University of the Free State leader delivers Mandela Lecture

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. -- The Africana Research Center’s (ARC) 10th annual Nelson Mandela Lecture was delivered on March 4 by Jonathan Jansen, vice-chancellor and rector of the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

As one of South Africa’s leading intellectual experts, Jansen is not only an honorary professor of education at the University of the Witwatersrand and Visiting Fellow at the National Research Foundation but also president of the South African Institute of Race Relations. In addition, he serves as an independent non-executive director for Advtech Limited and is the chairman at the School Evaluation and Teacher Appraisal.

The annual lecture is named after the civil rights activist who not only changed the sociopolitical structure of South Africa but also challenged the world to have a conscience in addressing human rights and is aimed at recognizing and introducing the Penn State community to the scholarship of an African civil rights activist. During his two-day visit to Penn State, Jansen was well received. He had a packed schedule that included meetings with Rodney Erickson, University president; Nicholas Jones, executive vice president and provost; Rob Crane, professor of geography and director of Alliance for Education, Science, Engineering and Development in Africa (AESEDA); Kidane Mengisteab, director of the African Studies Program and professor of African studies and political science; Elisha Clark, professor and head of dance; Aquila Kikora, professor of dance; Collins Airhihenbuwa, head of biobehavioral health; Rosemary Jolly, Weiss Chair in the Humanities and professor of comparative literature, English and African studies; Gabeba Baderoon, assistant professor of women’s studies, African-American studies and comparative literature; Grace Hampton, senior faculty mentor; Tony Leach, professor of music and director of the Essence of Joy choirs; William Barker, professor of law; and Beverly Lindsay, professor of higher education and international policy studies, ESP fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and senior scientist.

The evening commenced with a welcome by ARC Director Lovalerie King, professor and acting head of African-American studies, followed by an introduction given by Charles Dumas, professor of Penn State’s School of Theatre, visiting professor of UFS, professional actor, director, writer and the most recent recipient of the Martin Luther King Humanitarian Service award. Jansen’s inspirationally motivated talk was titled “'Will Nelson Mandela Rise on the Third Day?' The Meaning of a Leader for Social and Educational Transformation", and is available for viewing online at

Photos of the lecture can also be found at and on the Africana Research Center’s Facebook page at

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Last Updated March 07, 2014