Dr. SimonMary Asese Aihiokhai was the first of two speakers hosted by Niagara University’s Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Equity, Race, and Mission as part of its Theological Reflection Series. Dr. Aihiokhai’s presentation, Deconstructing the Idolatry of White Supremacy: Embracing a Trinitarian Identity as Solidarity with Others,” explored a eucharistic anthropological theology, which fosters a humanity that is saturated with notions of solidarity, hospitality, and friendship, and creates space for God’s life to be experienced by all in our world. 

Dr. Aihiokhai is an associate professor of systematic theology at the University of Portland and coordinator of the university’s Theology Thursday Lecture Series. He is also a Fellow at the Westar Institute. His research focuses on religion and identity; African approaches to ethics; African philosophies, cultures, and theologies; religion and violence; comparative theology; themes in systematic theology; and interfaith studies.

Among his published works are a monograph, "Fostering Interreligious Encounters in Pluralist Societies. Hospitality and Friendship,” an edited volume, 10 book chapters, and 23 peer-reviewed journal articles.

Dr. Aihiokhai, who was born in Nigeria, has worked extensively with communities at the margins in Nigeria and in the United States. He received his undergraduate education in philosophy at the Spiritan School of Philosophy, Nigeria, and began graduate studies in theology at the Spiritan International School of Theology before migrating to the United States, where he earned a graduate degree in theology with a focus in medical ethics at Saint John Seminary, Camarillo, Calif. He obtained his Ph.D. in systematic theology from Duquesne University.

Dr. Danjuma G. Gibson, a professor of pastoral care at Calvin Theological Seminary, will be the featured speaker at the series’ second presentation on Thursday, May 6. Dr. Gibson will address “Demythologizing the Work of Freedom: Reimagining our Vision of Theological Praxis,” inviting participants to humanize the lives and work of various 19th and 20th century freedom fighters and revolutionary thinkers such as Fannie Lou Hamer, Ida B. Wells, and Martin Luther King Jr.

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