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Monday, 24 April 2017

Nigeria’s Okechukwu Effoduh To Deliver Keynote Address At The University Of Oxford

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Renowned broadcaster, lawyer and human rights defender, Jake Okechukwu Effoduh has been selected to deliver the Keynote Address at the University of Oxford’s Human Welfare Conference Scheduled to hold in May 2017 at the Green Templeton College of the University.

The Human Welfare Conference is an annual meeting that explores new and comprehensive ways to tackle issues of human welfare across the world. 

This is the tenth edition of the conference, and the theme for this year is “Reinventing Empowerment.” Effoduh works at the heart of reinventing empowerment in one of the world’s most youthful, fast growing and diverse regions and he will be speaking on “Reinventing Empowerment in the 21st Century.” The conference seeks to engage experts and participants from across the world, comprising of people in the academe, media, government, private sector, civil society and several
professional disciplines. 

Speaking to the media on Friday, Effoduh talked about the momentousness of this year’s conference: “We are a generation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution yet we witness a decline in human welfare globally. This paradox is deflecting the legitimacy of our individual and collective struggles, so there is no better time than now to realign our notion of empowerment.”

Commenting about his selection to deliver the keynote address, Effoduh said: “It is my honour and privilege to be selected as the keynote speaker this year. I hope to use the platform to share my story, and my perspective on empowerment in today’s world. The Human Welfare Conference is a powerful meeting and the University of Oxford is a powerful place to be in. I am most obliged.” 

From 2006-2013, Effoduh co-hosted Flava, the most popular radio programme in Nigeria at the time, which was syndicated to 103 stations and reached over 25 million weekly listeners. The show aimed squarely at raising sexual and reproductive health awareness and preventing the spread of HIV. For it, Effoduh travelled extensively around Nigeria engaging with youth and challenging stigma. In 2013, Effoduh moved to host Talk Your Own: Make Naija Better, a weekly BBC Media Action radio programme covering governance issues, which is syndicated across 150 stations. The show features interviews and discussions, and invites audience participation to improve awareness on governance. Focusing on topics around education, electricity, water and roads, Talk Your Own explores ways people can participate in governance decisions that affect their lives, including through engagement with leaders and government institutions, public petitions and legal protest. Thus, a broadcasting career which begun as youth seeking to fund himself through school, has become a means for Effoduh to contribute to grass-roots empowerment across an entire region. 

Meanwhile, Effoduh graduated from the University of Abuja with honours in 2010 and was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in 2012. He also graduated from the University of Oxford Masters in International Human Rights Law programme in 2016, and is now engaged in anti-corruption work as Legal Officer at a think-tank advising on the prosecution of corruption charges and criminal justice law reform in Nigeria. He is an Assistant Director and a Fellow of the Council on African Security and Development; and founder of the Lawyers League for Minorities in Nigeria, an NGO of human rights lawyers that provide pro bono legal services to Nigerians who suffer discrimination and abuse based on their minority status.

 His human rights legal work includes defending workers’ rights, promoting socioeconomic rights, advocating for those persecuted because of their sexual orientation, and promoting the legal protection of sex workers as a strategy for HIV intervention. In addition, Effoduh has worked to assist indigent people diagnosed with sickle cell anemia to access better healthcare. Particularly, he served as the Vice President of the Sickle Cell Aid Foundation from 2010 to 2013 and worked in commencing the Know Your Genotype campaign in 2012 to support the foundation’s free genotype testing for Nigerians. 

Effoduh’s many awards include: International Law Research Scholar, Centre for International Governance Innovation, Canada (2017); Distinguished Hubert Humphrey Leadership Award, U.S. Department of State (2016); Distinguished Dutch Visitors Award, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands (2016); African Broadcaster of the Year (2016); Africa Youth Choice Award for Human Rights and Advocacy (2015); Ambassador, National Deaf Women Association of Nigeria (2015); Future Awards Prize for Best in Community Activism in Africa (2014); and Best Community Journalist, Nigeria Radio Awards (2012). In 2015, Ventureburn.com listed Effoduh as one of 50 Africans who would transform the continent.

For more information about the Human Welfare Conference or Green Templeton College visit: http://hwc.gtc.ox.ac.uk and feel free to join the conference conversation on Twitter with #HWC2017.

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