AUN has named the President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, as keynote speaker at the 12th Commencement ceremony on July 10, 2021.
Dr. Margee Ensign has described Dr. Adesina as an internationally regarded and outstanding administrator and change agent, a distinguished Nigerian whose choice as Keynote Speaker underscores the University's global development perspective.
"We are so honored at AUN to have Dr. Akinwumi Adesina as our Keynote Speaker at this historic Commencement," said Dr. Ensign. "He is one of the most distinguished and well respected Nigerian public figures in the world, and I hope his speech will inspire our graduates, all of whom have received a first-class and development-oriented education, to become active players in the global economy. We eagerly look forward to receiving him and his delegation at our safe and secure campus in Yola".
AUN will be pulling off a historic first on three fronts with the graduation ceremony.
Having passed the threshold of 32 uninterrupted academic semesters, AUN's Class of 2020, whose graduation ceremony was put on hold in compliance with prevailing Covid-19 restrictions, will join the Class of 2021 in what will become the University's first double Commencement ceremony.
The ceremony will also see the graduation of AUN's first Law School class. They will be receiving their graduation certificates from a returning President, Ensign, who administered their Community Oath of Allegiance five years ago during their matriculation ceremony in 2016.
One of Nigeria's most celebrated public officers, Dr. Adesina, who served as Nigeria's Minister of Agriculture from 2011 to 2015, was first elected President of the 80-nation member African Development Bank Group on May 28, 2015. In appreciation of his work helping to improve the lives of hundreds of millions of Africans, he was unanimously re-elected for a second five-year term on August 27 2020.
Dr. Adesina graduated with a bachelor's degree in Agricultural Economics (First Class Honors) from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Nigeria, in 1981. In addition, Dr. Adesina holds a master's degree (1985) and a PhD in Agricultural Economics (1988) from Purdue University, United States of America, where he won the Outstanding PhD thesis award for that year. In addition, Dr. Adesina won the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation Social Science Fellowship in 1988, which launched his international career.
The African Development Bank Group, under Dr. Adesina's bold and visionary leadership, achieved the highest capital increase since its establishment in 1964 when on October 31 2019, shareholders from 80 member countries raised the general capital from US$93 billion to a historic US$208 billion. The African Development Bank Group responded boldly and swiftly to the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, the AfDB launched a landmark US$3 billion Covid-19 Social Bond. This was followed by a Crisis Response Facility of US$10 billion.
Dr. Akinwumi Adesina joins the distinguished international elite who have delivered Keynote Speeches at AUN's Commencement, including South Africa's global icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former European ambassador to Nigeria Dr. David Macrae, and Columbia's cabinet minister and champion of education and, Ms. Victoria Colbert.