Nigerian Human Rights Advocate Among Honorees at Haverford College's Commencement
Also being honored for their accomplishments in the arts, sciences and human rights will be Willie Ruff, founder of the Duke Ellington Fellowship program at Yale University; David Maybury-Lewis, award-winning anthropologist and founder and president of Cultural Survival; and David L. Bourn, Quaker and educator, and head of the Paul Cuffee Charter School in Providence, Rhode Island.
In lieu of a commencement speaker, each of the honorary degree recipients will make brief remarks, followed by the awarding of bachelor of science and bachelor of arts degrees to approximately 264 seniors. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the Alumni Fieldhouse.
Hafsat Abiola, the founder of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND) is receiving an honorary doctor of public letters. Abiola, the daughter of the late Nigerian president-elect Moshood Abiola, founded KIND to promote and raise international attention and advocacy on behalf of democracy in Nigeria.
A 1997 Harvard University graduate, Abiola's work focuses on women and youth leadership programs, conflict prevention and resolution and a recently initiated a program dedicated to assisting the free press in Nigeria. Abiola also founded the State of the World Forum's Emerging Leaders program and Global Youth Connect. She serves on the Boards of Youth Employment Summit, Educate Girls Globally, Women's Learning Partnership, and Hewlett Packard's World e-Inclusion Project and the Global Security Institute.
David Bourns, Head of the Paul Cuffee Charter School, is receiving an honorary doctor of humane letters. He headed the George School in Bucks County, Pa, for 21 years before assuming his current position at the Paul Cuffee Charter School. He previously directed the Community School and Lets Foundation Headstart School in the Covenant Community in Washington, D.C. (1964), and the Urban Affairs, Educational and Training Programs at the National Institute of Public Affairs in Washington, D.C.
He has also served on the Friends Council of Education Executive Committee, helped found the Independent Teaching Project in New York City, served on the board of directors of the Friends Service Committee, and has studied at the Interaction Institute for Social Change at Harvard University.
Musician Willie Ruff, a member of the Mitchell-Ruff Duo, educator, and founder of the Duke Ellington Fellowship at Yale is receiving an honorary degree of doctor of artistic letters. Educated at Yale School of Music, he earned both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in Music. The Mitchell-Ruff Duo introduced jazz to the former Soviet Union and China, playing and teaching at various music conservatories. Returning to Yale School of Music to teach in 1971, he established the Duke Ellington Fellows program at Yale, an organization sponsoring world-class artists to mentor and perform with scholars and young musicians.
He also constructed an acoustical model of the solar system using Johannes Kepler's astronomical data, producing a phonograph recording entitled:“Planetarium for the Ear,” and has written on jazz in China, music and dance in Russia, and is working on a book exploring the cultural life in Chicago entitled Six Roads to Chicago.
David Maybury-Lewis, Anthropology professor at Harvard University is receiving an honorary doctor of human science. His studies focus on human rights, ethnicity and indigenous peoples. Maybury-Lewis is founder and president of Cultural Survival, an organization promoting the rights and voices of indigenous people at Harvard University where he has taught since 1960. He currently directs the Program on Non-Violent Sanctions and Cultural Survival at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard, and is the former president of the American Ethnological Society. He has authored several books including“Dialectical Societies: The Ge and Bororo of Central Brazil” and“The Attraction of Opposites: Thought and Society in the Dualistic Mode.” Maybury-Lewis is also the recipient of the Grand Cross of the Order of Scientific Merit, Brazil's highest academic award, and the Anders Retzuis gold medal of the Swedish Society of Anthropology and Geography by the King of Sweden.
A reception for graduates and their families will immediately follow the commencement ceremony on Founders' Green.
For transcriptions of the honorary degree recipients' remarks, contact Pam Sheridan at 610-896-1037 or %20psherida [at] haverford.edu%20psherida [at] haverford.edu