VOLUNTEER AND CONSULTANTS
AFJN BOARD OF DIRECTORS
BOARD EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Nelson Adjei-Bediako, SMA, Executive Director
Rev. Fr. Nelson Adjei-Bediako, a member of the Society of African Missions (SMA), was appointed Executive Director to the Africa Faith and Justice Network in January 2021. From January 2018 – December 2020, Fr. Nelson was the Local Superior of the SMA in Takoma Park, MD and the Coordinator for the Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation for the SMA Fathers Province. When Fr. Nelson was the Pastor of St. Theresa Parish, Adamavo in Lomé, Togo (2014-2016), he established a micro-finance project for the parish community.
From January 2009 to October 2013, he was elected Superior (provincial) of the Gulf of Guinea District. As Superior, Fr. Nelson established a working relationship with the Symposium of the Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar along with the bishops in the Economic Community of West Africa Region. He also coordinated the activities of the SMA Fathers in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo; served as liaison between the SMA Fathers and the Dioceses in the afore-mentioned countries. He also supervised the construction of the SMA Formation Centre of Agodeke in Lomé, Togo. Fr. Nelson was a Councilor for African District in Formation of the SMA Fathers, a unit responsible for all of Africa, from October 2007 to November 2008.
He was ordained Roman Catholic priest on July 18, 1998 and sent to the Northern part of Nigeria where he served God’s family in St. James Parish, Gombe; St. Giles Parish, Gambar in Bauchi State; St. Peter Parish, Sabon Tasha, Kaduna and Holy Family Parish, Life Camp – Gwarimpa, Abuja. He has extensive pastorial experience – counseling, preaching, motiving, leadership, adminstrative and experience in community development.
Fr. Nelson also holds a Masters of Arts in International Relations an Conflict Resolution from American Public University System, Charles Town, WV (May 2018) and a Bachelors of Theology from the major seminary Saint Cœur de Marie in Anyama, in Ivory Coast (June 1998).
Ntama Bahati, Policy Analyst
Ntama Bahati joined Africa Faith and Justice Network in 2007. Originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he witnessed the invasion of the DRC by Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda from 1996-2000 and worked in the field of post-war relief. He co-founded the Association des vieullards abondonnes in french Association for Abandoned Elderly (AVA) which addresses the increased number of elderly people begging on the streets of Bukavu during the conflict in DRC. He holds an undergraduate degree in Philosophy (2000) from La Ruzizi in Bukavu/DRC, a Masters of Divinity (2006) and Masters of Arts in Ethics (2007) from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.
Since joining AFJN, he has written and spoken in different circles across the US on the socio-political issues of the DRC, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi. He is the author of Tribe not an Idea, but a True Identity, a piece published in Recherches Africaines. L’Afrique et son vecu vol. 21-22, and co-author of the paper Promoting International Support for Community-Based Justice Mechanisms in Post-Conflict Burundi and Uganda (2009). Policy papers of his include Two Rebel groups, One solution (2008) and Evaluating peace and stability in DRC (2009). He has been a guest of Africa Now, a radio program of WPFW in Washington DC and Voice of America TV. His work at AFJN is informed by his passion for social justice as well his personal commitment to making this world a better place for all people. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Barthelemy Bazemo, M.Afr., Policy Analyst
Fr. Barthelemy Bazemo is a member of the Society of the Missionaries of Africa. Born in Ivory Coast and raised in Burkina Faso, West Africa, he has training in peace support operations, conflict studies, international politics, human rights and diplomacy. Fr. Bazemo serves as policy analyst and assists the Executive Director in AFJN-SECAM (Symposium of the Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar) relations. He spent many years in Eastern Africa, mostly in Kenya and Tanzania studying and engaging in active urban apostolate, centered on nurturing Christian values, youth animation, developmental activities, and dialogue with other faiths. He was an active member of Christian Professionals of Tanzania (CPT), a forum for advocacy, human rights and social ethics in the public square; and Wabunge Think-Tank for specific issues related to constitutional debate, the rule of law, good governance, and peacebuilding. Fr. Bazemo studied at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), Tangaza College, Hekima College Nairobi Kenya, and Centre Supérieur de Philosophie, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. In 2010 he studied at the National Peace Academy (NPA) at Wilmington College. He holds a PhD in African Studies with a specialization in Africa in World Affairs, Governance and Foreign Policy. His Masters degree is in Peace Studies and International Relations. He also holds a STB in Sacred Theology, a graduate diploma in Communications and Certificate in PPI (Peacebuilding Peacelearning Intensive); He speaks and writes French, English and Swahili. Email: email@example.com
Eucharia Madueke, SNDdeN, Coordinator, African Women Project
Eucharia Madueke is a Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (SNDdeN), Nigerian Province and the Coordinator of Women Empowerment Project at the Africa Faith & Justice Network (AFJN). Prior to joining AFJN, she was an associate and grassroots mobilizer at NETWORK, a Washington DC based National Catholic Social Justice Advocacy organization focusing on social action on behalf of the less privileged. Her other work experience includes teaching at Howard University, Washington DC, teaching at Lumen Christi Boys Secondary School Uromi Edo State, Notre Dame Girls Secondary School Oro, Kwara State, Notre Dame Novitiate, Ilorin, and Notre Dame Postulate Agenebode, Edo State in Nigeria. She also served as Provincial of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Nigerian Province.
Sister Eucharia Madueke received her First Degree in Education and Religion from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, Masters Degree in Social Work from The Catholic University of America, and a PhD in Development and Public Policy from Howard University, Washington DC. Her skills are in the area of formation and administration, community organizing and development, policy analysis and advocacy, grassroots mobilization and leadership development. Her other interests include: faith and public policy; education and governance, and women in governance. She has written articles for the Global Sisters Report, focusing on cultural dynamics in African society as well as about Catholic Sisters services in Africa. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lydia Andrews, Communication and Operations Manager
Lydia Andrews has been working for Catholic Non-Profits in the DC area for several years. She has been brought on to assist in streamline operational processes, moving AFJN capabilities into the cloud and improving communications. She has a Masters in Politics from The Catholic University of America (CUA) and a Bachelors in International Affairs and Spanish from Marquette University. Before working with AFJN, Lydia was an Operations and Program Consultant for Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities. She was Deputy Director of Jubilee USA Network, and Assistant to the Director at the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at CUA. AFJN does incredible work, now it’s time for the rest of the world to know just how much. email@example.com
Rev. John Bosco Lugonja
John Bosco Lugonja is a Catholic Priest incardinated in the Diocese of Kasana-Luweero, Uganda. He is a graduate student at the University of Notre Dame pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Global Affairs with a concentration in International Peace Studies. He worked in the Treasury and in the Peace and Justice Departments of his home diocese. He has also served as pastor and associate pastor and has ministered to a wide range of people including Rwandan and South Sudanese refugees, displaced peoples and people in poverty. He holds a MA in theology from Makerere University, Uganda and BA degrees in philosophy and theology from Pontifical Urban University in Rome. Rev. John Bosco is passionate about promoting sustainable peace and justice in society. He is also interested in topics of modern slavery, inter-relgious dialogue, ecumenism, environmental degradation and ecological violence. While at AFJN, John Bosco will major work on Labor laws and human trafficking in Uganda.
Mike Murphy, Consultant
Mike grew up in Brooklyn New York. His parents were Irish immigrants. He went to Marquette University for graduate studies, and there he met Rita. They married and went to Brazil to work with Catholic Relief Services (CRS). Their two daughters were born in Brazil (two sons came later). Mike was later director of CRS programs in Central America.
Mike organized a “Model Cities” anti-poverty program in Binghamton, New York. He later worked with the International City Management Association, where he was director of ICMA’s programs of technical assistance to local governments around the world. He has an MA in sociology from NYU, and did doctoral studies at Louvain University in Belgium.
Rita Murphy, Consultant
Rita grew up in a small town near Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania. Her mother and grandparents were immigrants from Slovakia. She graduated from Misericordia College in Pennsylvania and then spent a year as a schoolteacher in Alabama. She did graduate studies at Marquette University where she met Mike. They married and moved to Brazil for three years of work with Catholic Relief Services.
Br. David Patrick Mahoney, CFX, Editorial Consultant
Br. David Patrick Mahoney, CFX, entered the Xaverian Brothers in 1966, just out of high school, and earned a B.A. in Social Relations from Harvard College in 1971 and an M.A.T. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1972. As a bass in the Harvard Glee Club for three years, he enjoyed singing all over the country.
David taught French, English, Social Studies, and video production for 12 years at his alma mater, St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers, Massachusetts, and in 1984 he completed an M.A. in French at the Middlebury College Summer Language School. He studied French at the University of Dijon with a group from Georgetown University.
From 1985 to 1990 he taught high school English and religion in Likasi, D. R. Congo (ex-Zaïre), and from 1991 to 1998 he taught English at the Institut Supérieur Pédagogique de Lubumbashi, a teacher training college. From late 1991 until 1995, after the evacuation of the Consul and consular employees from Lubumbashi, he worked for the U.S. State Department as Approving Officer, overseeing local employees retained at the Consulate and USAID.
After a sabbatical in the U.S. that included time to learn computer skills while working as an assistant school librarian, David returned to Africa in 2000 to serve as a religious formator for ten years in the Western Province of Kenya. From 2010 until 2015 he was a religious formator in Nairobi; an instructor in English at Christ the Teacher Institute for Education (part of Tangaza University College); and Executive Secretary of the Religious Superiors’ Conference of Kenya (RSCK), the association of superiors of the 76 men’s institutes that minister in Kenya.
Since returning permanently to the U.S. in late 2015, he has continued to edit Yes, Kenya Matters, a two-page reflection paper produced by the Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Commission of the Religious Superiors’ Conference of Kenya (RSCK-JPIC). YKM relates the Sunday Mass readings to the social teachings of the Church and to the social, economic, political, environmental, and moral problems of Kenya. Priests and religious men and women submit their contributions, usually for a month or so at a time, to fit a template agreed upon by JPIC. After editing, YKM is emailed weekly to nearly 1000 subscribers. It is intended to help homilists be more relevant; to propose material for personal reflection; and to stimulate discussion in Small Christian Communities.
Br. David has also worked as an editor with Pauline Publications Africa, and has helped the Ursulines of Tildonk (Belgium) prepare for their 2018 Bicentennial by translating an 1892 biography of their founder from French to English. He is currently on the staff at the Xaverian Brothers’ retirement community in Danvers, Massachusetts.
Board of Directors as of June 2020
Florence Deacon, OSF, Notre Dame, IN – Board Chair
Florence Deacon, OSF, a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi, is Congregation Justice Coordinator for the Sisters of the Holy Cross who have sisters in Uganda, Ghana, Bangladesh, India, Peru, Brazil, Mexico and the United States. She minored in African History for both her MA and her PhD degrees in History and taught African, Middle Eastern, US and Women’s History at Cardinal Stritch University. She has visited Africa five times beginning with the International Women’s Conference in Nairobi in 1985, with later trips to Tanzania, South Africa twice for UN conferences, and most recently to Cameroon. She was appointed Director of the New York Office of Franciscans International in 2000 and did full time advocacy at the UN focusing on concern for the poor, care of creation and peacemaking, all issues of concern to the African continent. She was the leader of her religious congregation from 2007-2015, and during that time was elected to the presidency of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which gave her wider experience with the universal church.
Bill Christy, CSSp, Pittsburgh, PA – Board Vice Chair
Fr. Bill Christy came to Duquesne University when he entered the seminary and completed his undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Philosophy. He went on to do his Master of Divinity studies at Chicago Theological Union and was ordained in 1992.
As a Spiritan missionary he served 15 years in Tanzania, East Africa; 2 years as a graduate intern and 13 as a priest. His ministry was primarily in First Evangelization with the Maasai people in North Central Tanzania. He was recalled to the US in 2004 and served at Duquesne in Campus Ministry for 3 years before being sent to Australia to work in Aboriginal ministry. He ministered for 6 years in the Aboriginal reservations of Western Australia. In response to the needs of the Aboriginal ministry, Fr. Bill completed a Master of Counseling Psychology at the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle, Australia focusing on Child and Adolescent Counseling.
Now having returned again to Duquesne he is again part of the Campus Ministry team and resides at Laval House. Laval House is the formation community for men discerning a vocation to the Spiritans as they complete their undergraduate studies.
Ms. Faustine Wabwire, Washington, DC – Secretary
Ms. Faustine Wabwire is Bread for the World Institute’s Senior Foreign Assistance Policy Advisor, based in Washington, DC. Bread for the World Institute provides policy analysis on hunger and strategies to end it. The Institute educates U.S. policy makers, opinion leaders and the public about hunger and poverty in the United States and abroad.
Ms. Wabwire has testified before the Congressional House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Human Rights and International Organizations. At the Institute, Ms. Wabwire provides policy leadership on issues including climate change, bridging the humanitarian-development divide, the need for strong institutions and local capacity to address hunger and poverty, and the role of effective U.S., partner countries, and multilateral assistance in providing solutions.
Ms. Wabwire served on the Reading Committee for President Obama’s Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, a program that mentors dynamic young African leaders on leadership. In 2017, she was selected to the Advisory Committee of the Queen’s Young Leaders Program. Ms. Wabwire contributes to USAID’s Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid, is a member of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Civil Society Board, among other taskforces. Ms. Wabwire represents the organization at high-level forums including the annual World Food Prize Laureate Lecture series and as Faculty at the Global Youth Institute in Des Moines, Iowa. She is a regular commentator on Voice of America, where she has shared her expertise on issues affecting sub-Saharan Africa. A native of Kenya, she brings first-hand experience to her global policy portfolio.
Prior to joining Bread for the World Institute, Ms. Wabwire held several positions in academia, research, and international development—at the national, regional, and global levels. She holds Master’s degrees in Development Management (from Ruhr University, Germany), Development Studies (from the University of the Western Cape, South Africa), and Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management (from SIT Graduate Institute, Vermont, USA). She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Moi University, Kenya. Ms. Wabwire has work experience in Africa, Europe and the United States. She speaks Kiswahili, English and some French.
Mr. Anthony Potts, Cincinnati (Newtown), OH – Treasurer
Anthony Potts is the Finance Director for the Comboni Missionaries – North American Province, having served in this role since 2007. Tony also serves as the President of the Conference of Religious Treasurers – Tennessee-Ohio-Kentucky Region (CORT-TOK), the Chairperson for Region VI Coalition for Responsible Investing (CRI), and the Treasurer for Hope for Kabingo, Inc. He holds an MBA and a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Northern Kentucky University. Tony and his wife Stacey have three sons and three grandchildren, and are active parishioners at St. John Fisher Parish in Cincinnati (Newtown), OH.
Charles Brown, SCJ, Franklin, WI
Charles T. Brown, S.C.J. is a member of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. Brown holds a Ph.D. in New Testament and Early Christianity and is presently on the faculty of Sacred Scripture at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, Hales Corners, Wisconsin. Brown began his priestly ministry in the Ituri Forest of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, and he taught for ten years at St. Joseph’s Theological Institute, KwaZulu-Natal in the Republic of South Africa. He is currently the Secretary of Missions for the U.S.A. province of his congregation.
Maura Browne, SNDdeN, Washington, DC
Maura Brown is a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur.
Julien Cormier, MAfr, Washington, DC
Julien Cormier is a Catholic priest and member of the Society of Missionaries of Africa (MAfr) since 1961. He is originally from Canada. He studied Theology in France and was ordained priest in 1966. From 1966-1985 he served in Burundi where he learned Kirundi. Then from 1985-2003 he worked in Niger where he also learned basic “Hausa” language. From 2003-2008 he was appointed to Rome where he was the Editor of the MAfr “in house” monthly news magazine. From 2009-2015 he was sent to Montréal, Canada to serve as the Provincial Superior of Missionaries of Africa in the Americas (Canada, USA, Mexico, Brazil). In this role, he learned basic Portuguese and Spanish. Since 2015, he has been based in his community in Washington DC. We congratulate him on his Golden Jubilee of priestly Ordination celebrated during this year of the Lord 2016.
Margaret Doyle, SHCJ, Rosemont, PA
Margaret Doyle, SHCJ lives in Rosemont, PA. She is a member of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, an international congregation with an African Province composed of over 160 sisters serving in Chad, Ghana and Nigeria. The Society was a founding member of AFJN and Sister Margaret has been her congregation’s representative on the AFJN Board since 2019. In 1999 her congregation helped to found the African Sisters Educational Collaborative that offers on-line courses to African sisters in ten sub-Saharan Africa.
Before coming on the Board Sr. Margaret taught in and administered parish schools in MA, ILand NY and was principal of Connelly School of the Holy Child, Potomac, MD. She served on the leadership team of the American Province of the Society and in that capacity attended meetings in Nigeria and Ghana. Currently she is Vice President for Mission and Ministry at Rosemont College and serves on the Board of Directors of Casa Cornelia Law Center, San Diego and Providence Center, Philadelphia.
Both her undergraduate and graduate degrees were earned at Loyola University, Chicago, IL. She took graduate courses at the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley and was a participant in the Ignatian Immersion Program, Manresa in 2018.
Nkechi Iwuoha, PHJC, Whiting, IN
Sr. Nkechi Lilian Iwuoha is a Nigerian member of the American Province of the Congregation of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ (PHJC). She is on the Provincial Leadership of her congregation. She has a legal and social education background. Prior to joining the PHJC Sisters, Nkechi worked among the Sidama people of Ethiopia, Eastern Africa. She authored two books: “Worn Out Shoes of St. Katharina, A symbol of Transformation” and “The interconnectedness between African Proverbs and Christianity”.
Sister Nkechi obtained her doctorate degree from Walden University, Minnesota, U.S.A. She studied Criminal Justice with concentration in Law and Public Policy. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting, Indiana, where she teaches Ethics in Criminal Justice and Introduction to Corrections.
George Kintiba, SVD, Washington, DC
Rev. Fr. George Kintiba is a member of the Divine Word Missionaries (SVD).
Roberta Miller, OP, Columbus, OH
Sr. Roberta Miller is a Dominican Sister of Peace. She has a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from The Ohio State University and MA in Social Studies from Hunter College of the City of New York. In addition, she has many credits in cultural studies from other US universities such as the University of Hawaii in Honolulu and from summer Fulbright Grants for teachers in Mexico and Argentina. She was a professor at Ohio Dominican University from 1983 to 2009 where she taught in the areas of Social Anthropology, Humanities and Aging. She presently serves as Grant Administrator for a grant intended to strengthen an indigenous Nigerian Dominican Sister congregation through education and entrepreneurship. She is also a current Grant Administrator for a grant with a local Mexican population, largely undocumented.
Jean-Marie Mvumbi, CICM, Arlington, VA
Jean-Marie Arnold Mvumbi Phongo is a member of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Missionhurst-CICM), an international missionary congregation serving in many countries around the world including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Zambia and the Central African Republic and many others. A native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jean-Marie Mvumbi was sent by his order to the United Stated in 1997 after his Bachelor’s in Philosophy from Saint Augustine University (Université Saint Augustin) in Kinshasa. He earned his Master of Divinity from Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas in 2003. After his ordination in 2003, Father Jean-Marie Mvumbi served as Associate Priest at Sacred Heart Parish in San Antonio, Texas and Pastor of Divine Providence Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas before being asked to become the Provincial Treasurer of American IHM Province, Inc., the US Province of Missionhurst-CICM with its headquarters in Arlington, VA since January 1, 2016.
Al Gbi Toe, Sr., Newark, NJ
AL Gbi Toe, Sr. is the Adviser of the Liberian Apostolate, Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees and Travelers, Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church, United States Conference of Bishops (USCCB); Advisory Commission Member of the African-American, African and Caribbean Apostolate, Archdiocese of Newark; and Pastoral Associate of the Roman Catholic Parish of the Transfiguration in Newark, NJ.
Since 2003, Mr. Toe has been employed by the County of Essex (NJ) Government: Department of Economic Development, Training and Employment; Essex County Economic Development Corporation; and Office of Cultural Diversity and Affirmative Action. He served as Staff Director of the Essex County Disparity Study, a research study conducted by the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis and Rutgers University-New Brunswick.
Previously, he worked for the Harlem Urban Development Corporation (HUDC), a subsidiary of the New York State Urban Development Corporation (1982-1995). He was also the Editor-In-Chief of the Harlem Third World Trade Institute’s Trade Winds Magazine, which promoted commercial relations between and among American minority-owned businesses and the public and private sectors in Africa, the Caribbean and South Pacific Islands. He briefly provided consultancy services to the Harlem International Trade Center Corporation.
Al Gbi Toe, Sr. actively participates in religious, social, cultural, political, and economic empowerment activities. Mr. Toe was the Recipient of the 2017 Nelson Mandela Leadership Award given by the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO), a constituency group of the National League of Cities representing 1,900 municipalities in the USA. He is a member, officer and trustee/director of a number of community, regional, national and international organizations.
He holds a Master’s degree in Liberal Studies and later studied Anthropology at the New School for Social Research in New York City; Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology (Economics minor) at the University of Liberia; Certificate in International Trade, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs; and EximBank Financing Programs Certificate, United States Export/Import Bank, among other education and training accomplishments.