The University of Cumbria has selected Funmi Iyanda, a Nigerian media guru, for a honorary fellowship.
According to the university, Iyanda, who is the first African woman to receive the award, is being recognised based on her “significant global contribution to human rights and sustainability”.
The award will be presented to her on Wednesday at a graduation ceremony in the historic Carlisle Cathedral in Cumbria, North West England.
Iyanda is a multi-award winning producer, talk show host, journalist and activist.
She is best known for independently producing and hosting Nigeria’s most popular and ground-breaking talk show, New Dawn with Funmi – a show which ran on the network of the Nigerian Television Network (NTA) for eight years.
She is a director at Creation Television, a film production company in the United Kingdom.
Iyanda is also the founder of Change-A-Life Foundation, a social service non-profit organisation that acts as a bridge between exceptional but indigent youth and women and the individuals, agencies and organisations with the capacity and willingness to meet these people’s needs.
The 44-year-old has worked closely with the University of Cumbria for a number of years, in particular with its Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS).
The World Economic Forum (WEF) honoured her as a Young Global Leader (YGL), while Forbes magazine rated her one of Africa’s most powerful and influential women.
Iyanda is also a fellow of the Aspen Institute, world global leaders’ programme.
“I am truly honoured to have my work and career recognised by such a historic institution and thankful for a great space to contribute to a diverse body of knowledge,” Iyanda said while acknowledging the award.
On his part, Jem Bendell, IFLAS founder and professor of sustainability leadership, said: “Funmi demonstrates how celebrity and media can be used to raise the level of debate about what kind of society, politics and economy we want.
“Given the gossip and squabbling in much mainstream media, it is important that our cultural leaders call us to consider what really matters in life, like poverty, equality, and the environment.
“We look forward to working further with Funmi on a range of our activities in both the UK and Africa.”
The University of Cumbria teaches leadership and sustainability to hundreds of senior executives from across Africa, through its MBA programmes with the Robert Kennedy College.
IFLAS has over 500 African MBA students.