Chattered agricultural engineer and distinguished scholar, Professor Umezuruike Linus Opara will deliver the 2022 AUN Founder's Day Lecture. The lecture which comes up on Friday, November 25, at the library Auditorium, has the topic: Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Development: The Role of a Liberal University in the 21st Century.
The lecture is one of many events planned inside and outside the university to honor His Excellency Atiku Abubakar, GCON, the founder of the AUN and a former vice president of Nigeria. The AUN Community has traditionally celebrated the Founder's birthday with a thought-provoking lecture delivered by an internationally renowned scholar on a subject relevant to the University's core values of Development, Leadership, and Entrepreneurship.
The speaker this year is an accomplished researcher, certified food scientist, and development practitioner. Distinguished Professor at Stellenbosch University, and founding director of the Africa Institute for Postharvest Technology, Dr. Umezurike Opara is chair of the South African Research Chair Initiative (SARChI) in Postharvest Technology. He received his Ph.D. from Massey University in New Zealand and degrees in Agricultural Engineering (BEng Hons and MEng, First Class Hons) from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He also completed the Certificate in Innovation for Sustainable Development program at Harvard University's Kennedy School in 2012, in the United States.
Professor Umezurike has published over 300 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and conference papers, and graduated over 68 postgraduate students in South Africa, the Sultanate of Oman, and New Zealand. The Web of Science Group, which recognizes the "world's most prominent researchers of the past decade," designated Professor Opara as a "Highly Cited Researcher" in 2019 and 2021.
The Development scholar is also the founder of the International Journal of Postharvest Technology and Innovation and founding president of the Pan African Society for Agricultural Engineering. He served as President of the International Commission of Agricultural & Bio-systems Engineering and is currently the Executive Secretary of the International Academy of Agricultural and Bio-systems Engineering.
A paragraph from the lecture's abstract reads:
In this lecture, we highlight some key developmental challenges facing humanity, with special emphasis on Africa and Nigeria, and outline the role of universities in addressing these challenges. Drawing on decades of experience in research and education in Oceania, the Middle East, and Africa and international development practice, we showcase the role of universities in transforming agriculture and food systems for sustainable development. Challenges and opportunities for liberal universities to lead in this area through human capacity development thought leadership and entrepreneurship are outlined and discussed.
Reported by Halima Muhammad