Zambian diplomat Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika isn’t a graduate of Jackson State University, but at least two generations of her family are. On Wednesday, March 12, she was on JSU’s campus, where she’s visited many times, including while serving as Zambia’s ambassador to the United States, and later to Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the European Union.
“We have 19 degrees in our family from Jackson State,” she said. Those degrees were earned by her five brothers, two sisters and nine nieces and nephews. And, the time frame for those degrees date back to 1959.
“I’m a regular visitor,” she said after enjoying lunch with JSU President Emeritus John A. Peoples, Jr., JSU Vice President of Institutional Advancement David Hoard, Associate Professor Dr. Hilliard Lackey and LaToya Hentz, assistant director of Alumni Affairs and Constituency Relations.
“It’s an honor to have an association with Ambassador Lewanika and her family,” said Lackey, who has taught two members of the family and first met her brother in 1961 when they were both students.
“Their family is part of royalty in Zambia,” Lackey said.
Mbikusita-Lewanika is an educator and educationist, which means she teaches policy and theory to teachers.
“I did a lot of community work, teaching at the university, but also working in slum areas to promote investment in the care of children,” she said.
Her career emphasis on child welfare brought her to the attention of Zambia’s president, who appointed her an ambassador. She served as an ambassador from 2003 to 2010.
Mbikusita-Lewanika also was elected a member of the Zambian Parliament and worked with UNICEF for 10 years, covering 42 African countries.