Bill Gates Receives Honorary Degree from Addis Ababa University
On July 24th, 2014, Bill Gates received an honorary degree from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. Speaking at AAU’s 2014 Commencement, Gates emphasized his foundation’s ongoing commitment to philanthropy on the African continent. He argued that countries wishing to develop economically and in terms of quality of life should pursue two goals: agricultural development and health.
Gates acknowledged that nutrition, public health, and investment in agricultural production are not the only factors that lead to development, but he stressed that they are financially viable and rooted in human needs. Mr. Gates commended Ethiopia on its 30-year rise out of famine and widespread extreme poverty, and cites Ethiopia’s agriculturally-led development as an example of what focusing on agriculture and health can do for a poor nation.
Gates concluded his speech with the following words:
“The rise of this continent will depend on whether leaders – here in Ethiopia and all across Africa – are open to learning from each other, and from their own people.
Whether or not that happens will depend on you – the future leaders of this country, and this continent. By focusing on basic health and agricultural productivity – and by learning from what is actually working right here – you can ensure that Africa will keep rising.”
Addis Ababa University is a close partner of UMass Boston and the Center for Governance and Sustainability. In September, the two universities will begin training their first cohort of IGERT grant scholars, set to study the complex interactions between human settlements and coastal ecosystems.
To read the full speech, click here.