Respected American Ivy League institution, the University of Pennsylvania recently awarded honorary degrees to a select group of distinguished personalities from around the world for high achievement in various spheres.
Among the recipients was Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance who received an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree.
US Vice President Joseph R Biden Jnr and Ursula Burns, Chairman/CEO of Xerox Corporation, the first African-American woman to head a Fortune 500 company were also among the honorees.
According to the citation read at the ceremony: "Okonjo-Iweala is responsible for managing the finances of Africa's most populous nation and one of the world's fastest growing economies. She's a former managing director of the World Bank where she had oversight responsibility for the bank's $81 billion operational portfolio in Africa, South Asia, Europe and Central Asia. She also spearheaded initiatives to assist low-income countries during the food crisis and later the financial crisis, and she chaired the raising of $49.3 billion in grants and low-interest credit for the world's poorest nations."
Also honoured at the ceremony were:
- Kwame Anthony Appiah, Princeton University professor, a widely published philosopher and cultural theorist whose work on race, identity, politics and moral philosophy has helped change our understanding of human behavior.
- Samuel H. Preston, Penn professor of sociology, is one of the world's foremost demographers. He is responsible for the "Preston curve," which is widely used to identify factors responsible for gains in life expectancy.
- Ellen Mosley-Thompson and Lonnie G. Thompson , preeminent experts on ice core analysis who have shed new light on our planet's past and its future.
- James Edward West, path-breaking electrical engineer whose co-invention of the electret microphone revolutionized the telephone and recording industries in the 20th century. It remains the dominant technology for the microphones of today.