In Celebration of Dr. Leo Igwe

by | August 26, 2017

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Dr. Leo Igwe has been awarded the Distinguished Services to Humanism Award by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU). We have written a number of articles together in a question and answer format.

It was a pleasant surprise to him, apparently (Brayton, 2017). I am happy to see someone well-deserving of the recognition of support in the fight for humanism, secularism, and against superstition and unreason.

He wrote something short entitled “Distinguished Services to Humanism Award: To All Humanists at Risk Worldwide,” where he shows appreciation for the support and reflects on others, “How would anyone compare my contributions to those of the likes of American Philosopher Corliss Lamont, Indian Humanists Indumati Parikh and Abe Solomon, British Humanists, David Pollock, Robbi Robson and my friend Josh Kutchinsky and past IHEU presidents Roy Brown and Sonja Eggerickx?”

He noted that the vision for humanism from the inception of IHEU was to advance the principles and values of humanism forward. The point, with which I agree, is to fight against dogmatic religion and to provide an alternative path in life, critique and community.

Dr. Igwe founded the Nigerian Humanist Movement in 1996. “I was not born a humanist. In fact, I trained to become a priest, not a humanist leader,” Igwe said, “I had no experience in organized humanism. However, I knew that there was something missing in humanism as it was then.”

Over 20 years later, there are two organizations founded and registered with the Nigerian government: The Humanist Assembly of Lagos and the Atheist Society of Nigeria. Dr. Igwe built these organizations from the ground up. A commendable act and person who has definitely earned this honor. It has contributed to humanism in across the continent.

Igwe said, “In fact, recently we have seen a wave of humanism-as-it-should-be silently sweeping across Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa.”

All of these efforts, especially those from IHEU, have helped with the development of the Freedom of Thought of Report, which I recommend if you want to know what to target in order to further secularize your country. The research is thorough and important.

I am happy Dr. Igwe was given this award as it was definitely well-earned. I look forward to his further work in the future.


Brayton, E. (2017, August 11). Leo Igwe, Distinguished Services to Humanism Award 2017. Retrieved from

Original Publication in Humanist Voices.

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