Submit this form
Home News Videos Music Photos Facebook Twitter Friends Newsletter Podcasts Mobile RSS
President Barack Obama Praises Dikembe Mutombo for Humanitarian Work

Lauren Burgoon - Georgetown University News - January 19, 2010
President Obama with Dikembe Mutombo

President Obama served as a surprise guest at the eighth annual "Let Freedom Ring!" event celebrating the life and legacy of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and honoring NBA great and philanthropist Dikembe Mutombo (I'91).

Obama entered the center's concert hall to deafening cheers and praised Mutombo for his efforts to bring health care and education to his native Democratic Republic of the Congo. Georgetown and the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts hosted the celebration.

The president said Mutombo is attacking poverty in Africa "with the same ferocity that he used to block shots in the NBA."

The philanthropist received the John Thompson Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award for embodying King's spirit and work through the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation.

"Our philosophy is to help people so they can help themselves," Mutombo said.

The humanitarian credited his father, who earned about $37 a month as a school superintendent, with instilling in him an appreciation for education.

Mutombo brought those lessons with him to Georgetown, where he found a mentor and friend in Thompson, Georgetown's former men's basketball coach between 1972 and1999.

Mutombo, who retired last year after 18 years of professional basketball, called winning an award named for Thompson the "equivalent of an NBA championship." He lauded his former head coach for pushing players to achieve beyond their expectations, especially off the basketball court.

"You never know what direction life will take you or what road you will travel," Mutombo said. "But your chances of success are certainly greater with an education than without one."

Georgetown President John J. DeGioia also commended Mutombo's work in the Congo, telling a capacity audience how the foundation's Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital and Research Center, which opened in 2007, is the country's first new medical facility in almost 40 years.

"It is a testament to Dikembe's respect for the dignity of his sisters and brothers of Kinshasa [Congo]," DeGioia said. "Dikembe embodies the values we celebrate when we gather together on this day."

Ryan Wilson (C'12) introduced the Legacy of the Dream Award, saying he felt honored to be on stage with Obama, Mutombo, Thompson and DeGioia.

"I think the event was a tremendous opportunity for the Georgetown and D.C. communities to honor such important leaders," said Wilson, who hails from King's birthplace, Atlanta. "The added appearance by the president, roughly a year after his inauguration, made for a memorable night."

In celebrating his first Martin Luther King Jr. Day in office, Obama acknowledged that the nation still struggles to fully realize King's visions. He urged Americans to draw from the civil rights leader's example of unshakeable convictions.

"Despite the bitterness of the past, despite the difficulties of the present and despite the uncertainty of the future, Dr. King held fast to his dream," Obama said.

View webcast of the event

Related articles

  1. No elections in DR Congo in December without electronic voting machines: INEC (February 13, 2018)
  2. US Warns DR Congo Against Electronic Voting for Delayed Election (February 12, 2018)
  3. DRC Seeks Arrest of Presidential Candidate Moise Katumbi (May 19, 2016)
  4. Kerry Calls on Kabila to Honor Constitution (May 4, 2014)
  5. Kerry in DR Congo for Security Talks (May 3, 2014)
  6. U.S. sending more personnel to Uganda to hunt LRA leader Joseph Kony (March 24, 2014)
  7. Bosco Ntaganda Attacked Civilians on Ethnic Grounds, ICC Prosecutor Says (February 10, 2014)
  8. New DR Congo amnesty law welcomed by UN envoys (February 5, 2014)
  9. Congo Army Takes Control of Mbuzi Hill From M23 Rebels (November 4, 2013)
  10. U.S. Sanctions Rwanda Over Use of Child Soldiers by M23 Rebels (October 4, 2013)
  11. Rwandan Support for M23 Rebels Frustrates Attempts to End Fighting in Eastern Congo (September 26, 2013)
  12. M23 Rebels Fired Shells Into Rwanda, Not Congo Army, UN Says (August 30, 2013)
  13. UN Security Council debate focuses on peace efforts for Africa's Great Lakes region (July 25, 2013)
  14. U.S. Tells Rwanda to Remove Its Military Personel From Eastern Congo (July 23, 2013)
  15. Warlord Bosco Ntaganda Turns Himself In at US Embassy in Rwanda (March 18, 2013)
  16. Obama Tells Kagame to Stop Support for M23 Rebels in Eastern Congo (December 19, 2012)
  17. U.S. Sanctions M23 Rebel Leaders (December 18, 2012)
  18. The M23 Rebels Want to Overthrow Kabila? Nonsense (November 28, 2012)
  19. DR Congo Will Not Negotiate With M23 Rebels, Government Says (November 19, 2012)
  20. U.S. Treasury Department Sanctions M23 Rebel Leader (November 13, 2012)
  21. M23 Rebels Committing War Crimes (September 11, 2012)
  22. U.S. SEC requires company disclosures on use of DR Congo minerals (August 23, 2012)
  23. Kagame May Face War Crimes Charges at the ICC, Says US Official (July 26, 2012)
  24. US Cuts Military Aid to Rwanda Over Support to Rebels in DR Congo (July 21, 2012)
  25. DR Congo, Rwanda Sign Pact to Fight Rebels in Eastern Congo (July 15, 2012)
  26. U.S. Tells Rwanda to Stop Supporting Rebels in DR Congo (July 2, 2012)
  27. U.S. and U.K. Must Tell Rwanda to Stop Supporting Rebels in DR Congo, Global Witness Says (June 29, 2012)
  28. Kagame Is A Problem for The U.S. and The U.K. (June 23, 2012)
  29. US blocking UN report on Ntaganda rebels, Human Rights Watch says (June 21, 2012)
  30. LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony target of viral campaign video (March 7, 2012)

Live TV Congo Radio en ligne Radio
Available on App Store
Get it on Google Play

Contact Us | About Us | Édition en Français | French Edition

© All rights reserved.