UNESCO President Addresses Alma Graduates
ALMA, Mich., USA — Bahamian statesman and career diplomat Davidson Hepburn, president of the 35th General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), delivered the 2011 Alma College commencement address.
Hepburn, who began his professional career in the English faculty at Alma College in the 1960s, also received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the ceremony for approximately 300 graduation candidates.
Commencement took place at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 23 in the Art Smith Arena in the Hogan Centre at Alma College.
“Dr. Hepburn has had a remarkable career as a diplomat and is internationally recognised for his advocacy for small developing nations,” says Alma College President Jeff Abernathy. “He has served as an ambassador and policymaker for the Commonwealth of The Bahamas for many years and is recognised for numerous achievements.
“We are very pleased to call Dr. Hepburn a colleague and to welcome him back to Alma College,” says Abernathy.
Hepburn’s diplomatic skills are reflected in his role as both vice chairman and chairman of the UN Committee of Disarmament and in his election as president of the 35th Session of UNESCO’s General Conference by representatives of UNESCO’s 58 member states.
He has served numerous roles as a diplomat, including ambassador to the United Nations, Haiti and Cuba, and permanent secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Immigration and Employment. He also is a ruling elder of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Nassau, The Bahamas.
He has received numerous honours. He was awarded the Paul Harris Award by Rotary International, the Order of the British Empire and, in 1995, was named Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur by the French government.
Hepburn has a bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University, a master’s degree from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. in comparative language and literature from the University of Madrid.educational