- Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika
Ambassador, Republic of Zambia, to the United States
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Ambassador Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika has long been a champion of peace and the rights of women and children. Her illustrious career includes being a teacher, lecturer, women's rights activist, politician and diplomat. She is the Ambassador of the Republic of Zambia to the United States, a position she has held since 2003. Dr. Mbikusita-Lewanika earned a Bachelor of Science degree in home economics in 1964 and a master’s degree in education in 1965 from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in elementary education from New York University.
She has been a lecturer at the Evelyn Hone College of Further Education and Mongu Teacher Training College in Zambia, and Professor of Education and Teacher Training at the University of Zambia. She worked for UNICEF as Regional Adviser for East and Southern Africa, and later as UNICEF’s Regional Adviser for West and Central Africa.
Dr. Mbikusita-Lewanika’s political career in Zambia began as a member of Parliament, where she served 10 years. From 2001 to 2002, she served as ambassador and special envoy for the Zambian president during his term as chairman of the African Union. In this capacity, she became involved in the Organization of African Unity, established to promote the unity and solidarity of African states and help the people of Africa achieve a better life.
Dr. Mbikusita-Lewanika was a founding member and later served as president of the Federation of African Women Peace Networks (FERFAP), working to promote the protection and rights of refugees; to cultivate and promote principles of democracy; to promote a culture of peace in Africa; and to participate and advocate for equal participation of women at the local, regional and national levels.
Dr. Mbikusita-Lewanika has been deeply involved in peace making, and led a peace mission to Burundi and Rwanda in 1995, the FERFAP peace missions to the Horn of Africa, and The Hague Peace Appeal in 1999.
In recognition of her exemplary public service and commitment to peace and women and children’s rights, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo are proud to confer upon Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.