African Women's Advocate to Speak at CSU

Joyce Mpanga, a pioneering African women's advocate and one of Uganda's first female parliament members, will speak at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12 in Columbus State University's Davidson Student Center auditorium on HIV/AIDS and the Social-Economic Issues Affecting Women in East Africa.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

In 1960, during British colonial rule in Africa, Mpanga was one of the first women appointed to represent women in the Uganda Parliament. Since Joycethen, she has been a leader for political independence, education and civil reform, and she has represented Uganda internationally.

Honorable Joyce Mpanga is a great role model, said CSU sociology professor Florence Wakoko-Studstill, co-director of the African Studies Certificate Program for the University System of Georgia. Joyces lecture will enrich our understanding of the ways in which women in this region confront the challenges of poverty and disease.

In addition to CSUs African Studies program, the lecture also is relevant to disciplines including nursing, health science, biology, psychology, sociology, history and political science, Wakoko said. I hope students will take advantage of this opportunity and turn out in large numbers to learn from such an exemplary leader.

Mpanga currently chairs Ugandas Non-Government Organizations Board. She also is a member of the Board for Evaluation of External Support for Basic Education in developing countries including Uganda, Burkina Faso, Zambia and Bolivia in South America. Also a government consultant on womens education issues, she has helped establish the Ministry of Gender and Community Development in Rwanda, and has designed projects for several womens groups in Africa.

Mpangas advocacy for women began with her 1960 appointment to parliament as she initiated legislation and policies for the advancement of women and for their inclusion in the mainstream. Shortly thereafter, she earned a graduate degree in education from Indiana University, becoming the first Ugandan woman to earn a masters degree in any field. She had earned her bachelors degree in history from London University.

She returned to Uganda and became deputy headmistress at a prestigious girls school until government unrest forced her into exile in London, where she taught in a primary school. Returning to Uganda in 1972, she taught on the university level while maintaining her political interests. From 1979-1988, she was deputy chairperson for the Public Service Commission. She served as secretary of state for women in development in 1988-89, and became secretary of state for primary education from 1989 to 1991.

She returned to Uganda parliament and served from 1996-2001, this time through a separate, womens only general election that guarantees representation by a woman from each electoral district.

The event is sponsored by CSUs African Studies Program, African Students Organization, Center for International Education and Department of Psychology and Sociology. For more information, call 706-565-3579.