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Memory Lane (March 16, 1962): President Ahidjo Receives Honorary Doctorate in New York

Friday 3 May 2013

At 4 P.M. President Ahidjo was the guest of Long Island University [New York] which conferred upon him the degree Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa.

Citation: Mr. President: I have the privilege of presenting to you His Excellency Ahmadou Ahidjo, President of the Federal Republic of Cameroun.

Born to the respected Fulani of northern Cameroun, he came south to study in the capital Yaounde, and here he was soon drawn into the swift political eddies of a people aspiring to independence. In 1947, when his country was yet a United Nations trust territory administered by the French, he won his first elected office, a seat in the Representative Assembly. He was then 23 years old. Sagacious beyond his years, quick-witted and persuasive in debate, he rose to become Prime Minister in 1958 and from this high office, guided his country to independence on the first day of January 1960. Elected President of the new republic at age 36, he withstood with striking courage the terrorist activities which threatened his government. In 1961, the former Southern Cameroun joined with the Republic of Cameroun to form the Federal Republic of Cameroun, a union which gave further diversity to a people whose ethnic and linguistic composition already has the most complicated in all of Africa. But with characteristic courage, and statesmanship of a high order, he has met the challenge, and to this new nation of 4,000.000 he has brought stability and direction.

In the history of man, never has there been so intense a period of epic change as his great continent has wrought in the past few years. Long Island University stands in awe of this momentous surge for self-determination and greets with respect and delight this shaper of history who honors us by his visit. I ask you Sir, to confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, as a symbol of our high regard. "By the authority vested in me, by the Board of Trustees of Long Island University, I hereby confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Law, admitting you to all the privileges, rights and responsibilities appertaining hereto, in testimony whereof I present you with this diploma signed by the authorized members of the Board of Trustees and bearing the copper seal of the University, and cause you to be vested with the hood appropriate to your degree."

Your Excellency, we would be honored if you would say a few words to us.

Source: Official visit of H.E. Ahmadou Ahidjo President of the Federal Republic of Cameroon, to the United States of America. Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Cameroun to the United Nations, May 25, 1962.

See also: Memory Lane (1964): Vice President of Cameroon Get’s St. John’s Doctorate.

See online: Memory Lane (March 16, 1962): President Ahidjo Receives Honorary Doctorate in New York