Prof. George Sefa Dei
Vigor Awards 2020 Nominee
Ghanaian-born George Sefa Dei is a renowned educator, researcher and writer who is considered by many as one of Canada’s foremost scholars on race and anti-racism studies. He is a widely sought after academic, researcher and community worker whose professional and academic work has led to many Canadian and international speaking invitations in the US, Europe and Africa.
Currently, he is Professor of Social Justice Education & Director of the Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT). Professor Dei is the 2015, 2016, 2018-19 Carnegie African Diasporan Fellow. In August of 2012, Professor Dei also received the honorary title of ‘Professor Extraordinaire’ from the Department of Inclusive Education, University of South Africa, [UNISA]. In 2017, he was elected as Fellow of Royal Society of Canada, the most prestigious award for an academic scholar.
He also received the ‘2016 Whitworth Award for Educational Research’ from the Canadian Education Association (CEA) awarded to the Canadian scholar whose research and scholarship have helped shaped Canadian national educational policy and practice. He is the 2019 Paulo Freire Democratic Project, Chapman University, US – ‘Social Justice Award’ winner. Professor Dei has thirty-five (35) books and over seventy (70) refereed journal articles to his credit. Finally, in June of 2007, Professor Dei was installed as a traditional chief in Ghana, specifically, as the Gyaasehene of the town of Asokore, Koforidua in the New Juaben Traditional Area of Ghana. His stool name is Nana Adusei Sefa Tweneboah.
Reason for Nomination & Category of Nomination
I nominate Nana, Prof. Dei, for one of the leadership positions for the purpose of the selfless impact he has made with the communities and students of African descent. I nominate him for his contribution to begin the first Afro-centric school in Toronto. I nominate him for his crucial roles in supporting both formal and informal education in the African communities, where he brings to light the significance of the African Indigeneity, culture, and spirituality as an agency for African Indigenous peoples.
He has created a space in the Western academy an opportunity for researchers to do the very important research that impacts the views of the African traditions, knowledge system, culture, values, and lessons. He role models traditional practices, and even now as a Nana, he is a carrier and emblem of communally generated and mediated knowledge which he shares with his community. Most of us will not be here without this man.
We will not have been able to stay in those educational research universities doing our graduate research work where we trouble the societal homogenous problems of racism, anti-Black racism, oppression against Indigenous peoples globally and in Canada. It is for these reasons and more that recognizing his work as a hero, yet a humble man he is, will be of encouragement to all others.