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During the ceremony, Oglethorpe University bestowed the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters on Derreck Kayongo, chief executive officer of The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, who addressed the graduating class.
Mr. Kayongo was named CEO of The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Inc. in December 2015. He and his family fled a civil war in Uganda and settled in Kenya as refugees. He then found his way to the U.S. where he became a successful entrepreneur as the founder of the Global Soap Project, a program which takes partially used soap from hotels, recycles them into new bars of soap, and redistributes the new bars to vulnerable populations around the world. Mr. Kayongo has won several awards including CNN’s Top Ten Heroes award in 2011 and the prestigious MAXX entrepreneurship award. His highest accolades include receiving the Certificate of Congressional Recognition by Congressman John Lewis and accolades from Noble Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu for his work with Global Soap. Prior to founding the Global Soap Project, Mr. Kayongo worked for the American Friends Service Committee as Program Director of the South African Peace Education program until he joined Amnesty International as Regional Director. He continued his humanitarian and human rights work at CARE International where he served as Regional Field Coordinator for the South East Region in the policy unit. Mr. Kayongo has been featured as a TEDx speaker and at several corporate and university forums. He recently coauthored “The Roadmap to Success,” with Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. Ken Blanchard. Mr. Kayongo has also been a guest on several news programs including CNN’s Amanpour and BBC’s Focus on Africa. Currently he’s at work on a new book, scheduled to be released in 2016, that focuses on how he found his calling in life as a former refugee. Mr. Kayongo is a graduate of the prestigious Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.