Attahiru Jega, Chimamanda, Mabogunje, Imoukhede elected to American academy

By Maxwell Adeleye
Four Nigerians, including iconic novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and former Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, are among new members elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for the 2017 year. The other two are eminent historian, Professor Akin Mabogunje, and corporate czar, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede.

They made it to the list of 228 American and international scholars, artists, philanthropists and business leaders elected to the 237th class of the prestigious body. Members of the 2017 class include winners of the Pulitzer Prize and the Wolf Prize; MacArthur Fellows; Fields Medalists; Presidential Medal of Freedom and National Medal of Arts recipients; as well as Academy Award, Grammy Award, Emmy Award and Tony Award winners. 

The former INEC chair was elected Foreign Honorary Member in the Public Affairs and Policy section of the Academy; Chimamanda in Fiction, Poetry, Short Stories, Non-Fiction, Playwriting, Screenwriting and Translation section; Mabogunje of the University of Ibadan in History section; and Aig-Imoukhuede, President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), in the Business, Corporate and Philanthropic leadership section. It is a new feather in the studded cap of Chimamanda, who was in March elected into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
In a statement by the Academy, Chair of its Board of Directors, Don Randel, said: “It is an honor to welcome this new class of exceptional women and men as part of our distinguished membership. Their talents and expertise will enrich the life of the Academy and strengthen our capacity to spread knowledge and understanding in service to the nation.”
Academy President, Jonathan F. Fanton, stated: “In a tradition reaching back to the earliest days of our nation, the honor of election to the American Academy is also a call to service. Through our projects, publications and events, the Academy provides members with opportunities to make common cause and produce the useful knowledge for which the Academy’s 1780 charter calls.”
The Academy’s membership comprises more than 4,600 Fellows and 600 Foreign Honorary Members from diverse disciplines and professions including mathematics, the physical and biological sciences, medicine, the social sciences and humanities, business, government, public affairs, and the arts. Among its Fellows are more than 250 Nobel laureates.
Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is described as “one of the country’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers, convening leaders from the academic, business and government sectors to respond to the challenges facing the nation and the world.” Its strength lies in the intellectual leadership of its members and the wide range of expertise they bring to its studies and publications. The 40 Foreign Honorary Members elected for 2017 are drawn from 19 countries including Australia, China, India, Nigeria, Japan and Uganda.
The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on October 7, 2017, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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