Dr Romola Adeola is a 26-year-old Nigerian who has made history as the youngest PhD Law graduate of the Centre of Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa. She completed her doctoral thesis on the topic of “Internal Displacement in Africa: A Developmental Approach” in 2016.
Dr Adeola’s story is one of resilience, determination and excellence. She lost her father at the age of 14 and had to overcome many challenges to pursue her education. She obtained her first degree in Law from Lagos State University in Nigeria at the age of 21. She then proceeded to the University of Pretoria, where she graduated with a Master’s degree in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa in 2013. She was awarded the Kéba Mbaye Prize for the best dissertation in her class.
She enrolled for her PhD programme at the same university in 2014 and completed it in record time of two years and two months. Her research focused on the plight of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Africa, who are estimated to be over 12 million according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. She proposed a developmental approach to address the root causes and consequences of internal displacement, such as poverty, conflict, human rights violations and environmental degradation.
Dr Adeola is not only an academic, but also an advocate for human rights and social justice. She has worked as a consultant for various organisations, such as the African Union Commission, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Bank. She is currently the coordinator of the Global Engagement Network on Internal Displacement in Africa (GENIDA), a network of scholars and practitioners working on IDP issues in Africa.
Dr Adeola is an inspiration to many young Africans who aspire to achieve their dreams despite the odds. She is a role model for women and girls who face discrimination and marginalisation in their societies. She is a testament to the power of education and hard work. She deserves to be celebrated for her remarkable achievements and contributions to humanity.
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