UCT to confer honorary degrees on Kofi Annan and Mark Shuttleworth

07 October 2002
UCT will confer honorary degrees on two exceptional individuals in December; Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Mark Shuttleworth, UCT alumnus and the first African in space.

Annan will receive an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, for his “continued remarkable contribution to the fight for human rights, the rule of law, as well as international peace and security” at a special graduation ceremony on December 9 in New York.

Shuttleworth will receive an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, honoris causa for his “ingenious entrepreneurship and his commendable contribution in promoting science and technology to the youth” on December 12 during the Commerce Faculty graduation ceremony in Jameson Hall. Vice-Chancellor Professor Njabulo Ndebele says it is fitting that the University honours Annan and Shuttleworth for their tremendous contributions in their respective fields.

“Secretary-General Annan has been a shining example of bona fide leadership. He continues to elicit the universal values of equality, tolerance and human dignity in his endeavours to bring about positive change in hostile and troubled parts of the world.

“At the recent World Summit for Sustainable Development in South Africa, he rallied international leaders with an urgent plea for action to preserve the global environment. Illustrating the pressing nature of the problems at hand, he pointed out that the very region where the meeting was being held faced the looming peril of widespread hunger. He called on heads of state and governments from across the world to take responsibility for all people, especially the poor, the vulnerable, and the oppressed, as fellow members of a single human family.”

Turning to Shuttleworth, Ndebele said the UCT alumnus had done South Africa “extremely proud”.

“He is an ingenious entrepreneur and a wonderful ambassador for the country. His current Hip2B2 roadshow endeavours to encourage young learners to embrace mathematics and science in schools, thus supporting the government's objective to uplift the development and promotion of science and technology as a tool for economic development. This is highly commendable.”

A Ghanaian, Annan is the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations. He was the first Secretary-General to have been elected from the ranks of United Nations staff, and he began his first term on January 1, 1997. On June 29, 2001, acting on a recommendation by the Security Council, the General Assembly appointed him by acclamation to a second term of office, beginning on January 1, 2002 and ending on December 31, 2006.

His and the UN's sterling work were honoured in 2001 with the Nobel Peace Prize. In conferring the Prize, the Nobel Committee said Annan had been “pre-eminent in bringing new life to the organisation”.

In April 2002, Shuttleworth became the first citizen of an African country to be launched into space and he journeyed to the International Space Station. Shuttleworth conducted several experiments during his 10-day space flight. World-class South African scientists from the Universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Port Elizabeth, in collaboration with Russian space-science experts, managed these experiments.

He recently completed his Hip2B2 roadshow that saw him visiting many South African schools. The campaign started off as part of the First African in Space Project with the aim of promoting maths and science education in South African schools, something Shuttleworth and the Hip2B2 team are passionate about.

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