Echoes of the 13th General Assembly of Inter-Africa (IAOP): First part

Echoes of the 13th General Assembly of Inter-Africa (IAOP)

The 13th General Assembly of Inter-Africa (IAOP) was held from May 28 to June 2, 2017, at the convent of St. Thomas Aquinas, Ibadan, Nigeria, under the theme: The renewal of Dominican life and missions in Africa. This assembly in which the Master of the Order, fr Bruno Cadoré participated, also had the participation of the major superiors and the delegates of the entities of IAOP (with the exception of those of the Vice Province of Southern Africa who could not obtain the necessary entry visa), the members of the Coordinating Committee (CC-IAOP), and many guests and observers; making a total of 37 participants. Fr. Emmanuel Ntakarutimana was the moderator and the fr. Anthony Akinwale, the keynote speaker on the theme of the Assembly. The presentation of the various reports, the conference and the speeches of the Master of the Order on the five priorities arising from the Acts of the General Chapter of Bologna 2016 helped to highlight important issues of reflection, identify the major challenges and make decisions for the future.

Among the important issues that have emerged from the Assembly are:

Formation, in particular, the project of a common novitiate. The Master of the Order invited the Assembly to leave the abstraction of a common novitiate for a dialogue that starts from the existing reality, in order to take a concrete step in the direction of strengthening the existing novitiates.

Intellectual life: concerning the Institute under the immediate jurisdiction of the Master of the Order requested by the General Chapter of Bologna for the dialogue between theology and culture, fr. Bruno pointed out that the next Socius for intellectual life will be in charge of this question. But, there are prerequisites:
1 / Give the floor to IAOP, in particular to the technical team headed by Brother Anthony Akinwale;
2 / Working time in the plenary;
3 / the return to IAOP entities, in particular the CC-IAOP.
The Master has proposed that the small technical commission should remain its interlocutor for the next steps. A small committee chaired by fr. Roger Gaise reflected on collaboration between universities to flesh out our Dominican "label".
Communication: to continue with the publication of Afridoms Flash and relaunch Afridoms Magazine.
Economic life: a small committee chaired by the syndic of the IAOP reflected on the economic future of Inter-Africa.
Issues of justice and peace, the presence of the Order in Southern Africa and the official integration of the community of Malabo into IAOP were also discussed. They were submitted to the decision committee for deliberation.
The Assembly also revised the Statutes of the IAOP, proposed a terna to the Master of the Order for the nomination of the next Socius for Africa and elected the new Coordinating Committee. Until the appointment of the new Socius and Coordinator of IAOP, the Master of the Order recalled that the current Socius remains in office until the end of his mandate in November 2017.
The new Coordinating Committee  
Coordinator of the IAOP and Socius for Africa (until November 2017): fr. Gabriel Samba
IAOP for intellectual life: fr. Paul Akin-Otiko (Nigeria).
IAOP Counselor for Formation: fr. Roger Gaise (R.D. Congo)
IAOP Counselor for Justice and Peace and Dominican Family: fr. Emmanuel Mulu (Kenya)
Syndic of IAOP: fr. Raphaël Uwineza (Rwanda)
The mandate of the CC-IAOP is three years, which means, the current committee will serve until the next IAOP General Assembly in Angola in 2020. The mini-summit will take place from 18 to 23 December 2018 in Côte d'Ivoire.​


Echoes of the 13th General Assembly of Inter-Africa (IAOP): Part Two

In accordance with the Statutes of the IAOP (art. 8 § 2), the decision-making committee (Major Superiors + Coordination Committee) met immediately at the end of the Assembly in Ibadan on 2 June 2017. The committee took the following orientations and decisions on the important points that emerged from the Assembly.

Formation: Following the advice of the Master of the Order asking to "leave the abstraction of a common novitiate", the decision-making committee supports the idea of strengthening existing novitiates and asked the entities concerned to proceed in three stages: 1 / The entity with the novitiate to be strengthened reflects on the question of its capacity; 2 / The entities grouped together discuss the project; 3 / These grouped entities present the project to the IAOP, specifying their respective contributions and the request for support. The IAOP will send the application to Spem Miram Internationalis or to other Provinces.

Intellectual life: the decision-making committee gave a mandate to the counselor of IAOP for intellectual life to: 1 / update the database of professors engaged in higher and university education. 2 / in collaboration with major superiors, to promote a framework for collaboration between institutes and universities within the IAOP, in particular through the exchange of professors and students. The evaluation of these two decisions will be made at the next IAOP Mini-summit in December 2018.

Economic life: the committee decided to form a technical team, efficient and competent, chaired by the syndic of the IAOP and made up of brothers Julio Candeeiro (Angola), Alexius Agba (Nigeria) and Jean Rufin Munkwomo (D.R. Congo). The mandate of this technical team is to: 1 / Identify and study the feasibility of viable IAOP subsistence projects; 2 / Fund raising; 3 / Identify the IAOP projects to be financed.

Communication: the decision-making committee asked the new Socius for Africa to take into account the request to revive Afridoms Magazine expressed during the 13th General Assembly. He will report back to the next Mini-summit.

The presence of the Order in Southern Africa: The Assembly was edified by the diversity of interesting apostolates likely to allow a rapid growth of the Dominican presence in Zambia, as well as on the regional collaborations that are developed. The Assembly therefore encouraged dialogue and collaboration between the entities concerned. The General Curia will follow up on the issue. It encourages wider collaboration between branches of the Dominican family in Southern Africa. The decision-making committee did not deem it advisable to deliberate on the question of the determination of the territorial limits of an entity, specifying that this falls within the competence of the Master of the Order. However, we should reflect on this question: Are we working for expansion (being everywhere) or for a specificity of the mission of the Order in a given region?

Collaboration and Justice and Peace: The Assembly expressed the importance of regaining the collaborative flame of the beginning of the IAOP. Inter-African collaboration must be a form of listening and an expression of prophetic preaching. As for the question of Justice and Peace, the committee recalled that it is the business of all brothers and not only the IAOP counselor for Justice and Peace and the Dominican Family alone.

The theme for reflection for the next three years: The members of the decision-making committee will reflect on this and send ideas to the Socius for Africa. However, we will continue to work on the theme of renewal.

fr Gabriel Samba, op.


(15 July 2017)