Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals

2015 Recipients

André Corsino Tolentino, Cape Verde
Humphrey Fellow (1993)

Ambassador TolentinoAmbassador André Corsino Tolentino has had a notable career in the national and foreign affairs of the Republic of Cape Verde. A true statesman, he has worked in multiple capacities in the service of his country, including as Minister of Education, Member of Parliament, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Ambassador to Portugal, Spain, France, and Italy.

In the 1970s, he was a freedom fighter for the independence of Cape Verde from Portuguese colonial rule. In the first democratic government of Cape Verde, Ambassador Tolentino served as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and is considered the main architect of the country’s foreign policy. In the years following independence, he has advanced key domestic and foreign policy initiatives in strengthening and governing Cape Verde

Ambassador Tolentino came to the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs in 1993 as a Humphrey Fellow. He continues to support the Fellowship program by serving on the selection board committee at the U.S. Embassy in Cape Verde.

Ambassador Tolentino received his Ph.D. in comparative education at the University of Lisbon in 2006, where his thesis on “University and Social transformation: The Case of Cape Verde” is considered a seminal piece in the creation and development of the public University of Cape Verde. Upon completion of his Ph.D., he returned to Cape Verde and launched The West Africa Institute, an institution focused on innovative research and the development needs of the region.

Ambassador Tolentino’s continual commitment and service to Cape Verde was highlighted by Adrienne S. O’Neal, former U.S. Ambassador to Cape Verde: “I am of the opinion that few countries can boast such consistent leadership and civic responsibility over the span of its very existence, as can Cape Verde in the person of Ambassador Tolentino.”

In naming Ambassador Tolentino as a recipient of the Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals, the selection committee cited not only his accomplished senior leadership positions but also his continual commitment in fostering civic engagement, education, and capacity building in Cape Verde and the West African region.