A Harvard scholar, Prof. Jacob Olupona has been announced the recipient of the 2018 Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion.
In a statement at the weekend, Olupona, Professor of African Religious Traditions, Harvard Divinity School and Professor of African and African American Studies, Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, emerged the winner of the prestigious award after due consideration of his work in peace and understanding.
According to the statement, the author and editor of several books, his research ranges across African spirituality and ritual practices.
It added that it ranged from religious pluralism in Africa and African diasporic communities in the Americas, including the under-studied “reverse missionaries” from Africa who have come to the United States to establish churches.
“In addition to Olupona’s seminal scholarly work in expanding understanding of the diversity and complexity of African religions, he is also known for his work for peace and understanding in Nigerian civic, academic, religious and political spheres.
“He was named an awardee of the prestigious National Order of Merit, Nigeria’s highest honor for intellectual accomplishment in science, medicine, engineering/technology, or the humanities in 2007.”
In this year’s Marty Award Forum in Denver, John Campbell, former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria and current Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, will serve as interlocutor for an extended public dialogue about Olupona’s life and work.