April 30, 2012
South Africa honors Professor Robinson
Randall Robinson, distinguished scholar in residence at Penn State Law and Penn State School of International Affairs, was among the 31 heroes of the anti-apartheid movement honored at a Freedom Day ceremony on April 27. The day marked the 18th anniversary of South Africa's first all-race vote. Professor Robinson, who is also an author and a human rights activist, was one of only three foreigners honored for fighting apartheid, along with Senator Edward Kennedy who will receive the award posthumously and Russian academic Apollon B. Davidson.
Professor Robinson founded TransAfrica which pushed successfully for the imposition of U.S. sanctions against South Africa and was instrumental in ending apartheid. TransAfrica continues to seek to influence U.S. foreign policy towards Africa and the Caribbean.
In announcing the awards South African President Jacob Zuma said that the honorees are "men and women who have attuned their skills and knowledge so as to ameliorate human suffering and benefit humankind, often at the expense of deserved emoluments for their efforts. "We are eternally grateful for their lives and sacrifices they made to ensure that the people of South Africa are free."
Professor Robinson teaches International Human Rights and is the host and creator of World on Trial, an educational television and interactive web series which brings together the best legal talent in the world to argue both sides of sharply contested human rights issues before live juries from universities worldwide. He will attend the ceremony in Pretoria.
"Randall Robinson is one of the most revered humanitarians and human rights advocates of our time. His tireless work in founding and giving life and success to TransAfrica and The Free South Africa Movement foresaw and helped achieve the economic development and racial and social justice taking hold in throughout Africa today," said Penn State Law Dean Philip McConnaughay. "Penn State is proud for Randall Robinson's presence on our faculty, and we join South Africa and the rest of the world in recognizing and honoring Randall's achievements."