Anti-Apartheid Activist to Receive Honorary Doctorate

Ivor Jenkins

CHICAGO, IL (April 25, 2008) – Ivor H. Jenkins of Pretoria, South Africa, will receive an honorary doctorate from North Park University at its invitation-only commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 10, 2008, in Chicago. He is being honored for years of anti-apartheid activism and — since the end of the apartheid era — for his efforts in justice, reconciliation, and democracy-building within and far beyond the borders of South Africa.

North Park invites the public to a presentation by Dr. Jenkins that same day at 7:30 p.m. in Anderson Chapel on the University's campus. Yusuf Omar, South African Consul General, will be on hand together with many of the North Park alumni who took the South Africa course and study tour. The leader of the North Park program, Professor of Psychology Haddon Klingberg Jr. will introduce Ivor and Karin Jenkins.

During the apartheid years, Jenkins was deemed an enemy by the regime in power. He was harassed and threatened by government forces, and 13 shots were fired into the Jenkins home in Pretoria under official orders. Through the nation's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Jenkins participated in reconciliation with the attackers on his home; in due course he accompanied them to safety out of the country as part of the witness protection program.

Jenkins is director of the Idasa Kutlwanong Democracy Centre, Pretoria, promoting and facilitating democracy, reconciliation, peace, and human rights at home and abroad. Recently Jenkins has been involved directly in programs and projects in many provinces of South Africa, in Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Kenya, Nigeria, Spain, Sri Lanka, Germany, Portugal, the United States, the Congo, etc.

Jenkins has been the key person on the ground for eight study tours by North Park students starting in 1991. The first tour was on the threshold of South Africa's historic and peaceful transition to a non-racial democracy, when Nelson Mandela emerged from his life-sentence as a "traitor" to become the president of the Republic. Jenkins opened doors for North Park to everything from Parliament, churches, and schools, to the Robben Island prison, squatter camps, and the former black townships. North Parkers sat in on sessions of the TRC and met with high-level leaders from coast to coast and on all sides of the issues that divided South Africans en route to the nation’s transformation. Jenkins also facilitated the recruitment of several South African students of color who received from North Park full four-year scholarships and completed their university degrees on the Chicago campus. A reunion dinner for tour alumni will take place also on May 10.

This event is co-sponsored by the North Park Black Student Association, Center for Africana Studies, Center for Justice Ministries, and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. The University is located at 3225 West Foster Avenue at the corner of Kedzie, in Chicago.