A professor and former ambassador has received international recognition for his leadership.

James Joseph, leader in residence for Duke’s Hart Leadership program and former U.S. ambassador to South Africa, recently received the 2012 Distinguished Leadership Award from the International Leadership Association, according to a Duke news release. The award, given to individuals whose work on leadership has had a significant and international impact, is presented at the association’s annual conference in October.

Joseph is also the founder of the United States-Southern Africa Center for Leadership and Public Values—a collaboration between Duke and the University of Capetown—and an emeritus professor of the practice of public policy. He has served in senior positions under four former presidents, including Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. Under Clinton, Joseph was the first and only U.S. ambassador to present credentials to South African activist and politician Nelson Mandela.

Joseph has shared his knowledge of leadership with the Duke community through his position with the Hart Leadership Program, as well as teaching classes and presenting guest lectures. He has taught classes such as Leadership as Moral Activity and Leadership and Public Values.

At the International Leadership Association conference, Joseph gave a keynote speech to more than 1,000 participants from 35 countries. The association is a network organization that connects educators who focus their teaching and practice around leadership.

In 1999, South Africa awarded Joseph the highest honor that can be given to a non-citizen—the Order of Good Hope. Joseph also has 19 honorary degrees and was named “One of the most influential black Americans” by Ebony Magazine in 1979. In addition to his numerous accolades, the U.S. Peace Corps honored him for his lifetime of dedication to civil society. Joseph is also an ordained minister and sits on the board for several organizations.

He has written three books—“The Charitable Impulse,” “Remaking America” and “Leadership as a Way of Being”—with a fourth to be published by Duke University Press in 2013.