Thursday, 5 May 2016

Chizoba Imoka: 2016 Adel S. Sedra Distinguished Graduate Award Winner - Award Ceremony Acceptance Speech & Photos

This year has been a marvellous one for me. A few months ago, it was announced that I am the 2016 winner of the Adel S. Sedra Distinguished Graduate Award

The beautiful award ceremony was held yesterday and I was so happy to share this special occasion with some of my closest friends.

Aunty Juju (Juliet) - silent fighter for justice and women's right, all time energetic Cindy,  my Massey sisters - Dina & Swathi

My Lohifa!!!!! Friend sister from high school days in Nigeria, My Baby Myles, Devon, Dina & Passionate Ronke

LOL - Because Myles needs to look at the Camera!

Such an honour to meet Prof. Sedra himself! Without this man, graduate students like myself will not have a minimum funding package. I feel so privileged to hold an award in his name!!!
Like I say in my acceptance speech video below, the story of my life is the story of my family and friends who ALWAYS come together to send me off to the world to do the things I believe in.

I have the best friends ever!! A big shout out to my friend Ada Esonwanne for buying me this dress so that I can slay at this award ceremony!!
From my incredible family members, mentors and friends who drive long distance, drop everything

Christine Karcza - One of the incredible women that rock my world - I have the privilege of also having her as mentor from my Massey family 

to be there for me to write my applications, feed me, make sure my hair style is appropriate and even buy me what to wear for my award ceremony!

I am very aware that all that I have today and my ability to walk around the University of Toronto campus feeling entitled to some respect and dignity is because of the people that have come before me and the sacrifices many people continue to make for me and people that look like me.

L-R: Prof. Adel Sedra, Me!, Prof. Meric Gertler - University of Toronto President and Tye Farrow - Director of University of Toronto Alumni Association

I am aware that over a century ago, people that had dreams and pride like me were sold off as slaves and were not allowed to eat at the dining table. I am also reminded that even till today, many Black people like myself in India, Sri Lanka, Ecuador and even in African countries are still treated like objects and animals simply because of their skin colour, perceived disability, identity or/and poverty. This is the case for other marginalized groups around the world.

Through the death, activism and courageous acts of scholarship and public service of people before me, many of us can make claims for economic/cognitive justice, equity and dignity amongst other things. Despite all the work they have done, there is still so much more that needs to be done. I have decided to focus on trying to dismantle the colonial education system we all are trapped in globally but starting from Nigeria and the broader African continent.

It is truly my hope that the awards I have received this year and the PhD program I am in serves as a vehicle for me to advance the cause for us to build a public schooling system that dismantles colonial structures in our society, disrupts social inequities, restores justice and supports the creation of a democratically transformed and equitable Africa and world.

It is my prayer that more young people in my generation also figure out what justice and equity looks like for the marginalized populations in their respective fields, so that as a collective we can act together to pass on a more just world and sustainable world to the next generation.


  1. Chichi! Its a really small world. Thats my cousin, Aunty Jules. 1st photo. Nice one Chizzy

  2. Congratulations Aunty Chi��❣

  3. Congratulation Chi... I can see many of such prestigious awards in ur names .... D key is your hard work and continuity...