Wednesday, 27 April 2016
Prof. Abiodun Alao, Nigerian breaks 187-year record at University of London
A Nigerian academic, Prof. Abiodun Alao will tomorrow deliver a professorial inaugural lecture at King’s College, University of London, making him first black African scholar to deliver such lecture since the school was established in 1829.
Alao is a professor of African Studies and was conferred with professorial title about two years ago alongside a Nigerian counterpart in the institution’s African Leadership Centre, Prof. Funmi Olonisakin, making them the first black Africans to attain professorial cadre at the institution since its establishment.
The appointments have been confirmed in a letter by the institution’s President and Principal, Prof. Edward Byrne AC, which justified their elevations at the instance of their contributions to African peace and security.
Alao, in a statement had published several single-authored books, well-researched journals, articles and occasional papers, among others, whose findings and recommendations have largely helped establish peace and boost security in many African countries.
In an institution that has produced 12 nobel laureates among its professors, the statement said Alao had distinguished himself, citing about 100 widely recognised 100 academic articles and Encyclopedia entries he had published, all of which were assessed to accord him professorial tittle.
As an academic tradition globally, the statement disclosed that the Nigerian academic would on Wednesday deliver his inaugural lecture, which is titled, “Africa: A Voice to be Heard, Not a Problem to be Solved” at the Edward Safra Lecture Theatre at the college’s main campus.
The statement said the inaugural lecture, which will hold at the institution’s Edward Lecture Theatre on the Strand, “will be attended by many people from different parts of the world, including the United States, Australia, Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria.”
Aside from his academic contributions, Alao had joined the long list of globally renowned academics the institution had produced and whose research works had produced answers to different challenges of humanity and society since its establishment.
The statement then pointed to the diverse assignments Alao had undertaken for international institution, which include the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), European Union (EU), World Bank, ECOWAS and for many individual countries in Africa and beyond.
It added that Alao was part of the four-man team that undertook “a comprehensive threat assessment for Rwanda immediately after the 1994 genocide and was on the team of academic experts that advised former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Anan on the civil war in Sierra Leone.
“He also co-authored the Concept Note for the Common Defence and Security Policy for the Africa Union and was the co-author of the first post-Civil War National Security Strategy Framework for Liberia. He was a member of the team that worked on the Development of Donor Countries Effectiveness in Fragile States,” it said.
Ranking among the top 20 university in the world, King’s College London holds a unique position in global scholarship, which the statement said, was evident in the landmark research works the institution’s professors and alumni had conducted since its establishment several decades ago.
Among its landmark research works, the statement cited the research that led to the discovery of the famous genetic testing, DNA, was undertaken at the College by Prof. Maurice Wilkins, while another retired scholar of the institution, Prof. John Lister, developed Antiseptic Surgery.
It cited the researches of Prof. Charles Wheatstone who “invented the first working telegraphs line and Prof. James Maxwell who began humanity’s first steps towards a unified theory of physics by bringing magnetism and electricity together in a research that paved way for radio, television, radar and mobile phones.
“The College also has among its former Professors, Thomas Hodgkin, who discovered the Hodgkin disease that was named after him and John Danrell who invented the world’s first battery,” the statement added.