Bishop Matthew H. Kukah, a noted Nigerian advocate for justice, democracy, and human development, will speak at the Kellogg Institute on Thursday, October 29. His lecture, “Religion, Human Development, and Democracy in Africa: Lessons from Nigeria,” which is free and open to the public, will be held at 4 p.m. in the Hesburgh Center Auditorium. All are welcome.

A respected scholar as well as the bishop of the Diocese of Sokoto, Nigeria, Kukah has played an active role in Nigerian civil society and is well known in Africa and beyond as a champion of respectful Christian-Muslim relations.

“Bishop Kukah is remarkable for the service he has rendered to both church and society,” says Faculty Fellow Rev. Robert Dowd, CSC, who organized the visit. “I am delighted that our students and faculty will have the opportunity to learn from his wealth of experience and to grapple with new and important questions about religion, development, and democracy in Africa and beyond.”

Kukah has served on Nigeria’s Truth Commission, the Political Reform Conference for Nigeria, and the country’s Electoral Reform Committee and helped to negotiate an end to the Shell-Ogoni conflict in Nigeria’s delta region. He chaired the Committee on Interreligious Dialogue in Nigeria and West Africa and was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as a member of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

In his lecture, Kukah will discuss how Christian and Islamic religious institutions and religious beliefs have promoted or inhibited integral human development and how religious institutions or universities might better promote such development.

Earlier in the week, Kukah will also take part in a panel celebrating Dowd’s new book, Christianity, Islam, and Liberal Democracy: Lessons from Sub-Saharan Africa.

The book launch, to be held on Tuesday, October 27 at 4:00 p.m. in C103 Hesburgh Center, will also feature Sara Sievers, associate dean for policy and practice, Keough School of Global Affairs, and Ebrahim Moosa, professor of Islamic studies, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and Department of History.

Kukah has written widely on democracy, religion, and politics in Nigeria. He holds a PhD in political science from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and has been a senior Rhodes fellow at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford, and an Edward Mason Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.


The Kellogg Institute for International Studies, part of the University of Notre Dame’s new Keough School of Global Affairs, is an interdisciplinary community of scholars and students from across the University and around the world that promotes research, provides educational opportunities, and builds linkages related to two topics critical to our world—democracy and human development.