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Prof Amii Omara-Otunnu (US/Uganda)

The Order of the Companions of O.R. Tambo in

Prof Amii Omara-Otunnu (US/Uganda) Awarded for:
His excellent contribution to the global fight for democracy and social justice. He has been a reliable, tried and tested friend of South Africa. He is well-known for his efforts to build international partnerships between our academic institutions and those in other countries.
Prof Amii Omara-Otunnu was educated at Makerere University, Uganda and earned a Bachelor of Arts (BA) Honours (cum laude) degree in Social Studies from Harvard University, a Master of Science in Political Science from the London School of Economics, and a BA (Honours) degree in Jurisprudence (Law) and a Doctor of Philosophy in History from the University of Oxford.

Omara-Otunnu is a committed advocate of Pan-African solidarity and a long-time activist in the anti-apartheid movement. In 1999 he initiated and played a key leadership role in negotiating with the African National Congress (ANC) to establish a partnership between the oldest liberation movement in Africa and the University of Connecticut (UConn).

Following the agreement between the two institutions, he served as Executive Director of the UConn-ANC Partnership, which consisted of three projects: comparative human rights, oral history and archives.

He received generous funding from the Mellon Foundation to carry out the various projects under the UConn-ANC Partnership. He also led the UConn-University of Fort Hare (South Africa) international linkage, as its director.

The linkage, whose main objective was reciprocal capacity-building at the two institutions, was funded by a Tertiary Education Linkages Project grant from the United Negro College Fund. Under the Partnership, 10 South Africans were awarded scholarships to study at UConn.

He has been involved in movements for democracy, human rights and social justice in pre- and postapartheid South Africa and other countries around the world. He held a wide range of key leadership positions as both an undergraduate and a graduate student.

He has been invited by the United Nations (UN) Security Council to discuss approaches to international security through regional organisations.

In 1984, he was a member of a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization delegation of experts to Beijing, China, for a conference aimed at identifying ways to eliminate racism and its impact worldwide.

In 1995, he was one of five international scholars selected to work on a project with the International Peace Institute in Oslo, Norway, on the issue of armed conflict and democratisation in Africa. Omara-Otunnu is a member of the Connecticut Governor’s Board on Trade with Africa, and has been consulted by the US Department of State.

He engages these causes as a scholar and an advocate, by shaping policy and building structures and alliances through which to effect positive change in society. Omara-Otunnu has received international recognition, including an entry into the 2001 edition of Marquis Who’s Who in the World.

His academic interests span the areas of jurisprudence and constitutional and administrative law, civil-military relations, Pan Africanism and leadership in Africa.

He places a special focus on the interplay of politics, the military and human rights in Sub-Saharan Africa, and has received research support from the Ford Foundation, Harvard University, and the Society for the Protection of Science and Learning.