The First Lady, Mrs Lordina Mahama, will be awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters by the Fordham University in New York, USA, on May 16, this year.
The ceremony will precede the Fordham University’s Class of 2015 Commencement at the Rose Hill campus in Bronx, where she is billed to be the keynote speaker.
A statement from the Flagstaff House quoted the President of the University, Joseph M. McShane, as saying that, “In conferring an honorary degree upon Mrs Mahama, it is we who are honoured."
“Her work with women and children in Ghana and across Africa reminds us of persistence of kindness and the will to make a difference in the world," he said.
The statement said the First Lady was an internationally respected advocate of women empowerment and helping the poor and the marginalised and the national president of the Lordina Foundation, an NGO that works with partner companies and agencies to make healthcare more accessible in Ghana and to expand educational opportunities.
"In addition to working on behalf of the disadvantaged, she strives to advance the cause of educating women and girls as a way to improve communities worldwide," it said.
The statement said Mrs Mahama's work embraced many pressing public health and educational issues.
"The Lordina Foundation has provided medical supplies—including, in one instance, an ambulance—to hospitals and health facilities in Ghana, worked to prevent breast and cervical cancer and HIV infection in Africa, and helped to provide shelter and vocational training in northern Ghana for women accused of witchcraft who were shunned by their communities.
"The foundation also provides food, clothing and cash for seven orphanages across Ghana, and has offered scholarships to 21 Ghanaian students to study in China, with support from the Chinese Government," it said.
The statement said among her many advocacy efforts, Lordina had helped in securing the Ghanaian government’s approval of a World Bank programme to provide secondary school scholarships to 10,400 Ghanaian children—half of them girls—who come from deprived communities.
Mrs Mahama was born and educated in Ghana, earning a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management and a master’s in governance and leadership from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration.
She became First Lady of Ghana in July 2012, when her husband—then Vice-President—ascended the presidency upon the death of President John Atta Mills.
She is a first Vice-President of the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV and AIDS (OAFLA) for West Africa, and is premier ambassador of the UNAIDS Global Plan on the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission.
Last year, she was honoured with a Global Inspiration Leadership Award and inducted into the Global Women Leaders Hall of Fame at the second Africa-Middle East-Asia Women Summit in Dubai, organised by the Centre for Economic and Leadership Development and the CEO Clubs Network worldwide.
Among her other honours, she was awarded the key to the City of Newark, N.J., and given awards for her anti-cervical cancer advocacy in Namibia and Mozambique.