University of Portland

Simon Aihiokhai PhD

Theology, Associate Professor

Simon Aihiokhai PhD



Buckley Center 444

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Dr. SimonMary Asese Aihiokhai was born in Nigeria. He received his undergraduate education in philosophy at the Spiritan School of Philosophy, Nigeria (1997). He began his graduate studies in theology and religion at the Spiritan International School of Theology/University of Nigeria (1998 – 2000) before migrating to the United States to continue it at Saint John Seminary, Camarillo, California, where he earned a graduate degree in theology with a focus in medical ethics (2007). He obtained his Ph.D. in systematic theology from Duquesne University (2013).

Dr. Aihiokhai is an associate professor of systematic theology at the University of Portland. He is the coordinator of the University’s Theology Thursday Lecture Series. He is the recipient of the University of Portland Outstanding Scholar Award for 2021. He is also a Fellow at the Westar Institute. He is member of the editorial board for the journal, Springer Nature (SN): Social Sciences. He is also the book editor for Friday Focus, a weekly book review initiative of the Pan-African Catholic Theology and Pastoral Network (PACTPAN). Dr. Aihiokhai has worked extensively with communities at the margins in Nigeria and in the United States of America. He has held academic positions at Loyola Marymount University, Valparaiso University, and Saint Leo University. As a product of multiple contexts, he is intentional at creating spaces for multiple perspectives in his research and teaching. His research focuses on religion, race, and identity constructions; African approaches to ethics; African philosophies, cultures, and theologies; religion and violence; comparative theology; themes in systematic theology; and interfaith studies.

Among his published works, include a monograph, titled, Fostering Interreligious Encounters in Pluralist Societies. Hospitality and Friendship (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019); two edited anthologies, one of which is: Religion, Women of Color, and the Suffrage Movement: The Journey to Holistic Freedom (Lexington Books, 2022).; fourteen book chapters and thirty-one peer-reviewed articles in reputable journals; forty-seven entries in nationally and internationally recognized journals and blogs. He has given over eighty scholarly papers, keynote addresses, and invited lectures at prestigious institutions and learned societies nationally and internationally on several topics ranging from social imaginations, decolonial approaches to identity constructions, sociological approaches to understanding interfaith encounters; and deconstruction of structures of marginalization, and many more.

Dr. Aihiokhai’s works have been published by Routledge, Palgrave Macmillan, Paulines Press (Africa), Oxford University Press, Cambridge Scholars Press, and several peer-reviewed national and international journals. One of his forthcoming books explores a decolonial critique of Christology and visions of the human (Palgrave Macmillan Press). Another forthcoming work offers a decolonial critique of ecclesial imaginations in the continent of Africa, with a special focus on the Catholic Church in Nigeria (Brill Press).

Dr. Aihiokhai will gladly tell you that at the heart of all that he does as a theologian is to create spaces for God’s life to be experienced by all in our world


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Duquesne University
  • Master of Arts, Saint John Seminary
  • Diploma, Spiritan School of Philosophy

Curriculum Vitae