On the 8th of June 2006, Archdeacon Taimalelagi Fagamalama Tuatagaloa-Leota was honoured with a Doctor of Divinity honoris causa. The ceremony took place just before the passing of the sign of Peace at the Noon Eucharist in the Episcopal Church Center.
Archdeacon Taimalelagi Fagamalama Tuatagaloa-Leota is the Anglican Observer at the United Nations. Originally from the Anglican Province of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia she was the Archdeacon for Samoa Archdeaconry for eight years before taking up the post of Anglican Observer at the United Nations in August 2001.
At the ceremony the Testimonial was read, followed by H.E. the Revd Dr. Anthony J. De Luca, Rector of Ignatius University presenting the Degree.
The Testimonial read at the Ceremony paid a tribute to Archdeacon Leota and her long-standing service for the worldwide Anglican Communion, which was recognised, valued and affirmed at the Ceremony.
A tribute to the Archdeacon Leota and her achievement
- Archdeacon Leota worked for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) for 25 years. First as a Program Officer, handling development issues in Fiji and Samoa and then later as an Operations Manager of the Samoa Field Office until early 2001 before assuming the position of the Anglican Observer a few days before September 11th.
- For eight years she was the Archdeacon for Samoa Archdeaconry in the Anglican Province of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.
- For six years a member of the Anglican Consultative Council from 1987 to 1993.
- Archdeacon Leota was elected as President of the National Council of Churches Women of Samoa after being Treasurer for the same organisation for five years.
- For nine years until June 2001, Archdeacon Leota was a member of the Board of Oversight for Saint John’s Theological College (Auckland, New Zealand)
- She also served as a trustee of the Anglican Investment Agency and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Anglican Communion Fund.
- For the last five years Archdeacon Leota has served her country and church through the Office of the Anglican Observer at the United Nations, for which the Archdeacon was awarded the Order of Samoa by her Nation and awarded the Saint Augustine’s Cross by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Archdeacon Leota will be retiring from her post as Anglican Observer at the end of this month.
As an Anglican Observer Archdeacon Leota helped motivate women of the Episcopal Church to organise Anglican Women’s Empowerment which raised funds to bring Anglican Women from around the Communion to New York to attend the United Nations Commission on the status of Women.
Also as an Anglican Observer Archdeacon Leota spoke out for the Church against taking up arms when nations wanted a war. She also spoke up for indigenous people by helping to keep the Inter Anglican Indigenous Network alive and spoke up for sustainable development through the publication of the book ‘Healing God’s Creation.’
Therefore gender issues and issues concerning the rights of children and others were some of the priorities that Archdeacon Leota saw as important and hence pursued them in response to what the Communion required of the Anglican Observer at the United Nations.
The Testimonial ended with; “You have met the image of the divine in all you have served, and so your life has been moulded by things pleasing to divinity but you have come closest to the divinity, who creates with a lavish hand, by being mother to 9 and grandmother to 29. Accordingly, Archdeacon Leota, for all these achievements, Ignatius University confers upon you the degree of Doctor of Divinity honoris causa. Congratulations Doctor Leota.”
After the Ceremony Archdeacon Leota was congratulated by colleagues from the Episcopal Church Center, the NGO Community, the Country Missions to the UN and by students of Ignatius University.