Pope Francis Assigned UNIBEN Don, Kokunre A. Agbontaen-Eghafona, to Vatican Pontifical Academy

Professor Kokunre A. Agbontaen-Eghafona, Professor of Cultural Anthropology with research interests in oral literature and ethnography has been appointed member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

Pope Francis on Friday appointed Agbontaen-Eghafona and two other men, Professor Pedro Morandé Court from Chile and Professor Mario Draghi from Italy, to the Vatican-based establishment created to foster “the study and progress of social sciences”.

Established by St. John Paul II on 1 January 1994, the Academy seeks to primarily promote the academic fields of “economics, sociology, law and political science, thus offering the Church those elements which she can use the development of her social doctrine, and reflecting on the application of that doctrine in contemporary society,” the entity’s leadership has documented.

Prof. Agbontaen-Eghafona wrote in her summary report published on the website of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, “I have over sixty academic publications mainly in the area of Benin (Nigerian) culture and tradition and have been working in the field of irregular migration since 2003.”

The 60-year-old Professor has also made known her interest in combating human trafficking in Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria.

“My current scientific activities include measures to combat trafficking in women and girls in Benin City, Nigeria, and counter-trafficking initiatives in Nigeria,” she has documented and highlighted the numerous empirical studies she has undertaken, examining family role in trafficking of girls and women, trafficking perception, “post-trafficking psychosocial package,” and trauma healing among other specific topics of research.

The Nigerian University Don has been a lecturer at the University of Benin in southern Nigeria since 1992.

She graduated with a degree and later a Master of Arts in History, from the University of Benin. She also holds a Master of Science in Archaeology and Anthropology from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

In 2014, Professor Agbontaen-Eghafona participated in the Walk Free Foundation Research on Modern Slavery Landscape in Nigeria.

She has also consulted with several United Nations agencies including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United Nations Interregional Crime, and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).

The Nigerian-born Academician is also a member of the Archaeological Association of Nigeria, the International Society for Benin Studies, and the Nigerian National Museum Society, among other national and international academic entities.

The other members are:

Pedro Morandé Court
Professor Pedro Morandé Court was born in Santiago del Cile, Chile, on 3 August 1948. He has a degree in Sociology from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (UC), and a doctorate in Sociology from the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany).

Mario Draghi
Professor Mario Draghi was born in Rome on 13 September 1947. He graduated with a degree in Economic Policy from the Sapienza University of Rome, and obtained his doctorate in Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 1981 he became full Professor of Economics and Monetary Policy at the “Cesare Alfieri” Faculty of the University of Florence.

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