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Selected Speeches Of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I



PRESIDENT TUBMAN RECEIVES HONORARY DEGREE


In this University, which We founded as the first in Our country a year and a half ago, it gives Us great pleasure to confer the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws upon His Excellency Mr. Tubman, the leader of a country which has for long been a torch of freedom to the lands of West Africa. It gives Us special pleasure that His Excellency is the first African leader to receive an honorary degree from this University.

In as much as His Excellency President Tubman is the founder and creator of the new Liberia, he is to be considered a great leader who has expanded the utmost effort to put his country on a firm basis in regard to education, public health, and economic prosperity—in sum, to assure for his country healthy growth and unity. From the time when he was first chosen to be the leader of his country—a circumstance that has been repeated time and again—he has laboured as the leader of his country for nineteen years. This may be regarded as the primary proof of the affection which he has inspired among his people. The greatness of a leader may be estimated in the first instance by the improvement of his country—his contribution to the prosperity of his own people—and, furthermore, to that of neighbouring lands. More generally, it is shown through the sacrifices he performs and exhibits in order to maintain the welfare of mankind and to preserve the peace of the world. And, in these respects, President Tubman is a champion of freedom who has done everything it is within his power to do.

His leadership of a Liberia which has long maintained her independence, the unity and progress he has secured for her people, and the efforts made on his part to enable those Africans who have in their own lands perforce suffered oppression at alien hands, to put on the garments of freedom and gain their independence*—because of all these achievements it is Our hope that the conferring upon His Excellency of an honorary degree at this University may be an inspiration to African students who will go forth by the thousands as true supporters both of their own countries and of a united Africa, whose future leaders they may become.

Education is the key to a nation’s progress, and We Africans must bear that in mind. We are now to be found expending our utmost energies and resources upon education. Ethiopia, on her part, recognizing the proven value of education, has awarded scholarships to African students so that they may come here for their studies. Some of the Africans who came here earlier on this basis completed their studies and graduated at our various colleges, and have returned to their respective countries, where they are now to be found giving their services. Besides the advantage which this procedure affords through the services they render to their own individual countries, We are confident that it will provide firm bridges to assist the endeavours of the leaders who are presently labouring in the cause of African unity.

As a token of the exceptional services rendered by Your Excellency to your country and to the whole of Africa, it gives Us great pleasure to confer upon you the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.

May 16, 1963.

* The published text here read "perforce put on the garments of freedom and suffered oppression at alien hands to gain their independence". This has been edited to reflect the probable sequence of words delivered by the Emperor. - Ed.


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Electronic edition created and published online by members of the
Emperor Haile Sellassie First Theocracy Reign
Order of the Nyahbinghi

March 1, 2017