SU’s Ejigiri chosen to speak at African school’s Mandela celebration


Dr. Damien Ejigiri, dean of the Southern University Graduate School, has been invited to be a keynote speaker during activities next month in Kampala, Uganda to pay tribute to the late South African President Nelson Mandela.


Ejigiri is being invited by the Makerere University Business School speak at a symposium on November 10. The symposium is part of a weeklong series of activities, including a photo exhibition, videos and lectures to celebrate Mandela's life.


Makerere University, with its series of campuses, has an enrollment of 40,000 students.


"This is an incredible honor for me and Southern University," Ejigiri said. "To be asked to celebrate Nelson Mandela, the hero of a nation, there are few words to describe that."


"This invitation puts the University in a rare class of its own," Ejigiri said. "As Archbishop Desmond Tutu, 1998 Put it: "Honorable Mandela has laid a good and firm foundation it is up to all of us to make sure we build a structure that would stand the buffeting of fate" and time. This symposium is the beginning of how to build that structure that will stand the test of time and what an honor to be called to serve as a keynote speaker for this great occasion."


Southern's Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy was named in honor of the world figure when he visited the Baton Rouge campus in May of 2000. Mandela also spoke at graduation ceremonies.


Ejigiri, then head of SU's School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, participated in the events involving Mandela.  Ejigiri, a native Nigeria, said at the time that the Mandela name "epitomizes courage, endurance, guts, stubborn determination to survive overwhelming odds, fairness and, above all, forgiveness."


Mandela died in 2013 at the age of 95.  He was jailed for 27 years because of his anti-apartheid activities in South Africa. He later served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.


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