The University of Johannesburg recently conferred on Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (UWI), the degree of Honorary Doctor of Letters at its Humanities convocation ceremony.
It was an emotionally moving ceremony of celebration as university students from Soweto and elsewhere as academics thanked Sir Hilary for his lifelong work in the advancement of global justice.
Professor Beckles was welcomed home to Africa as a son who continues to fight bravely for his people on both sides of the Atlantic.
Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, the university orator, noted, “has emerged an iconic leader of the global reparations movement, a distinguished Vice-Chancellor in the arena of strategic planning for higher education, a United Nations official for sustainable development advocacy and a world-renowned historian with honorary awards from many other universities. The combination of academic excellence, effective advocacy, and insightful administration illustrates Sir Hilary’s intellectual versatility, passion and commitment to justice, and visionary leadership.”
Sir Hilary, in response, thanked the university for its kindness and generosity and noted how proud he feels to be a graduate of such an extraordinary institution.
He informed the gathering that he accepts the honour on behalf of The UWI, which has long admired the University of Johannesburg for its intellectual leadership and pioneering research for African development.