2014 CONFERENCE KEYNOTE SPEAKER

    PROFESSOR FELIX K. EKECHI received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin, Madison (1969). He is Emeritus Distinguished Professor of History at Kent State University, and formerly Coordinator, African Studies Program. He specializes in African/Igbo studies, social and political history, including religious studies, women’s studies, and the history of missionary enterprise in Africa. He was Chair of the Kent State University Africa Initiative, charged with KSU-Africa Exchange Program.

    Professor Ekechi retired from Kent State University after 35 years of service. He is the author and/or co-editor of many books and numerous articles on various aspects of African political, social, cultural, gender and religious history; among them are, Missionary Enterprise and Rivalry in Igboland, 1857-1914 (nominated for the African Studies Association Herskovit’s Award); Tradition and Transformation in Eastern Nigeria: A Sociopolitical History of Owerri and Its Hinterland, 1902-1947; African Market Women and Economic Power (co-edited); “African Women and Politics: A Case Study of Chief (Mrs.) Margaret Ekpo of Nigeria,” “The Cassava Palaver: The Gender Problem in African Economic Development”; “African Polygamy and Western Christian Ethnocentrism”; “The Colonial Rebel: H. M. Douglas and the Nigerian Administration;” “Religion and Politics in Igboland: Past and Present”; “The Culture of Resistance to Western Imperialism among the Igbo;” “For God and Country: Portrait of Rev. M. D. Opara (of Nigeria)1905-1965,” and several other articles and books. Also, Professor Ekechi recently published the biography of a Nigerian nationalist and philanthropist, namely, Pioneer, Patriot, and Nigerian Nationalist. A Biography of the Reverend M. D. Opara, 1915-1965

    Professor Ekechi is the recipient of numerous citations and awards for distinguished scholarship and meritorious service, among them Life Achievement and Leadership Award by World Owerri Congress (WOPC); Commendations from Kent State University, Akron City Council, the Ohio House of Representatives, and several civic and cultural organizations. Part of the commendation by the Ohio State House of Representatives reads as follows:

    “On behalf of the members of the 125th General Assembly of Ohio, we are pleased to extend special recognition to DR. FELIX K. EKECHI…. You are truly deserving of high praise, for you have combined civic concern and commitment with selfless initiative to become a dynamic member of the Greater Akron/Canton community, and this prestigious honor is a fitting tribute to you for your exemplary leadership…. Your exceptional record of achievement stands as a hallmark worthy of emulation, and you have inspired countless individuals to excel in numerous areas of endeavor…. You have certainly distinguished yourself as a conscientious and hard-working Ohioan…we commend you on your personal success and salute you as one of Ohio’s finest citizens.”

    The Akron City Council Proclamation adds: “Whereas: Professor Felix K. Ekechi…has spent a lifetime in classrooms, shaping the minds of generations of students and adding to the store of knowledge about Africa and its peoples; and… Now, Therefore, Be it Proclaimed: Akron City Council honors Professor Felix K. Ekechi for his leadership and contributions he and his family have made to the African community in Northeast Ohio.”

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