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President Mwai Kibaki appointed Professor Ogot the Chancellor of Moi University on June 18 2003. Prof. Bethwel A. Ogot was born in August 3,1929 at Luanda in Nyanza province. He attended both Luanda and Arnbira Schools for his primary education. He proceeded to Maseno High School and qualified to join Makerere University College for an education diploma in Mathematics. Later, he joined St Andrews University in Scotland and on graduating returned to lecture at Makerere. While at Makerere, he enrolled for his Ph.D degree in history at London University and graduated in 1965.
Since then, he has taught at Makerere University, University of Nairobi (professor of History, Founder Director-lnstitute of African Studies, Dean Faculty of Arts and Deputy Vice-Chancellor), Kenyatta University (Professor of History, Director-lnstitute of Research and Post-graduate Studies) and Maseno University holding UNESCO chair in Higher Education. He is founder president of Historical Association of Kenya, First Director of International Louis Leakey Memorial Institute for African pre-history and former Secretary- General of East African Institute of Social and Cultural Affairs and later the Secretary-General for the Institutes’ publishing firm, the East African Publishing House (precursor to Jomo Kenyatta Foundation).
He has been a member of the executive board of UNESCO, Vice-President and in 1991, the President of the General Conference of UNESCO. He also served as President of the International Scientific Committee preparing General History of Africa (8: Vol. ) and editor ofVolume 5. He is a member of the International Commission for preparation of a History of the Scientific and Cultural Development of Mankind producing the 7-Volume ‘History of Mankind’.
Prof. Ogot has published over 30 books and numerous articles in journals and chapters in books. He acted as a consultant for BBC’s 24 programmes entided ‘The Story of Africa’ in 1991.
A former member of the defunct East African legislative Assembly, he has been chairman of several state corporations namely: Kenya Posts and Telecommunications, Kenya Railways and National Oil Corporation. He is also a recipient of many international honours including UNESCO’S Gold Medal and Averos Medal and a 2001 Distinguished AfricanistAward holder from the African Studies Association of U.S.A and Canada.
At Makerere, he won the Arts Research Prize,Archer- Sturroch prize and Madhvani prize and later scooped the Sir Henry Jones Memorial prize in Philosophy awarded at St.Andrew University, Scotland. Later, he was awarded both the Rockefeller and Nuffield Research Fellowships at London University. He is a fellow of the Kenya National Academy of Sciences, an ‘Elder of the Burning Spear’ and holds a Hon.D.Litt. of Kenyatta University.