Nigerian Professor breaks 187-yr-old record at University of London

A Nigerian academic, Professor Abiodun Alao,
will today deliver inaugural lecture at King’s
College, University of London, making him the
first black African scholar to deliver such lecture
since the institution was established in 1829.
Alao, a professor of African Studies, was
conferred with professorial title about two years
ago alongside his Nigerian counterpart in the
institution’s African Leadership Centre, Prof.
Funmi Olonisakin, making them first black
Africans to attain professorial cadre at the
institution since its establishment.
The appointments have been confirmed in a
letter by the institution’s President and Principal,
Prof. Edward Byrne AC, justifying their elevations
based on their contributions to African peace and
security.
According to a statement obtained by Vanguard
yesterday, Alao had published several single-
authored books, well-researched journal articles
and occasional papers, among others, which
findings and recommendations “have largely
helped establish peace and boost security in
many African countries.”
In an institution that produced 12 Nobel
Laureates among its professors, the statement
said Alao had distinguished himself, citing about
100 widely recognized 100 academic articles and
encyclopedia entries he had published, all of
which were assessed to accord him professorial
title.
As an academic tradition globally, the statement
said the Nigerian academic would today deliver
his inaugural lecture, titled, “Africa: A Voice to
be Heard, Not a Problem to be Solved” at the
Edward Safra Lecture Theatre at the college’s
main campus.
The statement said the inaugural lecture, holding
at the institution’s Edward Lecture Theatre on
the Strand, “will be attended by many people
from different parts of the world, including from
the United States, Australia, Kenya, South Africa
and Nigeria.”
Aside his academic contributions, Alao joined the
long list of globally renowned academics the
institution had produced and whose research
works had produced answers to different
challenges of humanity and society since its
establishment.
The statement pointed diverse assignments Alao
had undertaken for international institution,
which include the United Nations (UN), African
Union (AU), European Union (EU), World Bank,
ECOWAS and for many individual countries in
Africa and beyond.
It added that Alao was part of the 4-person team
that undertook “a comprehensive threat
assessment for Rwanda immediately after the
1994 genocide and was on the team of academic
experts that advised former UN Secretary-
General, Kofi Annan on the civil war in Sierra
Leone.
“He also co-authored the Concept Note for the
Common Defence and Security Policy for the
Africa Union and was the co-author of the first
post-Civil War National Security Strategy
Framework for Liberia. He was a member of the
team that worked on the Development of Donor
Countries Effectiveness in Fragile States, the
statement said.
Ranking among the top 20 universities in the
world, King’s College London holds a unique
position in global scholarship, which the
statement said, was evident in the landmark
research works the institution’s professors and
alumni had conducted since its establishment
several decades ago.
Among its landmark research works, the
statement cited the research that led to the
discovery of the famous genetic testing, DNA
undertaken at the College by Prof. Maurice
Wilkins, while another retired scholar of the
institution, Prof. John Lister, developed
Antiseptic Surgery.
It cited the researches of Prof. Charles
Wheatstone, who “invented the first working
telegraphs line and Prof. James Maxwell, who
began humanity’s first steps towards a unified
theory of physics by bringing magnetism and
electricity together in a research that paved way
for radio, television, radar and mobile phones.
“The College also has among its former
Professors, Thomas Hodgkin, who discovered the
Hodgkin disease that was named after him and
John Danrell who invented the world’s first
battery,” the statement added.

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