The Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor of French, Women’s/Gender Studies and Africana Studies at the Indiana University in Indianapolis, Professor Obioma Nnaemeka, was recently awarded an honorary doctorate by UKZN.
Nnaemeka received a Doctor of Social Science degree and was recognised for her outstanding contribution to research in the areas of development, women/gender studies, human rights, and African Diaspora studies.
She addressed graduates saying UKZN has already provided them with inspiration through education, urging them to act in the face of evil and to embrace multiple perspectives by moving and gathering information. She encouraged graduates to be aware and space-sharing, which they could use to navigate a fractured world and create genuine peace.
Nnaemeka said: ‘The journey that lies ahead of you is an adventure. Don’t be too hard on yourself by seeking perfection. Rather, expand the boundaries of possibility and make the possible happen. Listen to that inner voice that makes you come alive as a member of the generation that tries again and again until it gets it right. The world needs those that try.’
Nnaemeka is currently also Director of the Women’s Studies Programme at Indiana University in the United States, President and CEO of the Jessie Obidiegwu Education Fund (a non-governmental organisation dedicated to the education of women and young girls in Africa), and serves on the Editorial/Advisory Board of several refereed scholarly journals.
She combines research and teaching with consultancy for the United Nations, the World Bank, and international governments, agencies, and academic institutions. She is also the convener of the Women in Africa and the African Diaspora international conferences.
As the founder and president of the Association of African Women Scholars, Nnaemeka has collaborated with a global network of scholars and activists committed to social transformation. In October 2013, she visited UKZN’s Howard College campus to deliver a lecture titled: African Feminism, Womanism and Negofeminism: Interconnections and Contrasts.