Press Release: Ulrich Winkler Award 2022 goes to Dr. Ikenna Paschal Okpaleke

Salzburg, 4 August: The Ulrich Winkler Award 2022 goes to Dr. Ikenna Paschal Okpaleke for his dissertation „Transformation through Dialogue: Ecumenical and Interreligious Identities in Nigeriawas” (Lexington: Minneapolis, 2020). A member oft he curatorium, Paul Hedges (S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NTU, Singapore), states: „This thesis demonstrates both complexity and originality in its design and implementation, moreover, in line with the award criteria, it is well placed by the candidate within a narrative of their previous and ongoing work. Tackling both ecumenical/ intra-religious (Catholic-Anglican), as well as interreligious (Christian-Muslim) dialogues, the thesis sets out to show how parallels and developments between these layers may be both theoretically and practically combined. “

The Ulrich Winkler Award is presented annually and was endowed by Ulrich Winkler from his private fortune. Winkler (1961-2021) was an associate professor at the University of Salzburg in the Department of Systematic Theology and co-founder of the Center for Intercultural Theology and the Study of Religions. In 2012/13 he was Visiting Scholar at the Center for the Study of World Religions (CSWR) at Harvard University. From 2016 to 2019, he held the Laurentius Klein Chair in Biblical and Ecumenical Theology at the Jerusalem Year of Theological Studies at Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem. His main research interests were the theology of religions and comparative theology.

Dr. Okpaleke is a Catholic priest from Nigeria, did his doctoral studies at the KU Leuven Belgium, specializing in Systematic theology. His 2020 dissertation titled: Transformation through Dialogue: Ecumenical and Interreligious Identities in Nigeria was adjudged by the Award panel as representing the required objectives. Dr. Okpaleke’s interdisciplinary dissertation engages ecumenical (Anglican-Roman Catholic) and interreligious (Christian-Muslim) dialogues from an intercultural Trinitarian approach. The arguments and proposals are contextualized within the Nigerian setting.

The dissertation is today published under the reversed title, Ecumenical and Interreligious Identities in Nigeria: Transformation through Dialogue, by the Lexington Press, an imprint of the Rowman & Littlefield publishers.

Dr. Okpaleke was a visiting researcher at the Institute of Hermeneutics, Protestant Theology Faculty, University of Bonn (2020-2021), and currently a postdoctoral research associate at the Theologische

Fakultät Trier. He continues his research in the areas of ecclesiology, ecumenism, comparative theology and intercultural theology.

In an email communicating the news to Dr. Ikenna Paschal Okpaleke, the director of the Center for Intercultural Theology and Study of Religions, Prof. Dr. Martin Rötting states “congratulations – the board of trustees of the Ulrich Winkler Award has selected your application for the Ulrich Winkler Award 2022.” According to the Rötting the selection process was “extremely tight” because of the quality of the applications. Dr. Okpaleke is expected to receive the award on 4 August 2022 at the University of Salzburg where he is expected to give a lecture at the Crossculture Religious Studies Summer School.

Ansicht KTH und Park

Assoz.-Prof. Dr. Martin Rötting

PLUS | Centre for Intercultural Theology and Study of Religions (ZTKR)

Universitätsplatz 1 | A-5020 Salzburg

Tel: +43 662 8044 2629

Email to Assoz.-Prof. Dr. Martin Rötting

Photo: © Kay Müller