John Paden served as Clarence Robinson Professor of International Studies at George Mason University from January 1987 until his retirement in May 2017. Upon his retirement, Professor Paden was granted Emeritus status. He received his BA in philosophy from Occidental College, his MA in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and his PhD in politics from Harvard University.
Dr. Paden was Norman Dwight Harris Professor of International Studies and director of African Studies at Northwestern University; professor of public administration at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria; and founding dean, Faculty of Social and Management Sciences, at Bayero University Kano, Nigeria.
Dr. Paden was part of the team that helped plan Nigeria’s new federal “unity” capital in Abuja. He served as an international observer during the Nigerian presidential elections of 1999, 2003, and 2007.
Dr. Paden worked closely with colleagues at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto in Nigeria, especially those at the Center for Peace Studies. In 2012, he received an honorary doctorate in humane letters from that university for his “immense contributions to the advancement of frontiers of knowledge and scholarship.”
His many Nigerian-related books include Religion and Political Culture in Kano (winner of the Herskovits Prize); Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto: Values and Leadership in Nigeria; Postelection Conflict Management in Nigeria: The Challenges of National Unity; and Muhammadu Buhari: The Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria.
Multiple donors contributed to fund an endowment in honor of Dr. Paden’s work in Nigeria. On Thursday, November 9, 2017, the University Libraries celebrated the naming of the John N. Paden Nigerian/African Collection, a dedicated space in the Arlington Campus Library which houses the 4,000 items Dr. Paden gifted to the University Libraries. The endowment will provide support for the preservation and care of this collection, as well as cover associated costs with future acquisitions of research materials about Nigeria/Africa by the Libraries. These materials will be identified as John N. Paden Nigerian/African purchases.