The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) Calgary, Canada conferred on the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum, the title of “Honorary Fellow” at an award ceremony during the 10th Pan-Commonwealth Forum with the theme “Innovations for Educational Resilience” which is taking place in Calgary, Canada from 14th to 16th September, 2022.
In a letter signed by the President and Chief Executive Officer of Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Professor Asha S. Kanwar, the award is in recognition of Amb. Katagum’s past contributions to the Commonwealth of Learning, which helped in raising the visibility and profile of COL on the global stage; her focus on inclusion and social development which is an inspiration to many across the Commonwealth as well as in appreciation of her humble contributions to education, not just in Nigeria but at the international level.
Amb. Katagum who is the first female Nigerian to be honoured with the title of Honorary Fellow of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) served as a Member, representing Nigeria on the Board of Governors of the Commonwealth of Learning from 2010 – 2019 in her capacity as Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Nigeria to UNESCO, Paris, France and within that period, she served as Deputy Chairman of the Board of Governors from 2014 – 2019.
Other notable past Nigerian awardees include, the late Alhaji Hafiz S. Wali (2001-2002); Professor Michael Omolewa (2005-2006); Professor Olugbemiro Jegede (2011 -2013); and Professor Abdalla Adamu (2017-2019).
The title “Honorary Fellow of the Commonwealth of Learning” recognizes outstanding contributions of an individual to distance education in areas such as leadership and service, published works including courseware, lectures and presentations and mentorship. Consideration is typically limited to citizens of Commonwealth countries of which Nigeria is a Member, and the title is conferred for life. COL names the Honorary Fellows during the Pan-Commonwealth Forum and does not seek nominations for the award.
The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) is hosted by the government of Canada with headquarters in Burnaby, British Columbia. It is the world’s only intergovernmental organization solely concerned with the promotion and development of distance education and open learning and was established in the year 1987 by Commonwealth Heads of Government to create and widen access to opportunities for learning, making use of the potential offered by distance education and by the application of communication technologies to education.