Honorary Degree Citation
C. Kenneth Ongalo-Obote. Member of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda. Lawyer. Political change agent. Philosopher. You are a champion of women’s rights whose campaign to represent rural Kalaki focused on changing women’s economic status, emphasizing the importance of educational access, especially for girls. Your campaign also called for access to health care for all Ugandans, as well as infrastructure, micro-development, and rural aid programs. You graduated from Colby with a double major in government and philosophy, earned a law degree from Boston College, and were admitted to the Massachusetts Bar. In South Africa you worked for Member of Parliament William Hofmeyr and were inspired by your close look at that country’s transition from apartheid regime to a more inclusive and democratic form of government. You returned to Uganda to a life of public service. You began with the preparation of a 1996 Uganda Law Reform Commission report on domestic relations in the country, then participated in a decade-long process that culminated in a domestic relations bill aimed at the emancipation of women. That bill is currently under parliamentary consideration. Your steadfast dedication to these and other causes have earned you the support and respect of your constituents and your fellow members of parliament. Your intelligence, energy, personal charisma, and strong leadership capabilities bode well for a long and fruitful career in service to your country and its people. Colby is proud of you.
By the authority of the Board of Trustees of Colby College, I confer upon you, C. Kenneth Ongalo-Obote, the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. The hood with which you have been invested and this diploma which I place in your hand are the visible symbols of your membership in this society of scholars, to all the rights and privileges of which I declare you eligible.
Conferred May 26, 2013
More about Kenneth Ongalo-Obote:
Kenneth Ongalo-Obote ’94 came from a village in northern Uganda, majored in philosophy and government at Colby, earned his law degree at Boston College, and received a fellowship in the late 1990s to work for South Africa’s Portfolio Committee of Justice. He returned to Uganda to help write a bill to emancipate women, considered property in Uganda. In 2001 he was sworn in as a member of the Massachusetts bar. Ongalo-Obote was elected to Uganda’s parliament in 2011 to represent his home region, Kalaki, and parliament finally took up the bill to emancipate women after he was seated. He sits on parliament’s Committee on Human Rights and its Foreign Affairs Committee.
Commencement 2013 Q&A with Kenneth Ongalo-Obote ’94
Ongalo-Obote ’94 Elected to Uganda Parliament | Alumni News, March 2011