Staff and Board

Welcome to our Summer Interns 2014: Joseph Lyons and Nicole Ngambwa

Joseph Lyons was born and raised in New Berlin, Wisconsin. Currently, he is a senior at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin, with majors in English and History, and a minor in Political Science. His areas of historical interest are Africa and the Middle East. His internship with Africa Faith and Justice Network is an exciting opportunity to learn more about the people and politics of Africa, as well as what can be done to help the people of this great and rich continent create sustainable, political, economic and social change. He is in Washington DC this summer through American University's Summer Internship Program. Email:

Nicole Ngambwa is currently a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is pursuing her bachelor's degree in Communications with a minor in International Development and Conflict Management. In 2009, she went to Kigali, Rwanda where she volunteered for Mbwirandumva Girls' orphanage teaching English and French. In 2013 she worked as a mentor for America Reads America Counts' Partners in Print program, where she provided bilingual literacy workshops to elementary school children and their parents for whom English was a second language. She also served as a volunteer on a university sponsored trip (through the Alternative Breaks Program) to Nashville, TN, which focused on immigrant and refugee resettlement. She is of Congolese-American descent.  Her love for Congo and Africa as a whole has inspired her to work towards justice for people in Africa and elsewhere in the world.

AFJN Staff & Board

Aniedi Okure, OPExecutive Director
Aniedi Okure is a member of the Order of Preachers; Dominican Province of St. Joseph the Worker (Nigeria-Ghana). He has served in various pastoral capacities in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the United States, including associate director of campus ministry at the University of Ife, associate at St. Ambrose Parish Boston, St. James Church Davis and chaplain at Geisinger Hospital Danville, Pennsylvania. From 1995 to 2001, he was the Coordinator of Ethnic Ministries at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and served as co-chair for the breakout sessions of Encuentro 2000, the millennium celebration of diversity in the church. While at USCCB, he brought together African priests and religious to form the coalition of African Conference of Catholic Clergy and Religious in the United States (

Since 2003, he has contributed to research projects at Catholic University’s Institute for Policy Research ( including the study of the movements of international priests and religious and their impact on local church communities, African and Caribbean-born in the United States, and cultural diversity in the Church. With Dean Hoge, he co-authored International Priests in America: Challenges and Opportunities (2006), and African and Caribbean Catholics in the United States (2008). He is a frequently invited speaker on international priests and cultural diversity. He studied at the Dominican Institute Ibadan, Les Facultés Catholique Kinshasa; University of Ife; Boston University and The Catholic University of America. He has taught at The Catholic University of America, The George Washington University, the University of California Davis and the University of Ife, Nigeria. He holds a doctorate degree in sociology from the Catholic University of America. Email:

Bahati Jacques, Policy Analyst

Bahati Jacques joined Africa Faith and Justice Network in 2007. Originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he witnessed the invasion of the DRC by Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda from 1996-2000 and worked in the field of post-war relief. He co-founded the Association des vieullards abondonnes in french Association for Abandoned Elderly (AVA) which addresses the increased number of elderly people begging on the streets of Bukavu during the conflict in DRC. He holds an undergraduate degree in Philosophy (2000) from La Ruzizi in Bukavu/DRC, a Masters of Divinity (2006) and Masters of Arts in Ethics (2007) from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.

Since joining AFJN, he has written and spoken in different circles across the US on the socio-political issues of the DRC, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi.  He is the author of Tribe not an Idea, but a True Identity, a piece published in Recherches Africaines. L'Afrique et son vecu vol. 21-22, and co-author of the paper Promoting International Support for Community-Based Justice Mechanisms in Post-Conflict Burundi and Uganda (2009).  Policy papers of his include Two Rebel groups, One solution (2008) and Evaluating peace and stability in DRC (2009). He has been a guest of Africa Now, a radio program of WPFW in Washington DC and Voice of America TV.  His work at AFJN is informed by his passion for social justice as well his personal commitment to making this world a better place for all people.  Email:

Rev. Barthelemy Bazemo, M.Afr. Policy Analyst (new in 2013, many thanks to the Missionaries of Africa)

Fr. Barthelemy Bazemo is a member of the Society of the Missionaries of Africa. Born in Ivory Coast and raised in Burkina Faso, West Africa, he has training in peacekeeping operations, conflict studies, international politics, human rights and diplomacy. Fr. Bazemo will serve as policy analyst and assist the Executive Director in AFJN-SECAM (Symposium of the Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar) relations. He spent many years in Eastern Africa, mostly in Kenya and Tanzania studying and engaging in active urban apostolate, centered on nurturing Christian values, youth animation, developmental activities, and dialogue with other faiths. He was an active member of Christian Professionals of Tanzania (CPT), a forum for advocacy, human rights and social ethics in the public square; and Wabunge Think-Tank for specific issues related to constitutional debate, the rule of law, good governance, and peacebuilding. Fr. Bazemo studied at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), Tangaza College, Hekima College Nairobi Kenya, and Centre Supérieur de Philosophie, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. In 2010 he studied at the National Peace Academy (NPA) at Wilmington College. He holds a Masters degree in Peace Studies and International Relations, a STB in Sacred Theology, a graduate diploma in Communications and Certificate in PPI (Peacebuilding Peacelearning Intensive); He speaks and writes French, English and Swahili. Email:

Melaura Homan-Smith,  Programs Coordinator

Melaura Homan-Smith, AFJN's Program Coordinator, joined AFJN in January 2011 after volunteering with the Africa Human Security Working Group. She focuses on issues of militarism and conflict for AFJN, as well as development, administrative, and finance responsibilities. Melaura went to Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi in 2012 for AFJN to investigating issues of conflict mineral law and restorative justice. Her Quaker spirit of service led her to teach English with an international team in rural China in 2005 and in 2009 volunteer with various human rights groups in Argentina which work toward justice for victims of the Guerra Sucia (Dirty War).  Melaura holds a bachelors in International Political Economy, and a bachelors in Comparative Literature from the Pennsylvania State University. Email:


Board of Directors

as of June, 2014

Therese Wetta, ASC, Chair
Wichita, KS

Michele Puma, SHCJ, Treasurer
Devon, PA

Stephen Price, Secretary
Takoma Park, MD

John Converset, MCCJ
Montclair, NJ

John Kleiderer
Silver Spring, MD

Mary Ann Tregoning, MMS
Camden, NJ

Brian Reavey
St Louis, MO

Rocco Puopolo, S.X.
Holliston, MA

Teresa Phillips
Cincinnati, OH

Leonard Olobo, CSC
Notre Dame, IN

David Schwinghamer, MM
Washington, DC

Tom Tunney, CSSp
Arlington, VA

Sally Slyngstad, snjm
Castro Valley, CA


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