Saturday, April 11, 2015

Ex-Prez Chissano, Four Others Receive Honorary Doctorate Degrees From UDS

H.E. Joaquim Alberto Chissano

The University for Development Studies (UDS) has conferred an honorary doctorate degree (Honoris  Causa; Doctor of Letters Category) on the former President of Mozambique and Mo Ibrahim Prize winner Joaquim Alberto Chissano at a special congregation held in Tamale.

The Governing Council and the Academic Board of the UDS also conferred the degree on four other personalities who helped in the establishment and management of the University in one way or the other some 23 years ago.

They include: Professor Raymond Bagulo Bening, founding Vice-Chancellor of the UDS; Naa Professor Abubakari Al-Hassan, former Council Member of the UDS; Professor Emeritus Ebenezer Laing; and Dr. Ahmed Hakeem Wemah, former Council Chairman of the UDS.

Besides, 116 postgraduate students who successfully completed their academic programme and defended their dissertation also graduated with degrees in Master of Arts, Master Science, Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy from the UDS Graduate School. 

The conferring of the degree on Mr. Chissano in particular, was preceded by a three-day lecture that began on Thursday April 9, 2015 and climaxed on Saturday April 11, 2015 with the last of the three part lecture series. 

Mr. Chissano arrived in Tamale last Wednesday to deliver various lectures at this year’s African Leadership Lecture programme. The lecture was the third edition organised annually to seek the perspectives of former African Heads of State on governance, leadership and development. Previous former African Heads of State who delivered similar lectures were Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings of the Republic of Ghana in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

The lectures were on: (i) The evolution of the strong visionary leadership of the frontline states and its contribution to the liberation struggle in Southern Africa; (ii) Reflection on leadership, good governance and development in Africa; and (iii) leadership and conflict resolution in Africa. 

It is the conviction of the UDS that African leaders have the opportunity and the resources to transform the continent by pursuing prudent scientific and development policies as well as nurturing indigenous talents.

The University also holds the view that, African leaders can transform their individual nations and the continent by recognizing and harnessing the contributions of experts and individuals inside and outside their national universities.

It believes that, in Africa’s quest to achieve internal integration and become a key player in global affairs, there is the need for deep reflection on the sort of leaders the continent requires. The continent, it indicates, requires innovative leaders and thinkers who will drive its development and growth. 

The African Leadership Lectures is therefore a platform to subject the issues of leadership and development in Africa to the required critical thought. The lectures intends to contribute to a national and transnational discourse on productive leadership culture that will support and enhance African development; facilitate and create an environment for a discourse and action on leadership; create a forum to inspire positive and innovative leadership initiatives as well as stimulate and initiate a platform for an action on constructive leadership in Ghana and Africa.

President John Dramani Mahama commended management of the UDS for their sustained effort towards organising the African Leadership Lectures annually, and encouraged the University to endeavour to document all the lecturers for future generation to learn and imbibe in them good leadership qualities.

In a speech read for him by Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Alhaji Collins Dauda, President Mahama said he was also aware of efforts by the University management to establish a Centre for Energy to find solution to the numerous energy problems that had bedevilled the country.

To Mr. Chissano, he commended him for his outstanding achievements over the years saying, “the award given to you by the UDS further challenges you to do more in the coming years”.  

Prez John Mahama
Since leaving the presidency Mr. Chissano has assumed the role of elder statesman and campaigned for peace through his work as an envoy and peace negotiator for the United Nations. 

On December 4, 2006, the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Mr. Chissano Special Envoy of the Secretary-General to Northern Uganda and South Sudan to resolve the conflict with the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). 

In 2007, he was awarded the inaugural US$5million Prize for Achievement in African Leadership by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. He received the Prize for his achievements in bringing peace, reconciliation, stable democracy and economic progress to his country following the 16-year civil war which lasted until 1992. The Prize also recognised the major contributions he made outside his country’s borders.

According to the award's judges "Mr Chissano's decision not to seek a third presidential term reinforced Mozambique's democratic maturity and demonstrated that institutions and the democratic process were more important than the person".

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