Millsaps presents top alumni awards


Special to the Advocate


Millsaps College presented Mia Aurbakken Adjali with the 2008 Alumna of the Year Award in recognition of her work acting as a voice for people around the world to the United Nations.


An international advocate for women, human rights and countless other causes throughout her career, Adjali has traveled the world, leading UN delegations and organizing and leading workshops and seminars on critical issues.


The award was presented at the annual College Awards and Recognition Dinner on March 29 in the Lindsey Suite on campus. Livesay Award recipients were also announced and included the late Martha C. "Twick" Morrison, Ann and Bruce Bartling and Polly and Joe Bailey.


Adjali, born in Algeria to United Methodist missionary parents from Norway, is a 1960 graduate of Millsaps College. It was at Millsaps, during a 1959 Methodist Student Christian Citizenship Seminar at the U.N. and Washington, D.C., that Adjali decided to pursue a career in international relations. 


"This award is a reminder of all that I learned while a student at Millsaps," Adjali said. "My professional career was deeply influenced by the courses, professors, leaders and experiences I had at Millsaps. To be recognized for my contributions to the church and community is a tribute to Millsaps which has inspired many students to work in church ministries or service organizations."


Adjali is currently vice president of the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women, where she is responsible for supporting the organization's relationship with the United Nations and other ecumenical entities. Prior to her retirement in 2006, she was the non-governmental representative to the United Nations for the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church, the executive secretary for global concerns for the Women's Division, and the director of the United Methodist Office for the UN at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City.


In 2007 she was honored with Eleanore Schnurr Award for "exceptional service in support of the work of the United Nations" from the United Nations Association of the USA, and with the J. Irwin Miller Award for "witness, through action in the world, to justice and other values affirmed by Christian Faith."


"Millsaps College is proud to have Mia Adjali as one of our alumnae.  Her life of service and success in her chosen field represents what we want for all of our graduates," said Todd Rose, vice president for campus programs and alumni at Millsaps.


"She is someone who found that living a life with relevance and purpose is well within any person's reach.  She has continued to work diligently throughout the world to address issues that are important to men and women."


Adjali has served on the Church World Service board, executive and finance committees and represented the CWS on the governing board of the National Council of Churches of Christ from 2000-20007. She is currently writing the history of the Church Center for the United Nations.

Other honorees of the night were recipients of the Livesay Award. The award honors the spirit of commitment in which Jim Livesay (1920-2001) served the college as an alumnus, a member of the college administration and as a volunteer.


The late Martha C. "Twick" Morrison of Vicksburg was honored as a Livesay Award recipient for her role as the force and heart behind the Millsaps Center for Ministry. A strong supporter of Millsaps, Morrison was an inspiration to countless young women in ministry and a visionary leader.


"Twick worked tirelessly on behalf of those who had no voice," said Millsaps Chaplain Lisa Garvin. "In her living and dying she gave us all an example of deep faith and gracious living."

Ann and Bruce Bartling of Ridgeland were also named Livesay Award recipients for their time and effort to the Millsaps M-Club, which provides support to athletics at the college. The Millsaps graduates of 1973 and 1974 were honored in 2007 with the Sam Knox Distinguished Service Award for Athletics. Currently serving as president and secretary of the M-Club Council, the Bartlings have attended and volunteered at hundreds of athletic events.


Millsaps alumni Polly and Joe Bailey of Tupelo were Livesay Award honorees for their active role in the life of the campus. Graduates of 1968 and 1969 the Baileys are responsible for beginning the Millsaps Alumni Chapter in Tupelo.


Along with being active volunteers in their church and community, the Baileys have served Millsaps in many ways. Joe Bailey was a member of the Millsaps Board of Trustees from 1992-1997 and Polly has served on the Millsaps Alumni Council.