Vatican City, May 23, 2013 / 07:31 am
Cardinal Robert Sarah, the president of Benin and officials from the Pontifical Lateran University presented a new chair whose goal will be to study African politics and form new generations of leaders in the Church's social doctrine.
The new position, which is named after the late Beninese Cardinal Bernard Gantin, was dedicated May 23, "to recall what his life meant for the people of Benin, for the Church in Africa, and for the universal Church," explained Cardinal Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.
"I hope that this chair in his name – on 'Socialization Policy in Africa' – will initiate reflection on politics in the African context and prepare future leaders of African society who are guided by the Church's Social Doctrine," the cardinal told the press.
President Thomas Yayi Boni was also present at the May 23 press conference to unveil the effort, and he spoke in French about the need for a renewal of the political culture in Africa. Making this a reality will require transforming the system and the individual, he added.
Professor Martin Nkafu Nkemnkia, who heads the university's Department of Social and Human Science – African Studies, explained that the chair will be responsible for holding courses and seminars, promoting conferences and workshops, and seeking collaboration with institutions to increase and give value to Africa's political culture.
"The contribution of the chair will be a renewal, but above all a formation of leaders, motivated by deep-rooted ethical principles, to overcome the difficult situation of crisis and corruption, both in politicians as well as in civil society itself, through a just economic vision and a more balanced form of the service that politics should offer," Nkafu said.