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pioneering Nigerian feminist, civil servant, and democratic activist, was born on 17 December 1923 in Okeigbo, a small town in present-day Ondo State, Nigeria. Her full name was Felicia Folayegbe Mosunmola Idowu Akintunde-Ighodalo. Her parents were Benjamin Olojomo Akintunde, a farmer, and Sarah (Ogunkemi) Akintunde, a direct descendant of the war leader and uncrowned Ooni-elect Derin Ologbenla of the Giesi Ruling House of Ile-Ife. Fola, as she was known, was their fourth, but first surviving, child. Although her parents were early converts to the Christian Missionary Society (CMS) mission in Ondo, she grew up in a family compound whose members also included followers of traditional Yoruba religious practices and Islam. Her father encouraged her to be self-reliant and assertive even if her actions sometimes disregarded gender expectations.

Young Fola Akintunde attended the local mission school whose headmaster recognized her potential and persuaded her father to allow her to complete primary ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Nigerian educator, civil servant, and women’s rights activist, was born in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, on 17 May 1925. Her family was extremely affluent, as she was the daughter of Sir Adesiji Aderemi (1889–1890), the traditional king of the city of Ile-Ife, one of the most important sacred sites in the spiritual traditions of the Yoruba people. One of her sisters, Awujoola Adesomi Olagbaju, went on to become a schoolteacher and headmaster in her own right.

Alakija received her early education in Nigeria. She attended the Aiyetoro Primary and the Aiyetoro Central Schools in Ile-Ife from 1933 to 1937. She also studied at the Kudeti Primary boarding school in Ibadan for a time. Eventually Alakija moved to England in 1946, where she enrolled in Westfield College at the University of London. She acquired her undergraduate degree in 1950 in history and then proceeded to continue her ...

Article

Cary D. Wintz

law enforcement officer, mayor, cabinet secretary, and professor. Lee Brown is best known as a high-profile law enforcement officer who held the position of chief of police or its equivalent in four major U.S. cities, served in President Bill Clinton's cabinet as drug czar, and was the first black mayor of Houston, Texas.

Lee Patrick Brown was born in Wewoka, Oklahoma, on 4 October 1937 to Andrew and Zelma Brown, who worked as farm laborers. When Brown was five the family moved to Fowler, California, about ten miles south of Fresno. As a child Brown often joined his parents in the fields, picking crops. But he also stayed in school, and he attended Fresno State University on a football scholarship, studying sociology and criminology.

In 1960 one semester before graduation Brown left college and took a job as a patrolman with the San Jose ...

Article

Britta Behrendt

was born on 4 January 1946 and raised in Curaçao. His father Manuel Caetano do Rego had emigrated in 1938 from the Azores to Curaçao to work for the oil refinery there; he later ran his own business. Do Regos’s mother Johanita Bernadina Laker was a housewife. She had been born out of wedlock to a Curaçaoan mother of African descent and white father who was a landowner. Growing up in a typically Curaçaoan middle-class family with Portuguese influences and receiving a secondary education on the island, do Rego obtained a scholarship to study in the Netherlands, graduating from the University of Nijmegen in 1971 with a degree in human geography. He later received a master’s of business administration at Erasmus University of Rotterdam in 1991. From 1972 to 1992 do Rego worked at the Teachers Training College in Curaçao and became a member of its board of ...

Article

Katya Leney-Hall

Egyptian Nobel Laureate, diplomat, international civil servant, and scholar who served as the director general (DG) of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) between 1997 and 2009, was born in Cairo. His father was Mostafa ElBaradei, a lawyer and president of the Egyptian Bar Association, who campaigned for a free press and an independent legal system. ElBaradei studied law at the University of Cairo (1962), and completed his PhD in international law at the New York University School of Law (1974).

ElBaradei joined the Egyptian Diplomatic Service in 1964; his postings included the Egyptian Permanent Missions to the United Nations (UN) in New York and Geneva. Between 1974 and 1978 he served as a special assistant to the Egyptian foreign minister Working under another Egyptian diplomat who would later leave his mark on the UN Boutros Boutros Ghali he attended the Camp David ...

Article

Reidulf K. Molvaer

Ethiopian civil servant, politician, and author, was born in Hirna, Harerghe province, in eastern Ethiopia, the son of Tekle Hawariyat Tekle Mariyam, a prominent politician and writer, and a strict disciplinarian. In 1924 Germachew Tekle Hawariyat was sent to the Alliance Française school in the town of Dire Dawa. Two years later he was sent to the Alliance Française school in Addis Ababa, where he attended evening classes for five years. Then he went to Paris with his father, who was working at the Ethiopian embassy there. He studied theology at the Collège Stanislas and obtained a baccalauréat degree in the subject, but his main interest was French language and literature.

Germachew Tekle Hawariyat returned to Ethiopia at the end of 1935, just as hostilities between Ethiopia and Italy broke out. Italy attacked Ethiopia in 1935 and occupied the country until 1941 He went with the emperor to ...

Article

Leland Conley Barrows

Beninese jurist, historian, international civil servant, human rights activist, and chief justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Benin, was born on 15 March 1934 in the town of Zinvié, not far from Abomey, the former royal capital of the Fon Kingdom of Dahomey. Because Glélé’s intellectual talents were recognized by his Roman Catholic primary school teachers, he was enabled to complete his secondary education at the Lycée van Vollenhoven in Dakar, Senegal, where he earned the lettres classiques baccalaureate in 1955. After a year of studying law at the newly founded University of Dakar, he entered the preparatory section of the prestigious Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris in order to qualify, in 1958, for the diploma of civil administration, awarded by the National School for the Training of Overseas Administrators (the former École Coloniale). He then went on to earn the licence in law in 1960 ...

Article

Elizabeth Shostak

Theodor Michael grew up in Germany, in one of only about sixty black families living there in the early twentieth-century. His father, Theophilus Wonja Michael, had emigrated from Cameroon in the late 1800s after studying theology at Oxford University and deciding against a career as a pastor in Cameroon He settled in the German capital of Berlin and married a white German woman with whom he had four children Although black families were rare in Germany at that time Theodor Michael has stated that his early years were free from racial discrimination When the Nazi Party came to power in the 1930s however the government instituted new policies based on the assumption of Aryan racial superiority These policies deemed blacks to be intellectually inferior to whites and incapable of receiving training for any profession Nazi laws forbade Michael and other blacks from attending school His siblings managed to ...

Article

Grant Lilford

Zambian novelist, civil servant, and economist, was born in 1933, in Feira, Mkando, in Zambia, and grew up in the Roman Catholic Church. He attended Katondwe Mission School and Canisius College, Chalimbana, before qualifying as a teacher at Chalimbana Teacher’s College. He then studied economics, history, and English at the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

From 1965 Mulaisho served as permanent secretary in the office of the president of Zambia, and then occupied other government posts, including permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education. He moved into the parastatal sector, serving as chairman of the mining industry and general manager of the National Agricultural Marketing Board. From 1971 he was chairman of the Mining Development Corporation (Mindeco), the recently nationalized portion of Zambia’s copper mining industry. He later served as economics advisor to Zambia’s President Kenneth Kaunda. Mulaisho served as governor of the Bank of Zambia from 1992 ...

Article

David William Cohen

Kenyan politician, was born on 31 March 1931 in Nyahera, Kisumu District, western Kenya. The eldest child of Susan and Erastus Seda, Ouko was educated in local primary schools and became a qualified primary school teacher after attending teacher training college. Through the 1950s, he continued his studies privately and via correspondence schools, and then gained entry to Haile Selassie University, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1958. In 1962, Ouko graduated with a degree in economics, political science, and public administration, and then undertook further studies in diplomacy at Makerere University in Uganda.

In 1963 on the eve of Kenyan independence Ouko joined the colonial civil service as an assistant secretary in the office of the British governor With independence Ouko became one of Prime Minister and President Jomo Kenyatta s first appointees to a senior civil service position that of permanent secretary He played a significant ...

Article

Juan Angola Maconde

was born on 30 April 1919 in the hacienda (plantation) of Coscoma, Coripata, in the Nor Yungas Province of the department of La Paz, Bolivia. His parents were Jacinto Perez and Monica Ballivián. At age 7, like most of the children of his age in the Yungas region, Pérez began to work in agriculture (the cultivation of coca) with his parents. The hacienda of Coscoma was one of the six properties of María José Gamarra, a landowner dubbed “the king of the coca.”

In early-twentieth-century Bolivia—before the progressive agrarian land reforms of 1952 only a few children from Yungas had the good fortune of receiving an education and in general these lucky ones were the children of the landowner or of the landowner s manager Despite the discrimination labor exploitation and poverty experienced by many Afro Bolivians Germán Pérez managed to learn how to read and write in Spanish ...

Article

Richard A. Bradshaw and Juan Fandos-Rius

Central African educator, government minister, businesswoman, political prisoner, and reportedly the first African woman to run for president, was born Jeanne-Marie Ruth on 17 June 1937. She was the daughter of a French father and an African mother in Bangassou, a predominantly Nzakara region in the southeastern corner of the French colony of Ubangi-Shari (now the Central African Republic [CAR]). As a métis offspring of a French father, Jeanne Marie had privileged access to whatever French education was available in the region during the last two decades of colonial rule, which was particularly rare for Ubangian women at this time. In 1956, when she was only twenty-three years old, she became a monitor or supervisor for the educational system in the colony, which became an independent nation in 1960 This was certainly an exceptional position for a young woman to have at this time She remained active ...

Article

Curtis Jacobs

was born in Gouyage, Grenada, on 4 July 1935, the first of three children born to Lawrence Scoon, a butcher, and Camilla Cadore Scoon, a small businesswoman. He attended St. John’s Anglican Primary school from 1940 to 1947, before attending the Grenada Boys’ Secondary School, at St. George’s, Grenada’s capital, in 1947. Popular legend holds that Scoon perfected his English by listening to radio broadcasts of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

After completing his secondary education, Scoon stayed on as teacher and hostel master at the Grenada Boys’ Secondary School, completing his studies at the University of London for a bachelor’s degree. This was followed by postgraduate degrees from the University of Leeds and University of Toronto, Canada, before he returned to his alma mater. He later joined the colonial civil service, rising to the rank of cabinet secretary, the top position.

In 1970 Scoon married ...

Article

Maxim Zabolotskikh

Ethiopian intellectual, politician, civil servant, diplomat, and writer, was born in June 1884 in Seyya Debr (Shewa, Ethiopia) to a family of Christianized Oromos.

Tekle grew up in his mother’s care until he was five. At the age of six he began to study in a church school. When his elder brother Gebre Sadiq moved to Harar to become a secretary of Ras Mekonnen, Tekle (nine at this time) went with him and continued his education there. He stayed in the household of Ras Mekonnen, where he was raised with other children, among whom was also Teferi (future Emperor Haile Selassie).

When the Italians invaded Ethiopia in 1895, both Tekle and Gebre Sadiq accompanied Ras Mekonnen to the front. Gebre Sadiq was killed, and Ras Mekonnen decided to do something special for his younger brother entrusting him to a member of the Russian Red Cross mission Count ...

Article

Maxim Zabolotskikh

Ethiopian historian and civil servant, was born on 11 September 1913 in the province of Ankober to a family of clergymen. His father, uncles, and grandfather were all regents at the church of Tekle Haymanot in Guala and Tekle Tsadek was thus raised according to Christian tradition. When he was six his father took him to Addis Ababa and let Sebhat, a mentor at the church Gulalie Rufael, teach him. There Tekle Tsadek mastered the first stages of Ethiopian traditional education: he learned Geez, the ancient language of Ethiopian church, and the main aspects of divine service.

The next step for Tekle Tsadek would normally be to go to a school to learn chants and by finishing it gain the right to become a regent himself as many of his relatives were However he was more interested in the new culture brought by Europeans and started to learn French His ...

Article

Phillip A Cantrell

Rwandan author and sociologist, was born on 19 May 1959 in Byumba, Rwanda to Hutu parents. Umutesi’s father died in 1986. She attended primary school in Miyove and secondary school at the Groupe Scolaire de Byumba. Following secondary school, Umutesi studied economics at the Lycée Notre Dame de Cîteaux in Kigali and earned a bachelor’s degree from the Université Nationale du Rwanda. After working as a civil servant at the National Population Office, she earned a degree in sociology from the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium. Upon the completion of her education, Umutesi worked for several agencies in Rwanda, including the Ministry of the Interior, the African Continental Bank of Rwanda, and as the director of the Service Center for Cooperatives. When the 1994 genocide began, she was developing programs for women’s associations in Byumba.

Growing up in Rwanda Umutesi witnessed periodic episodes of violence between Hutus and Tutsis ...

Article

Adam R. Hornbuckle

was born in Fresno, California, the son of Idel McGee Williams. His father’s name is unrecorded. Randy Lavelle Williams played football and competed in the 100-yard and 220-yard dashes, 4 × 110-yard relay, long jump, and triple jump at Edison High School in Fresno. At the California Interscholastic Federation State Championships, he finished third in the long jump in 1969, second in 1970, and first in 1971. At the 1971 Golden West Invitational, Williams won the long jump in 25 feet 2½ inches (7.68 meters) and finished third in the triple jump at 49 feet 8½ inches (15.15 meters).

After graduating from Edison in 1971 Williams accepted an athletic scholarship to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles As a member of the track team he won the long jump at the Pacific Athletic Conference PAC 10 Championships the National Collegiate Athletic Association NCAA Championships ...