John Paden’s book collection finds a home
November 14, 2017
By Kwaw de Graft-Johnson
On Thursday November 6, 2017, George Mason University Libraries held a dedication ceremony in honor of John Paden, Robinson Professor Emeritus of International Studies, for items he donated to the library. The collection, which Dr. Paden amassed over the course of his 30-year teaching career, comprises of around 4,000 books, periodicals, pamphlets, reports, conference proceedings, photographs, maps, and related ephemera.
John G. Zenelis, Dean of Libraries and University Librarian, in his opening statement thanked Paden for his donation to the library. Dr. S. David Wu, Provost and Executive Vice President, said that John Paden’s book collection will go a long way in making Mason an important global learning platform. In addition, the Honorable John Campbell, former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, and His Excellency Tijjanni Bande, Nigerian Ambassador to the United Nations, shared their professional and personal experiences and the positive impact that John Paden has had on them.
"I would like to think that our Nigeria/African collection can serve as a welcome mat to scholars from around the world. We live at a time of ever more rapid means of communication. But real understanding requires a deeper dive into the history and cultures of our world. We also live at a time when approximately one-quarter of all countries in the world are in Africa."
Paden, who retired from Mason earlier this year, previously served as Dean of the Faculty of Social and Management Sciences at Bayero University, as Director of African Studies at Northwestern University, and as Professor of Public Administration at Ahmadu Bello University. Outside of his academic life, he served as an international monitor with the U.S. Delegation during the 1999, 2003, and 2007 Nigerian presidential elections and was part of a team which helped plan the new Nigerian federal capital at Abuja.
"As a Mason student, the John N. Paden Collection will be very useful to Africa students and researchers with interest in Nigeria. Some of the resources in the collections are rare and cannot be found in any other library. I think that very soon scholars with interest in Nigeria and other Africa issues will be flocking to Mason to make use of the resources. Also, as a former research assistant at the Arlington campus library, four years ago, precisely on November 6, 2013, I participated in the display of books from the John Paden Collections that was viewed by a delegation from Nigeria. The delegates found some of the books on independence (African countries), culture and conflict in Nigeria useful to current scholarships. They were happy to learn about the availability of these materials at the Arlington Campus Library. Having a section of the library dedicated to the collection will create more publicity about the resources."
Ernest Ogbozor, PhD Candidate