The General Secretary to the Rhodes Trust for Southern Africa, Justice Edwin Cameron (South Africa-at-Large & Keble 1976), who has been described by Nelson Mandela as 'one of South Africa's new heroes', is to be honoured by the University of Oxford with the award of the degree of Doctor of Civil Law, honoris causa.
Coming to Oxford as a graduate of the University of Stellenbosch and as a Rhodes Scholar, Edwin Cameron secured a First in Jurisprudence at Keble in 1978, and, returning to Oxford after further study and law teaching back in South Africa, was awarded the Vinerian Scholarship for most outstanding performance in the BCL (Bachelor of Civil Law) in 1982.
In a career that has included legal practice, law teaching, and judicial service, Justice Cameron has served on the Constitutional Court of South Africa since 2009. He was previously a judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa.
The first senior South African official to state publicly that he was living with HIV/Aids, his publications include Witness to Aids, Defiant Desire – Gay and Lesbian Lives in South Africa, and Honoré's South African Law of Trusts. A prominent human rights lawyer during apartheid, he has worked to safeguard human rights (including the rights of gays and lesbians) in the new Constitution of South Africa. The citation for an earlier honorary degree, at King's College London, described him as 'the intellectual leader of the campaign that led to a world’s first: the inclusion of "sexual orientation" in the equality clause of a national constitution, in South Africa’s 1993 and 1996 constitutions'.
Edwin Cameron served as Assistant General Secretary for the Rhodes Scholarships in Southern Africa from 1980 to 1992, and has served since 2003 as General Secretary for Southern Africa, responsible for the administration of the Rhodes Scholarships in South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, and Swaziland.
Justice Cameron chaired the Council of the University of the Witwatersrand from 1998 to 2008. An Honorary Fellow of Keble College, Oxford, he has also been a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford (2003-04). His many international awards include an Honorary Fellowship of the Society for Advanced Legal Studies, the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights, and the Brudner Prize from Yale University.
A patron of the Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal, Justice Cameron was honoured in 2002 with a Special Award from the Bar in England and Wales for his contribution to international jurisprudence and human rights, and in 2009 was appointed as an Honorary Master of the Bench of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple.
Edwin Cameron is one of eight leading figures from the worlds of science, the arts, politics and the law who are are set to receive honorary degrees from the University of Oxford this year, subject to approval by Congregation. The degrees will be awarded at Encaenia, the University's annual honorary degree ceremony, on Wednesday 29 June 2011.
A reception to honour Justice Cameron was held in Johannesburg on Wednesday 4 May 2011.
Justice Cameron will deliver the 2012 Bram Fischer Memorial Lecture on Thursday 26 January 2012, at Rhodes House, Oxford, at 5 pm. All welcome.
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