Ursinus students met with Dikembe Mutombo who was the keynote speaker at the opening ceremonies at the Model United Nations this year in New York City. Professor Joseph Melrose, former Ambassador to the UN, takes our students every year to the Model United Nations, and teaches a course on International Organizations and Diplomacy. Ursinus is one of the longest attending Model UN college, with more than 40 years attending the program.
Motombu spoke about his journey from the Democratic Republic of Congo to the U.S. to study medicine at Georgetown University. Though his plans were to become a doctor, he was recruited to play basketball. He quickly advanced to the NBA and became one of the greatest shot blockers and defensive players of all time, winning the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award four times.
His life as an athlete took him in a new direction, but Motombu remained loyal to his native country and has committed the time and resources to build hospitals in the DRC. He also works with international NGOS, the United Nations, and is fluent in several languages. On April 13, 2011, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health awarded Dikembe Mutombo the Goodermote Humanitarian Award “for his efforts to reduce polio globally as well as his work improving the health of neglected and underserved populations in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
“The experience of hearing him speak about his life and humanitarian work has encouraged us to take on some initiatives to help better understand the world and make it a better, more peaceful place,” says Jessica McIlhenny 2011.