Network (AFJN) Marks 35 Years

By: Bayor Chantal Ngoltoingar, JPIC Staff 

On September 14 & 15 Africa Faith & Justice Network (AFJN) marked 35 years of advocacy working with US lawmakers to promote just policies in US-Africa relations. The theme for the celebration was “Africa in Global Perspective.” The anniversary events included a policy briefing on Friday, September 14 on Capitol Hill and a program on the Promotion of Religious Freedom on Saturday, September 15, held at Catholic University of America.
I attended the event on Saturday and it opened with welcome remarks from AFJN’s executive director Fr. Aniedi Okure. Fr. Aniedi then introduced the event’s moderator, Professor Robert A. Destro, Director, Institute for Policy Research (IPR), at Catholic University. Prof. Destro is the founder and director of the interdisciplinary program in Law & Religion of the Catholic University of America. He was nominated this year by President Donald Trump to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.  His appointment is awaiting confirmation.

In the first part of the program Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, MAfr, a member of the Missionaries of Africa congregation and expert on Muslim-Christian relations delivered the keynote address and spoke about the work of the Society of the Missionaries of Africa over the last 150 years. The Archbishop outlined the challenges, results and impact of their mission across Africa and the World. 

In the second half of the program Sr. Eucharia Madueke, SNDdeN, Coordinator, Women’s Empowerment at AFJN presented on their activities in Africa, followed by Mr. Bahati Jacques, Policy Analyst who spoke on AFJN’s  past and current advocacy efforts  in the United States. 

Lunch was provided and the meeting concluded with the popping of two bottles of champagne, celebrating Society of the Missionaries of Africa and Africa Faith & Justice Network.