Press Release: The Africa Faith and Justice Network Welcomes New Executive Director, Rev. Nelson Adjei-Bediako, SMA

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 15, 2021
For phone and virtual interviews contact
Lydia Andrews, Communications Manager
lydia@afjn.org | 847-772-2305

Washington, DC – The Africa Faith and Justice Network (AFJN) has appointed Rev. Nelson Adjei-Bediako, SMA as the new Executive Director. Rev. Nelson is a priest and member of the Society of African Missions (SMA) who has worked extensively among Catholic religious in Africa and in the United States on issues of justice. AFJN has been making large strides on the continent especially in areas of Women’s Empowerment, increasing transparency and accountability, financial reforms, improving food and land security, and engaging with U.S. leaders for just U.S.-African policies.

“It is my honor to announce that the AFJN Board has chosen Rev. Nelson Adjei-Bediako as the next Executive Director,” said Sr. Florence Deacon, OSF, Chair of AFJN’s Board of Directors. “Having known Fr. Nelson through his work on AFJN’s Board, I am confident that AFJN is in good hands and am looking forward to seeing where he will lead AFJN in the coming months and years.”

Much of the work of AFJN has been in educating and empowering African people to advocate for justice.  It was crucial for the board to choose someone who had demonstrated expertise working on the continent amid different cultures. 

“While AFJN had many extremely qualified candidates, it was Fr. Nelson’s commitment to the mission of AFJN through his service on the AFJN Executive Board, his demonstrated leadership in his community both in the U.S. and in Africa, in addition to his educational background that helped us arrive at our final decision” said Rev. Barthelemy Bazemo, M.Afr, Chair of AFJN’s Search Committee. 

AFJN also partners with local Catholic religious, religious institutions, and organizations in Africa and the U.S.. Fr. Nelson’s engagement with the Symposium of the Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) along with the bishops in the Economic Community of West Africa Region (ECOWAS) also made him stand out as a candidate. 

“Being Executive Director of AFJN requires, among other things, the ability to engage with different types of leadership particularly with the Catholic Church in Africa. Fr. Nelson’s prior engagement with SECAM and the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa, RECOWA, and his lived experience in different African Countries will allow AFJN to continue moving forward projects and initiatives that are crucial to African progress,” said Rev. Aniedi Okure, OP, immediate past AFJN Executive Director and currently the Dominican General Promoter of Justice and Peace and Permanent Delegate to the United Nations. “AFJN doesn’t believe in a top-down approach. AFJN’s method of engaging communities has always been to ask those on the ground what challenges they face, and how they plan to create the change.  This allows them to name and take ownership of the issues, then AFJN works with them to facilitate the process.  Such strategy has proved effective and continues to yield tangible results.”  

Read Fr. Nelson’s biography

Watch the recent video interview with Fr. Nelson:  “January 6 Riot in Washington DC: Impact on US Reputation and on Democracy Promotion in Africa

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The Africa Faith & Justice Network is a faith-based, non-partisan coalition of 29 US-based religious communities of men and women. Inspired by the Gospel and informed by Catholic Social Teaching, AFJN seeks to educate and advocate for just relations with Africa and to work in partnership with African peoples as they engage in the struggle for justice, peace, and the integrity of creation.
www.afjn.org

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 Available for Phone and Virtual Interviews: 
Rev. Nelson Adjei-Bediako, SMA
Executive Director, Africa Faith and Justice Network
Contact: Lydia Andrews, Communications Manager
lydia@afjn.org | (m) 847-772-2305

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