Mtangulizi Sanyika - Doctor of Humane Letters

Saturday, May 17, 2008
SNHU Communications Office

 Mtangulizi Sanyika is a development and social change scholar-activist with more than 40 years of professional experience as a planner, policy analyst, researcher, academician, trainer, social justice advocate and community organizer. He has been a part of the major American social movements of the 20th century, including the civil rights, peace, ecology/environment, black consciousness, urban development and global sustainability movements He has taught and served on the faculties of Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Massachusetts, National University, Brown University, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, the Graduate Theological Union, the Open University of Tanzania in East Africa, the University of California-Berkeley, Dillard University and SNHU. He is a 1963 graduate of Dillard in New Orleans and a 1967 graduate of Boston University.

Sanyika is nationally known for his multidisciplinary contributions to participatory development, social movements, black and multicultural studies, and liberation theology. His students have included noted public intellectuals such as Dr. Cornell West, attorney Lani Guinier, the Rev. Dr. Dwight Hopkins, Dr. Jemadari  Kamara, Imam Plenom al Amin and others.

He was a student activist with the NAACP, SNCC and CORE, and was one of the leaders of demonstrations to desegregate New Orleans. He also participated in many of the great civil rights and peace marches of that era. He was elected chair of one of the first faith-based intermediaries in the U.S. in 1967 and secured a commitment of $1 million to engage in empowerment and community development activities. Through his local and national work, he emerged as one of the “original practitioners” of the emerging discipline that eventually became known as community economic development.”

Sanyika was among the earliest advocate-practitioners to identify and situate CED within the broader social movement for justice, liberation and transformation. During the late ‘70s to early ‘80s, he was the manager of training and a senior planner at the National Economic Development and Law Center when he encountered a budding CED practitioner, Michael Swack, who he engaged as a national CED trainer. This led to exploratory conversations regarding developing a CED training credential for-low income residents. Eventually, these conversations contributed to the formation of the CED program at Southern New Hampshire University. 

Sanyika has authored more than 50 articles, policy studies, technical reports, training manuals and social critiques. He has consulted, travelled and lectured in East, West and southern Africa, Western and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Canada, the Caribbean and the South Pacific. Currently he serves as the project manager of the African American Leadership Project of New Orleans, which is an action-oriented think tank and policy center focused on the needs of Katrina displaced and  marginal citizens. He is also a professor of African world studies, global encounters and research at Dillard University.

He regards his life mission as being a global citizen of African descent who helps others to transform their world in a way that expands their possibilities of becoming more fully human.

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