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Dr. Ikenna Paschal Okpaleke is a post-doctoral researcher working in Action Area 3 (Social Response-abilities), Problem Field 1-3 (Social Upheaval) on a project titled "The Legitimacy of Dissent? Democracy and Ecclesiology in Dialogue". Dr. Okpaleke holds a PhD and two Masters degrees from the KU Leuven. He has published numerous journal articles on topics in ecumenical theology, African theologies, and spirituality. 

Project Abstract: On the one hand, the functioning of any democratic society demands the pressure provided by legitimate dissent. The active presence of opposition political groups, the constitutionality of protests and civil disobedience and other forms of dissension attest to its importance. Constitutionality, however, does not imply outright tolerance of dissent within many democratic settings, since the defects of democracies invariably frustrate the acceptability of dissent as a democratic practice.  On the other hand, a Roman Catholic ecclesiology that emphasizes unity (Mayer, 2013) grapples with consequences of a mismanaged dissent, whereby dissent is not constitutively necessary for the identity of the church, but emerges as an inevitable outcome of its internal diversity. Hence, while schisms, sanctions, and excommunications have often been the legitimate responses to apostacies and heresies within the Roman Catholic Church (RCC; Code of Canon Law, 1983:Book VI), the RCC regards all human beings as children of God. To this end the RCC has strongly advocated for “receptive” and “listening” models of ecumenical and interreligious dialogue. Can the democratic space with its constitutional validation of dissent provide an opportunity for a Catholic learning? Conversely, can the emerging models of addressing dissent in the RCC help in addressing the intolerance of constitutional dissent in democratic settings? These questions will be investigated by means of (1) a descriptive combination of historical and ethnographic researches on specific cases of democratic and ecclesiological dissent, namely, the Occupy Nigeria movement and the “burden of Liberation Theology”, and (2 by constructively cross-applying democratic and ecclesiological tools for processing dissent and legitimacy. 



Ms. Lani Anaya is a Masters Student in the Bonn MESt and a research associate in the EXTRa program, working in Action Area "Social Response-abilities", Problem Fields "Social Upheaval" and "Cultural Heritage". Ms. Anaya is Mexican practice-based research expert in peace and development. She holds a BA in International Relations from the National Autonomous University of Mexico.  Lani holds an MSc. in Peace and Conflict Studies from Uppsala University,  graduate studies at the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey from the WCC. She is currently studying the Master of Ecumenical Studies at Bonn. Lani has done research and fieldwork for projects related to the 2030 Agenda, youth and peace, child reintegration, human rights, migration, and ecumenism with local and international organizations (e.g. the UN, the AU, and the WB). She is a member of the Methodist Church of Mexico, the  Mexican Council for International Relations, MY World Mexico. and the Latin American youth and peace network Juventudes por la Paz. She is columnist and commentator for Mexican local media. 


Elorm Nick Ahialey-Mawusi is a doctoral student in the department of Practical Theology of the Protestant Faculty at Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms University of Bonn. He received his MA in Extended Ecumenical Studies (MEESt) at the University of Bonn with a thesis on post-migration churches of African backgrounds as a new ecclesial development in Germany. He holds a BA in Mission Studies and International Diakonia from the Fachhochschule für Interkulturelle Theologie, Hermannsburg; and a ‘Diplom der Missionsakademie’ from the Academy of Mission at the University of Hamburg. Nick is the leading pastor of the Living Generation Church in Hamburg, and the director of Center of Theological and Ministerial Formation-Germany (CTMF-G).

Project Abstract: Nick’s research focuses on the purposes and the methods of doing theology in post-migration churches of African backgrounds, specifically among the second-generation of churches with migration backgrounds. He is interested in researching how the self-understanding of these churches as Christian, as African and as German European is mediated among second-generation individuals of African backgrounds. This complex transcultural experience encoded in a focused way in theological (religious) practices and communications will be explored with a focus on theological practices and communications.

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