SOAS University of London

SOAS University of London in Lagos celebrating 100 years

5 May 2017

To mark 100 years of providing research and teaching on Africa, the Director of SOAS Baroness Valerie Amos CH led a delegation to Lagos last week as part of SOAS’s international centenary celebrations.

Lagos - speakers panel

As part of the visit, SOAS hosted an event to highlight the importance of education for girls. Taking place at the Civic Center, the panel discussion on “Education of the girl child in Africa: problems and prospects”  featured  Aishah Ahmad, Chair of the Executive Council of Women in Management, Chidi Odinkalu, human rights activist and Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode, Founder of Murtala Muhammed Foundation, a human rights activist specialising in women and girls’ initiatives.

Lagos - audience

Q&A session at the event

Baroness Amos told the audience that a continued focus on the education of girls was a priority for Africa and globally to achieve the sustainable development goals.

“Educating girls at primary level through to University level has a positive impact on major challenges such as the number of mothers and children who die in childbirth. Women and girls have an essential role to play in helping to secure economic growth and development.”

Some 86 per cent of the world’s girls are currently enrolled in primary school which is a major improvement says Baroness Amos but we cannot afford to be complacent.

Lagos - Wole Soyinka speaking

Nobel Prize winning poet and playwright Wole Soyinka speaking at the event

Also present at the centenary event were Nobel Prize winner and SOAS Honorary Fellow Professor Wole Soyinka and Wellbeing Foundation Africa Founder-President and SOAS alumna and Centenary Ambassador Her Excellency Mrs Toyin Saraki.

SOAS has one of the most diverse student bodies of any university in the UK with students from over 130 countries, approximately 65% of them women.  Since SOAS opened its doors 100 years ago around 450 Nigerians have studied at the School including many high profile alumni, such as Toyin Saraki, philanthropist and the Founder/President of Wellbeing Foundation Africa; and Justices Karibi- Whyte and Mohammed Uwais.

In addition to providing a chance for SOAS alumni to connect, SOAS also launched its ‘Questions worth asking’ campaign in Africa.