Speakers and Presenters
Roberto Cuéllar is the Executive Director of the Interamerican Institute of Human Rights (IIHR). A native Salvadoran, Mr. Cuéllar began his career defending human rights in 1975 in El Salvador by helping to form Socorro Jurídico, an organization providing legal assistance to the victims of human rights abuses. As a close collaborator and legal advisor of Archbishop Oscar Romero, he was forced to flee El Salvador after Romero was assassinated in 1980. From exile, he documented more than 1,000 cases of gross human rights violations in his homeland and the surrounding region, and he submitted his evidence to the United Nations and the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights. In 1985 he began to work for the IIHR, providing human rights training to Latin American organizations and other professional services to electoral bodies, courts, religious groups, and social justice organizations throughout Central America. In the 1990s Mr. Cuéllar was an active participant in the UN-brokered Salvadoran and Guatemalan peace processes. He is the recipient of numerous human rights awards, including the Letelier Moffitt Human
Lawrence S. Cunningham is the John A. O'Brien Professor of Theology at Notre Dame. His interests include systematic theology and culture, and Christian spirituality and its history. His most recent book is A Brief History of Saints (Oxford: Blackwell, 2005). He has edited or written sixteen other books and serves as coeditor of the academic monograph series "Studies in Theology and Spirituality" as well as associate editor for a number of scholarly journals. The author of over fifty articles in peer-reviewed or solicited journals and books, he has also written over two hundred articles for pastoral and popular outlets. He has won three Catholic Press Association awards for religious writing (1987, 1999, and 2000). The religion book notes columnist for Commonweal for over ten years, he has won awards for his teaching at Notre Dame: the Fenlon Award from Sorin College (1989) and a Kaneb Award in 1999. He is currently finishing a book on Roman Catholicism for Cambridge University Press and had been appointed Christianity editor of the forthcoming Norton Anthology of World Religions.
Margaret Hebblethwaite is the author of numerous books including Motherhood and God; Finding God in all Things: The Way of St Ignatius; and Six New Gospels: New Testament Women Tell Their Stories. She was Assistant Editor at The Tablet, a prominent international Catholic weekly, from 1991 - 2000. Following a visit to Paraguay, she resigned this prestigious job to live and work in a Small Christian Community in Santa María de Fe, a former Jesuit mission. Her years in the Third World have given her an opportunity to share the “good news to the poor,” as well as countless opportunities to listen to the voices from the margins and to learn how the indigenous Guarani people of Santa María live out their conviction: ñamba'apo oñondivepa (we must all work together.)
Rev. Stephen P. Judd, MM, is a missionary priest whose mission commitments have focused on the indigenous peoples of Latin America. In Peru (1975–2002), he was the director of the Instituto de Pastoral Andina (IPA)and director of Campus Ministry at the National University of the Altiplano. In Bolivia, he served as director of the Maryknoll Mission Center and Language Institute in Cochabamba (2002–07). He was a member of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers General Council (1990–96). Fr. Judd resides in Cochabamba, where he is the official representative in Latin America for the Christopher movement, while he continues his commitment to the formation of leaders for Church and civil society throughout Latin America. He holds an MA in Latin American literature from the University of New Mexico and a PhD in the sociology of religion from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA.
Michael E. Lee, assistant professor of theology at Fordham University, focuses on the interconnection between theological and Christological assertions and Christian praxis/practice. Taking all theology as correlational in some form, he seeks to understand different theologies in light of their historical realities and thus to account more clearly for the manner in which they advocate incarnating the Christian life. His current research involves an ongoing dialogue between the work of Latin American liberation theologians and those of the so-called Radical Orthodoxy, and the relationship between theologians (e.g. Athanasius, Bonaventure, and Ellacuría) and saints who influenced their thought (Anthony, Francis, and Oscar Romero, respectively.) Lee is the author of Bearing the Weight of Salvation: The Soteriology of Ignacio Ellacuría (Herder & Herder, 2008).
Otto Maduro, professor of World Christianity at Drew University, has chaired Drew University's PhD program in Religion and Society and currently co-chairs its Hispanic Institute of Theology. He holds a PhD from the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium). He has been a visiting professor at Notre Dame and at many other universities in the US and Latin America. Maduro is currently doing research on Latin Pentecostal congregations in Newark, NJ.
The Most Reverend Luciano Mendes de Almeida, SJ, is Archbishop of Mariana, Brazil, and President of the Brazilian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Throughout four decades as a Jesuit priest, as Auxiliary Bishop of São Paulo, and now as Archbishop of Mariana, he has lived and ministered in the Romero tradition by relentlessly striving to improve an unjust society, especially in his work with the impoverished street children of São Paulo.
Eugene Palumbo, a freelance journalist, met Archbishop Oscar Romero in 1979 when he was covering the Latin American Bishops Conference in Mexico. First visiting El Salvador in 1980, immediately after Archbishop Romero’s murder, he moved there in 1984 to cover the Salvadoran civil war full time. As a freelance journalist, he has reported for, among others, National Public Radio, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC), the Christian Science Monitor, Commonweal magazine and National Catholic Reporter. He is currently the local stringer in El Salvador for the New York Times and Time magazine. He also teaches a course on the history of El Salvador’s civil war in a study-abroad program for US university students.
Margaret Pfeil, assistant professor of theology at Notre Dame, specializes in Catholic social thought and the development of moral doctrine. Her articles have appeared in Louvain Studies, Josephinum Journal of Theology, The Journal for Peace & Justice Studies, New Theology Review, and the Mennonite Quarterly Review. She is currently finishing the book “Social Sin: Social Reconciliation?” and with Margaret Eletta Guider, OSF, coediting “White Privilege: Implications for the Church, the Catholic University, and Theology.” She is a founder of the St. Peter Claver Catholic Worker House in South Bend.
Oscar Andrés Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga, SDB, is Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras and the past president of the Conference of Latin American Bishops. He served as the Vatican spokesperson to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank on the issue of Third World debt, and he is one of the authors of Ecclesia in America, the 1999 Papal Exhortation based on the Special Synod for America. Cardinal Rodriguez has tirelessly campaigned for human rights, brokered numerous peace accords, and led rebuilding efforts following earthquakes and hurricanes—endeavors that continue the work of Archbishop Romero. In November of 2002, he was awarded the Notre Dame Prize for Distinguished Service in Latin America.
Don Samuel Ruiz Garcia is Bishop Emeritus of San Cristobal de Las Casas, in the Mexican state of Chiapas. He is president of the Oscar Romero International Solidarity Secretariat, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center, and the Center of Service and Advice for Peace in Mexico. Throughout the five decades of his ministry, Bishop Ruiz has championed the rights, welfare, and human dignity of Mexico’s indigenous communities. In 1974, he invited representatives of all indigenous peoples to participate in a National Indigenous Congress, and he forged their recommendations into a comprehensive social-action program. When the Chiapas-based Zapatista National Liberation Army declared war against the Mexican Army in 1994, Bishop Ruiz single-handedly negotiated a ceasefire that prevented what would otherwise have been an appallingly bloody civil war.
Margaret Swedish is the Director of the Religious Task Force on Central America and Mexico (RTFCAM), and the author of Oscar Arnulfo Romero: Prophet to the Americas and of A Message Too Precious to Be Silenced. The Religious Task Force on Central America and Mexico was founded in March 1980, two weeks before the assassination of Archbishop Romero. It was created by U.S. Catholic religious leaders in response to Romero’s call for international solidarity with his persecuted people who were suffering under the weight of military dictatorship, government repression, and horrendous social and economic inequities. For over two decades, RTFCAM has helped thousands of North Americans walk in faith-based solidarity with our sisters and brothers of Central America and Mexico. Both its mission and the interpersonal relationships it helps to foster are based on shared commitment to social justice, peaceful resolution of conflict, and faith reflections deeply rooted in the aspiration for justice, freedom from oppression, human dignity, and God-given human rights.
Dr. Rubén Zamora
Dr. Rubén Zamora is a prominent Salvadoran political leader, a former professor at the Universidad Centroamerica, and one of Latin America’s foremost champions of peace and social justice. While serving as Speaker of the National Assembly during and after El Salvador’s twelve-year-long civil war and as the presidential candidate of the Democratic Convergence party in 1994 and 1999, he steadfastly championed the God-given rights of the poor, the oppressed, and the marginalized majority of his country’s citizens. He lost the presidential elections to the extreme-rightist ARENA candidates in elections “supervised” by heavily-armed paramilitary forces who openly intimidated campesino and blue-collar voters. Nevertheless, he has seen his Democratic Convergence Party and the allied Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front win half the seats in the National Assembly less than a decade after its supporters were being machine-gunned by military death squads. Dr. Zamora remains active in Salvadoran politics, serving as a voice of moderation and reconciliation in a nation that is still dangerously polarized.