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University of Alberta awards Akinwumi Adesina honorary doctorate


“You will achieve great things in life,  but always remember: humility is what will make you stand out,” African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina told the University of Alberta's graduating class of 2019.

In his convocation speech, Adesina commended the recent graduates for completing their degrees, which he said, had set them on a course of success. He cautioned that “Success is not measured by degrees earned, positions held, or titles received. Success is neither measured by how much money you make, nor is it measured by the standards of others … it is about making a difference and helping others achieve their dreams.”

Dr. Adesina delivered the speech shortly after receiving an honorary Doctor of Science degree on Tuesday from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. The award is in recognition of Dr Adesina’s global efforts to reduce poverty and increase agricultural incomes. 

He joins a distinguished list of previous beneficiaries of the award, including former Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, and other outstanding personalities in the arts, science, economics, indigenous rights and community activism.

The Bank President asked the students to lead and serve with their hearts. “It is the highway that connects who you are, and what you do, to the people you are called to serve,” he said.

“You will achieve great things in life. But always remember: humility is what will make you stand out. Not everyone knows how to manage success. The higher the altitude, the cooler it becomes. Follow same: the higher you go, the cooler your head must become,” he urged.

A scholar of African agriculture and economics with nearly three decades of experience in managing successful agricultural programs across Africa, Dr. Adesina has won several global awards including the 2017 World Food Prize and the 2019 Sunhak Prize, which he co-won. 

In 2010, he was appointed by former United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, as one of 17 world leaders to galvanize international support for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. 

Convocation Ceremony at UofA


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