SAN DIEGO, CA – March 31, 2016
Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria, delivered a lecture at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego on Thursday, March 31, 2016 where he was invited to participate in the University’s ongoing series on interreligious peacebuilding efforts.
The Cardinal was welcomed to southern California and hosted in San Diego by three Spiritans, Frs. Bill Headley, C.S.Sp., Mike Onwuemelie, C.S.sSp., and Mike White, C.S.Sp. They joined Cardinal Onaiyekan for a special lunch that was hosted by the School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego during which he gave a lecture that was titled “Boko Haram and a Resilient Nigerian Faith Response.”
Cardinal Onaiyekan is well-known for his tireless work for peace in Nigeria. He has received decorations at home and abroad including the Pax Christi International Prize on October 31, 2012, in Brussels. He was also a candidate for the Nobel Prize, together with a Muslim exponent of Nigeria, with whom he promoted a series of initiatives against fundamentalism.
Cardinal Onaiyekan’s Peacebuilding
The Cardinal’s visit to the University of San Diego brought to a close a number of interreligious peacebuilding events that have occurred at the School of Peace Studies that focused on Islamic relations.
The School hosted the first Catholic-Muslim National Dialogue. The Sufi-oriented Pacific Institute jointly sponsored with the School a program entitled, “Muslim Voices against Violent Extremism.” A small cluster of the School’s faculty has reached out to fellow academics in neighboring universities interested in countering Islamophobia. These periodic meetings have as their focus: “Community Resilience against Violent Extremism.” Finally, Professor Headley is teaching a course this semester entitled, “Warmongers and Peacebuilders: Religious Extremism.”
Archbishop Onaiyekan was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to serve as one of the papally-appointed Synod Fathers for the October 2012 Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization. He was created a Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI in a consistory on 24 November 2012.