BOOK EDITED BY UNICAL DON WINS CHOICE OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC TITLE AWARD FOR 2015
Dr. Jonathan O. Chimakonam of the Department of Philosophy is one of the scholars leading a new wave of intellectual resurgence at the University of Calabar. The unassuming scholar who bagged a Ph.D in Mathematical Logic some years ago is today better known for his ground-breaking research and publications in the field African philosophy. One of his recent publications is Existence and Consolation: Reinventing Ontology, Gnosis and Values in African Philosophy (by Ada Agada) which he edited and published in 2015 by Paragon House, Minnesota, USA.
In a letter addressed to Dr. Chimakonam signed by the president of Paragon House publishers Gordon L. Anderson and dated December 2nd 2015, he wrote “Dear Dr. Chimakonam,
Congratulations! I’m pleased to announce that last week I received news that Choice, a magazine of the American Library Association, has named Existence and Consolation, which you served as editor, as a 2015 Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Title Award Winner!
….I am attaching a copy of the letter which I received from Mark Cummings, the Editor and Publisher of Choice”.
In that letter to Paragon House dated November 25 2015, the editor of Choice Mark Cummings wrote “Dear Mr. Anderson, One of my happiest duties as editor & publisher of Choice is announcing the publication of our annual Outstanding Academic Title list. It gives me great pleasure to report that the following Paragon House Title has been selected for inclusion in Choice’s annual OAT list which will appear in the January 2016 issue of Choice Magazine: Existence and consolation: reinventing ontology, gnosis and values in African philosophy….Outstanding Academic Titles are truly the “best of the best”. As always, only a select group of publishers and authors are represented on such a list. Congratulations to you and your colleagues on this outstanding achievement.”
The announcement of this prestigious award was eventually published in the January 2016 issue of Choice, Vol. 53, No. 4, page 691. It should be noted that this is the first time any Nigerian based scholar is winning this award. We congratulate and celebrate Dr. Chimakonam for bringing international glory to University of Calabar through his outstanding academic work.
Interestingly, various international peer reviews returned verdicts of excellence on the award winning book:
John K. Roth, an Edward J. Sexton Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Claremont Mckenna College declares that Existence and Consolation… “sheds important light on the contemporary human condition and insightfully envisions what people share and need to honor in every time and place”.
On his part, Professor Gerard Walmsley, Vice President and Head of Philosophy, St. Augustine College of South Africa describes the book as “a challenging and well-informed rereading of African philosophy to date that, combined with a fascinating retrieval and transformation of Senghor as well as with the intriguing thought of the contemporary Nigerian philosopher Asouzu, leads to an impressively comprehensive speculative account of the world and of human experience that balances a tragic sense of life with the joy of being: this is a “consolation philosophy” rooted in the African experience of the world.”
Also, Professor Bruce B. Janz of the University of Central Florida declares that “what is most exciting is that this account addresses significant elements of African life and thought, while at the same time making a robust contribution to world philosophy. It stands as a significant new contribution to the expanding literature on African forms of life and thought, and deserves a wide reading and careful thought”.
Professor Olatunji A. Oyeshile of University of Ibadan describes the book as “…a sustained critique of major currents and orientations in African philosophy thus inaugurating a new order with the universal vision of consolation. It recaptures the ontology, gnosis and values determined by the weltanschauung of the African. The message is new and clear—and the style irresistible”.
In a recently published review of the book, the Ebonyi State University based Nigerian philosopher Joseph N. Agbo describes it as “a monumental contribution to the genre of African philosophy”. And the list goes on.
There is probably nothing more that could be said to recount the intellectual quality and merit of the book. Congratulations Dr. Chimakonam for making University of Calabar proud!
Dr. Jonathan O. Chimakonam can be contacted by Email
DR. JONATHAN CHIMAKONAM WINS YET ANOTHER INTERNATIONAL AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING PHILOSOPHICAL RESEARCH
In July 2016, when philosophers from over forty countries gathered for the biennial (11th) World Congress of the International Society for Universal Dialogue (ISUD) at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, University of Warsaw, Poland, little did it occur to some that the University of Calabar scholar Dr. Jonathan Chimakonam will be one of the nine (9) philosophers (out of 169 submissions) to win the much coveted “Jens Jacobsen Research Prize Award for outstanding philosophical work” over a two year period, but that was what happened.
In a world congress attended by about 200 philosophers from across the world including ten (10) from Africa, the uncial Don dazzled like a million stars earning great accolades from colleagues. The award which came with a certificate of recognition and prize money of $1,500 adds to the growing list of international acclaim which Dr. Chimakonam of the Department of Philosophy brings to our dear University.
The award winning research titled "The Value of Philosophical Conversation in Building a Decent World: The Perspective of Post Colonial Sub-Saharan Africa" is a critical engagement with the practice of liberal democracy in the post-colonial Africa. His proposal is a thesis for three structural transformations namely: a) Internal transformation of democratic structures, b) Structural transformation of the public sphere, c) and Intellectual transformation of the people, embedded in what he calls Democratic Transformational Programme (DTP) which rides on the crest of his concepts of “creative struggle” and “conversational thinking” in which his principle of the “best possible position” could gate-keep all enlightened conversations by the post-colonial imaginary already rescued from a fixation on the pre-colonial originary.
DR Jonathan in a photo session with Board of Directors, International Society for Universal Dialogue(ISUD), University of Warsaw, Poland.
Through this transformational strategy, Dr. Chimakonam moves to disband the elitist philosophical city in a wave of what he calls intellectual deregionalisation and re-regionalisation of the philosophical village where everyone is somebody and no one is nobody. This he believes will re-centre the people in the government of the people with the eye-catching motto: “only the people can save the people”.
In this way, he explains that his theory which is on how to salvage democracy in the post-colonial Africa substitutes the private philosopher for the public philosopher; dethrones the mercurial philosopher kings and in their place, enthrones the citizen philosophers or the philosophizens for short as the new deities of the public sphere.
The work is a sublime manifestation of speculative reason: critical, creative and original above all else. Once again, we congratulate and celebrate Dr. Chimakonam for continuously bringing glory to the University of Calabar.
Lecturer in Remote Sensing & GIS & Turnitin Administrator: University of Calabar, Nigeria "For our students, Turnitin is a gauge, a meter. They use it to check if their work is something to be proud of...That gives them good joy to know that their work is of an international standard."
In 2014 the University of Calabar sought to establish a global quality standard for research work and theses, and in order to achieve this goal Lecturer Princewill began a tireless campaign to ensure that Turnitin was utilised by students on all graduate programmes, as he remarks: .
Princewill′s proactive and practical approach to training and awareness raising ensures that Turnitin is used as a starting point for wider discussions with students around academic integrity and scholarly writing conventions:
“In the discussion process, students are able to understand about proper citation. They are able to understand about paraphrasing. They are able to understand about quoting. They are able to understand things like common knowledge, intellectual property rights and all those things are brought to the fore practically... during the training session.”
Princewill has shared his experiences at international conferences outside of his native Africa and is currently exploring making the University of Calabar the first university in Nigeria to become a member of the International Center for Academic Integrity.
A Nigerian researcher is in the Netherlands on a four - week course thanks to a fellowship he found on the Research Africa Platform.
Friday Idiku, a lecturer from the University of Calabar's department of agricultural economics and extension, received US$ 5,000 dollar from the Netherlands Fellowship Programmes.
Idiku says he found his fellowship on the Research Africa platform while the University of Calabar was on a 21-day trial in 2012.
The fellowship paid for his travel costs, fees and provided subsistence funds to enable him to participate in a course on module training ad extension. The course is meant to upgrade skills for agricultural extension academics required to provide information to suit the needs of local farmers.
The Netherlands Fellowship Programme is among funding opportunities available on the Research Africa platform. The next deadline is 5 February 2013.
Dr. Ani Etokidem, a former Sub-Dean and current Head of the Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Clinical Sciences of the College of Medical Sciences, University of Calabar, has won a research grant to carry out an intervention study on maternal mortality.
Grand Challenges Canada, which is funded by the Government of Canada is dedicated to supporting bold ideas with big impact in global health. According to Grand Challenges Canada's CEO Peter Singer: "Canada's commitment to bold ideas with big impact is captured in each of these 102 peer-reviewed projects. By matching talent with opportunity, Grand Challenges Canada is contributing to saving and improving lives".
The grant was awarded for creativeness, boldness and innovativeness of Dr. Ani Etokidem's idea and approach.
The project which will take place in Biase Local Government Area of Cross River State of Nigeria, proposes to use Role Model Mothers, Pregnant Women Peer Support Groups, community- based transportation and attitudinal re-orientation and motivation of health care providers to address the three delays that cause maternal mortality.
Two members of staff from the Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies; Mr Godwin Iwuchukwu and Ms Anne Omori of Institute of Education respectively, have been named as one of the first recipients of the Association of Commonwealth University small grants for early career academics.
The awards were launched to mark the centenary of the Association, which is the oldest international association of universities in the world. They are available to early career staff at member universities who have not previously had the opportunity to travel to other Commonwealth countries as part of their professional development, and are typically used for attendance at an academic conference, or visit to a potential collaborator.
Announcing the first twenty awards, ACU Deputy Secretary-General Dr. John Kirkland said that the emphasis on early careers reflected ACU research which showed this as a critical period for academics throughout the world. 'At a time when higher education is expanding in many countries, it would be easy to deprive new staff of the individual attention that they deserve. Our awards are small, but we hope that they will have a distinctive impact'.
The University of Calabar is one of over five hundred members of the Association, spread over fifty countries. Further details of the Association's work, including details of the next round of early career awards, can be found on the ACU website at.