Bios of Invited Speakers

Kajsa Ahlstrand is Professor of Church and Mission Studies at the University of Uppsala. She specializes in theology of religion and interreligious dialogue. In her research, she has focused on the relation between tradition and modernity in the religions, and on religion within a postmodern society. Her doctoral dissertation was on ‘Fundamental Openness: An Enquiry into Raimundo Panikkar’s Theological Vision and Its Philosophical Presuppositions’ (1993). During the years 1997-2003 she worked as Advisor to the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and its Department for Theology and Studies. She has written several articles related to religion in South Asia, e.g., ‘Toward a Paradigm Shift in Christian Mission: South Asia and North Europe’, published in Theology and the Religions: a Dialogue (edited by Viggo Mortensen; Eerdmans, 2003), and ‘Reincarnation and Resurrection: a Reconstruction’ in Spiritualism: A Challenge to the Churches in Europe (edited by Ingo Wulfhorst; LWF Studies, 2004). Ahlstrand has also written articles in Swedish magazines, e.g., ‘Sati – testpunkt för förhållandet mellan tradition-modernitet i Indien’ in Vår Lösen 4/1998; and ‘Dop och dopteologi i indisk kontext’ in Svensk Kyrkotidning 38/1998.


Maria Clara Lucchetti Bingemer lives in Rio de Janerio.  A laywoman, she is married with three grown-up children.  She received a doctorate from the Gregorian in 1989and is currently associate professor in the theology department at the Pontifical Catholic University in Rio and a co-ordinator at the Loyola Centre of Faith and Culture at the same university.  She is co-author with Ivone Gebara of Mary: Mother of the Church, Mother of the Poor (1993) and her other recent publications include Deus trindade:avida no corção do mundo ( 2001, ed); Violệncia e religião.  Trệs religiões em confronto e dialogo: Cristianismo, Judaismo, Islamismo (2001).


Erik Borgman (Amsterdam, 1957) is Professor for Systematic Theology – Theology of Religion, especially Christianity – in the Department of Religious Studies and Theology of Tilburg University, The Netherlands. He is married with two daughters and is a Lay Dominican. Borgman studied philosophy and theology at the University of Nijmegen. He wrote a dissertation on the different forms of Liberation Theology and their relation to academic Western theology (promotion 1990). Between 1998 and 2004 he worked for the Dutch Province of the Order of Preachers to study and keep alive the theology of Edward Schillebeeckx. He has published Edward Schillebeeckx: a Theologian in his History.


Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad studied History, Politics and Sociology at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute in India before taking his D.Phil in Philosophy at Oriel College, Oxford. He taught at the National University of Singapore and held research fellowships at Trinity College, Oxford and Clare Hall, Cambridge, before joining the Department of Religious Studies, Lancaster University, where he is Professor of Comparative Religion and Philosophy. He now serves as the Associate Dean for Research, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. He is currently the PI on the UK AHRC major research project Self: Hindu responses to Buddhist Critiques, which focuses on his main research area of comparative metaphysics, epistemology and consciousness studies. His other research interests are in comparative theology, and religion and politics. Beside nearly fifty articles, his academic books are Knowledge and Liberation in Classical Indian Thought (Palgrave), Advaita Metaphysics and Epistemology (RoutledgeCurzon), Eastern Philosophy (Weidenfeld and Nicholson) and Indian Philosophy and the Consequences of Knowledge (Ashgate).


Catherine Cornille is Associate Professor of Comparative Theology and chair of the Department of Theology at Boston College.  Her teaching and research focus mainly on methodological questions in the study of religions, inculturation and interreligious dialogue.  Her books include The Guru in Indian Catholicism: Ambiguity or Opportunity of Inculturation (1991); ed., Many Mansions: Multiple Religious Belonging and Christian Identity (2002); ed., Song Divine: Christian Commentaries on the Bhagavadgita (2006); and most recently The Im-Possibility of Interreligious Dialogue (2008).  She is managing editor of the series “Christian Commentaries on non-Christian Sacred Texts.”


Hille Haker is Professor of Moral Theology/Social Ethics at the Catholic Faculty of Frankfurt, and a member of the European Group on Ethics in Sciences and New Technologies (EGE).  From 2003 to 2005 she was Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (USA).  She studied Catholic theology, German literature and philosophy at the Universities of Tübingen, Munich and Nijmegen (NL).  From 1989 to 2003 she was staff member of the Center for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities, and lecturer at the Department of Ethics/Socila Ethics at the Catholic Theological Faculty, both University of Tübingen.


Linda Hogan is Professor of Ecumenics and currently Head of School at the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin. She is a theological ethicist with research and teaching interests in the fields of politics and human rights. Specialising in Christian social ethics, intercultural ethics, and the ethics of gender her recent publications include Religious Voices in Public Places (ed. with Biggar), Oxford University Press, 2009 and Traditions in Dialogue: Applied Ethics in a World Church, (ed.) Maryknoll, Orbis, 2008, [2009 Catholic Book Award, First Place, Educational Books. Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada]. She is a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin.


Maureen Junker-Kenny is Associate Professor of Theology at Trinity College Dublin. She has been a Member of the Board of Directors of the international Catholic journal Concilium and is currently serving as a Co-Editor of the series Practical Theology in the Discourse of the Humanities (Berlin/New York: De Gruyter, 2007-), Co-Editor of Ethics and Education (London: Routledge, 2006-), and Co-Editor of Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics (San Diego/London). Professor Junker-Kenny has published in a diverse range of fields, and her books include: Argumentationsethik und christliche Praxis. Eine praktisch-theologische Auseinandersetzung mit der Handlungstheorie Jürgen Habermas’, Stuttgart: Kohlhammer Verlag, 1998; Das Urbild des Gottesbewußtseins. Zur Entwicklung der Religionstheorie und Christologie Schleiermachers von der ersten zur zweiten Auflage der Glaubenslehre (Schleiermacher-Archiv Bd. 8), Berlin-New York: de Gruyter, 1990; Co-editor (with M. Tomka), Faith in a Society of Instant Gratification, Concilium, 1999/4, (London, S.C.M. Press, 1999); Co-Editor (with H. Häring / D. Mieth), Creating Identity – Biographical, Moral, Religious, Concilium, 2000/2 (London, S.C.M. Press, 2000); Co-Editor (with R. Ammicht-Quinn, H. Harker), The Structural Betrayal of Trust. Child Sexual Abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, Concillium 2004/3 (London: SCM Press, 2004); Co-editor (with R. Ammicht-Quinn/E. Tamez), The Discourse of Human Dignity (Concilium 2003/2) (London: SCM Press, 2003); (Ed. and Contributor) Memory, Narrativity, Self and the Challenge to Think God. The Reception within Theology of the Recent Work of Paul Ricoeur (Munster: LIT-Verlag, 2004); Co-Editor (with L. S. Cahill), The Ethics of Genetic Engineering, Concilium, International Journal of Theology, London, S.C.M. Press, 1998/2; Editor, Designing Life? Genetic, Procreation, and Ethics (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999). Continuum will publish her Habermas and Theology in 2011.


Solange Lefebvre, PhD. Theology, University of Montreal; D.E.A. Social Anthropology, EHESS, Paris. Solange Lefebvre is Professor of theology and religious studies at the University of Montreal, Canada, and Chair, religion, culture and society.  She edited few books on ages and generations (Fides, Paulist 1992-1995), and had published numerous articles and book chapters on generations, and on secularity and religion in the public sphere (La religion dans la sphere publique, 2005). She recently published Cultures et spiritualité des jeunes, Bellarmin, 2008.


John D’Arcy May, b. Melbourne, Australia, 1942. STL Gregoriana, Rome, 1969; Dr. theol. (Ecumenics) Münster, 1975; wissenschaftlicher Assistent at Catholic Ecumenical Institute, Faculty of Catholic Theology, Univ. of Münster, 1975-1982; Dr. phil. (History of Religions) Frankfurt, 1983; Ecumenical Research Officer with Melanesian Council of Churches, Port Moresby, and Research Associate at the Melanesian Institute, Goroka, Papua New Guinea, 1983-87; Director, Irish School of Ecumenics, Dublin, 1987-1990; now Associate Professor of Interfaith Dialogue, ISE, and Fellow of Trinity College Dublin. Visiting professor in Fribourg, Switzerland (1982); Frankfurt, Germany (1988); Wollongong, Australia (1994); Tilburg, Netherlands (1996); Australian Catholic University, Sydney (2001); Istituto Trentino di Cultura, Centro per le Studie Religiose, Italy (2006). His publications include: Meaning, Consensus and Dialogue in Buddhist-Christian Communication: A Study in the Construction of Meaning (Berne: Peter Lang, 1984); [ed.] Living Theology in Melanesia: A Reader (Goroka: The Melanesian Institute, 1985); Christus Initiator. Theologie im Pazifik (Düsseldorf: Patmos, 1990); [ed.] Pluralism and the Religions: The Theological and Political Dimensions (London: Cassell, 1998); After Pluralism: Towards an Interreligious Ethic (Münster-Hamburg-London: Lit Verlag, 2000); Transcendence and Violence: The Encounter of Buddhist, Christian and Primal Traditions (New York and London: Continuum, 2003); [ed.] Converging Ways? Conversion and Belonging in Buddhism and Christianity (St Ottilien: EOS Verlag, 2006)


Ina Merdjanova is the director of the Center for Interreligious Dialogue and Conflict Prevention at the Scientific Research Department of Sofia University, Bulgaria. She received her PhD from Sofia University in 1995, and has held visiting fellowships at Oxford University and other institutions in the UK, Holland, Hungary, Germany, and the USA. She is the author and editor of six books in Bulgarian as well as of a monograph in English entitled Religion, Nationalism, and Civil Society in Eastern Europe—The Postcommunist Palimpsest (Edwin Mellen Press, 2002). Merdjanova has recently published a co-authored manuscript with Patrice Brodeur of Montreal University Religion as a Conversation Starter: Interreligious dialogue for Peacebuilding in the Balkans (Continuum, 2009) and is presently working on a book on Islam in the Balkans.


Éloi Messi Metogo, born in Cameroon is a Dominican. He holds a degree in Literature and doctorates in Theology and ‘religions-religious anthropology’ and teaches Christology and theological anthropology at the Catholic University of Central Africa in Yaoundé. He has recently published Éléments pour une théologie africaine pour le XXIe siècle (Yaoundé, 2005).


Paul D. Murray, a married lay Roman Catholic, is currently Senior Lecturer in Systematic Theology at Durham University, England where he is also Director of the Centre for Catholic Studies. He has previously held posts at St Cuthbert’s Seminary, Ushaw College, Durham, England; Newman College of Higher Education, Birmingham, England; and within the Department of Pastoral Formation of the Archdiocese of Liverpool.


Vasile Nechita, D.D.Ph, teaches Missiology and Ecumenism at the Orthodox Theological Institute of “Ovidius” University – Constanta (Romania). He is also responsible for religious education in the state school at the level of the Iassy district and is deeply involved in inter-cultural and religious dialogue, studies in modern Gnosticism, and various new religious movements. He also specialises in institutional communication, school management and teaching programmes. Previously, he worked as an editor and cultural counsellor at the Metropolitan Church of Moldavia and Bukovina (Romania). He has published 18 books, co-edited another 32 volumes, and also authored over 100 studies in Theology of Mission today. These works include: The Abraham Religions in the Postmodern Context; Ecumenism is like Spring; Stay on the Way of Unity; The Church`s Mission from Early Unity of Church to Ecumenism; For a Practical Missiology; The Church`s Mission. Yesterday and Today; Confessions on Christ between Mission and Discrimination; and The Confessed Church in Prison Clothes.


Regina Ammicht-Quinn studied Catholic theology and German.  She is a lecturer in theological ethics at the Theological Faculty of the University of Tübingen and the Interfaculty Centre for Ethics in Science, Tübingen.  Her publications include: Von Lissabon bis Auschwitz.  Zum Paradigmawechsel in der Theodizeefrage, Freiburg 1992;  Körper, Religion und Sexualität.  Theologische Reflexion zur Ethik der Geschlechter, Mainz 22002; Kultur des Lebens.  Bemerkungen zu einer christlichen Antropologie der Zukunft, Hildesheimer Texte 2, Hildesheim 2001.


William Storrar is Director of the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, an independent ecumenical institute for visiting scholars pursuing interdisciplinary advanced research. He is also a Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Theology at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, a Magnusson Fellow of Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, and  an elected member of the International Academy of Practical Theology, and the American Theological Society.  He was formerly Professor of Christian Ethics and Practical Theology and Director of the Centre for Theology and Public Issues at the University of Edinburgh.

He took his MA, BD, and PhD degrees at the University of Edinburgh, where he also served on the University Court as the Rector’s Assessor. After serving in parish ministry as an ordained minister of the Church of Scotland, he lectured in Practical Theology at the University of Aberdeen and then the University of Glasgow, before being appointed to a Chair at the University of Edinburgh in 2000.  While teaching at Glasgow and Edinburgh, he served as an external examiner for the MPhil degrees in Ecumenics and in Reconciliation Studies at the Irish School of Ecumenics. His research interests include the ministry and mission of the church in its changing social context, and theology and public issues, especially questions of citizenship and civil society. He has lectured widely in practical and public theology, including the USA, Germany, Hungary, Switzerland, South Africa, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. His publications include the co-edited works, Public Theology for the 21st Century (T&T Clark, 2004), and A World for All? Global Civil Society in Political Theory and Trinitarian Theology (forthcoming, Eerdmans, 2010). He chairs the editorial board of the International Journal of Public Theology and serves on the editorial boards of theological journals in Germany and South Africa.


Robert Schreiter holds the Vatican Council II Professorship of Theology at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. He has taught there since 1974, and has held concurrent professorships in Germany and in the Netherlands. His research interests include religion and culture, the mission of the Church, globalization, and the field of reconciliation and peacebuilding. He has published seventeen books, including Constructing Local Theologies (1985), The New Catholicity: Theology between the Global and the Local (1997), The Ministry of Reconciliation: Spirituality and Strategies (1997), and Mission in the Third Millennium (2001). He has lectured in some fifty countries around the world.


Ataullah Siddiqui did his PhD in Theology from the University of Birmingham. He is the Reader in Religious Pluralism and Inter-Faith Relations at Markfield Institute of Higher Education, where he teaches ‘Islam and Pluralism’, ‘Inter-Faith Relations’ and is the course director of ‘Training of Muslim Chaplains’. He was also the Director of the Institute from 2001 to 2008. He is a Visiting Professor at University of Gloucestershire and is a Visiting Fellow in the School of Historical Studies, University of Leicester. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the HRH

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World at the University of Edinburgh. He was founder President and Vice Chair of Christian Muslim Forum, and founder member of the Leicester Council of Faiths. His publications include: Christian-Muslim Dialogue in the Twentieth Century

(1997), Islam and Other Faiths[a collection of Ismail Raji Al- Faruqi’s articles] (1998).  Christians and Muslims in the Commonwealth: A Dynamic Role in the Future [Co-Edited 2001],He has contributed chapters in several books including:, ‘Believing and Belonging in a Pluralist Society – Exploring Resources in Islamic Traditions’ in David A. Hart (Ed.) Multi-Faith Britain (2002), ‘Islam and Christian Theology’ in The Modern Theologians, Edited by David Ford 2005. ‘A Muslim View of Christianity’ in Islam and Inter-Faith Relations Edited by Perry

Schmidt-Lukel and Lloyd Ridgeon (2007). He is also the author of Islam at Universities in England: Meeting the Needs and Investing in the Future, 2007 [‘Siddiqui Report’ commissioned by the Government].


Elaine Wainwright is Professor of Theology and Head of the School of Theology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. She is a New Testament scholar with a particular interest in a range of contextual hermeneutics including feminist, ecological, and post colonial. Her most recent research was in gender and healing in the Graeco-Roman world and early Christianity and she is turning now to developing an ecological hermeneutic for reading the Gospel of Matthew.


Felix Wilfred was born in Tamil Nadu, India in 1948. He is the President of the faculty of arts, and Chairman of The School of Philosophy and Religious thought, State University of Madras. He is also a member of the Statutory Ethical Committee of Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He was a member of International Theological Commission of the Vatican. As visiting professor, he has taught at the Universities of Nijmegen, Münster, Frankfurt am Main, Boston College and Ateneo de Manila. His researches and field studies today cut across many disciplines in humanities and social sciences. His more recent publications in the field of Theology are On the Banks of Ganges (2002), Asian Dreams and Christian Hope (2003), The Sling of Utopia: Struggles for a Different Society (2005), and Margins: Site of Asian Theologies (2008).