Ezekwesili awarded honorary degree by University of Essex
Co-founder of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign and former VicePresident of the World Bank’s Africa Region Obiageli Ezekwesili has been awarded an honorary degree by the University of Essex.
The university said she was awarded the honorary degree for her outstanding work to achieve reform, combat corruption and promote transparency which mirrors Essex’s commitment to nurture positive change, justice and fairness.
The honorary degree was presented to her during the university`s ceremony for finance and accounting students graduating from Essex Business School.
Obiageli told those that attended the ceremony that she was inspired by the same ideals as those celebrated in the University of Essex’s motto: “Thought the harder - heart the keener.”
She said her own father had taught her that the quality of a human being depended on the quality of their thought and that “when your mind produces thoughts your heart must put them into action.”
She added: “Graduates of Essex Business School I am sure will understand that no longer does anyone care just about the extent of your skills. Ultimately it is now about your character. Good governance depends on the quality of character of the people who lead us - whether that is as leaders of government, business or society.”
Obiageli is currently Senior Advisor of the African Economic Development Policy Initiative incubated at the Open Society Foundations.
Holding a Masters in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos, and a Master of Public Administration degree from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, she began her career as a qualified chartered accountant with Deloitte and has served as Director of the Harvard-Nigeria Economic Strategy Program in Boston and Abuja.
Professor Neil Kellard, Head of the Finance Group at Essex Business School, paid tribute to Oby during his oration.
He said: “Her diligence in reform, and exposing corruption mirrors Essex’s commitment to change, justice and fairness.”
He added: “We celebrate today a woman who pushes political and ideological boundaries for education and equality. We celebrate today a woman who challenges corruption and encourages transparency.”