I am Dr. Lawrence S. Pedregosa, a Filipino theological ethicist specializing in socio-political and economic issues. I am the advocacy and communication officer of the Africa Europe Faith and Justice Network (AEFJN) at the International Secretariat based in Brussels, Belgium. I collaborate with the Executive Secretary in executing the strategic plan of action of AEFJN to realize its mission and vision in actualizing social justice as inspired by Catholic Social Ethical principles.

My vocation to engage in the political economic questions of social justice and equality comes with a long history. The EDSA People Power II event in the Philippines that ousted the former President Joseph Estrada due to corruption allegations in 2001 led me to question the workings of the government. It inspired me to pursue political science as a preparation for law only to later realize that following the law does not necessarily equate to justice. It is only rather an approximate formal representation of what is just, which in quotidian realities, mostly benefiting the rich and the powerful in society. Such realization led me to go beyond what is legal by scrutinizing moral issues which falls under the domain of philosophy and theology. My intellectual curiosity to bridge politics, philosophy, and theology motivated me to study liberation theology, which gave me the initial tool to integrate faith and justice to combat social injustice, misery, and inequality.

Throughout the decades, my academic foundations were deepened through teaching and research. I have written interdisciplinary research on critical social theory particularly on the topics of postcolonialism, post-structuralism, political ethics, and migration studies. A matured integration and understanding of politics, philosophy and theology were achieved through my degree Doctor of Theology (Ph.D.) and Sacrae Theologiae Doctor (S.T.D.) at KU Leuven, Belgium.

From the academic ivory tower, I decided to pursue the practical path of Church-based advocacy. As you might have been already familiar, the main thrust of AEFJN works through the Our Land is Our Life platform that fights issues like corporate impunity, land grabbing, and climate change to achieve food sovereignty through agroecology in Africa. Part of doing advocacy work is to lobby for integral developmental policies that will primarily benefit Africans. Given the history of colonialism that led to the unequal relationship between global north and global south, advocacy should be aimed toward social transformation of unjust social structures.

Working for social change is never an endeavor of individuals or few organizations. In terms of communication, I liaison with other strategic collaborators by strengthening the bonds between faith-based and secular civil society organizations. So far, 1) mobilization of AEFJN antennae, 2) promoting an Africa-driven advocacy towards Africa-EU partnership, and 3) the UN Treaty on the Regulation of Transnational Corporations have been the present key result areas for operations that AEFJN has been working. In this aspect, Intercultural communication is thus necessary for network and alliance building with other political actors that share AEFJN values.

As seen here in my profile as a theological ethicist, my vocation and career have been oriented toward the Christian realization of the Kingdom of God through teaching, research, collaborative advocacy work, and policy analysis. I hope that through AEFJN, I will become part of a network that nurtures my passion, curiosity, and strengths.

Dr. Lawrence Santiago Pedregosa