Vancouver provost delivers keynote at Africa Awareness Week conference

Previewing the Africa Awareness Week conference, Vancouver Campus Provost Cecil Abrahams discusses "transformative leadership" in this video.

Cecil Abrahams, Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Vancouver Campus provost, just served as the keynote speaker at Africa Awareness Week, hosted at University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology in Canada.

He recounts the event and experience in his own words:

“The event was held in one of Vancouver and British Columbia’s stunning museums. The Museum of Anthropology is regarded as a masterpiece with a strong interest in First Nations or Native art. The opening ceremony was packed with those attending the Africa Awareness Week conference, which is sponsored by UBC’s African Studies Department and the African Awareness Initiative, a student-led organization.

The theme of the conference is ‘Transformative Leadership’ and my address referred to a major African leader, the late President Nelson Mandela, who based his leadership on transforming South Africa from an oppressed apartheid state to a modern democracy free of racism.

Using my own experiences in South Africa, I demonstrated how I played a role in transforming South Africa’s education system. I talked about the Mandela government’s reconstruction and development policy, which engaged every South African and all walks of life in transforming South Africa to a modern, non-racial, prosperous, democratic country.

I urged the young students from Africa in the audience not to despair at the many failed things that are happening on the continent, but rather to put their tremendous talents to work to transform Africa into a modern, prosperous, democratic and just society. My message was received very well.”

Africa Awareness Week runs January 12-16, 2015.