Beanpot Tournament
championship game pits
BU vs. Northeastern,
Monday, February 11,
8 p.m., at the FleetCenter
Week of 8 February 2002 · Vol. V, No. 22


Search the Bridge

Contact Us


Balfour Foundation's $1 million gift to bring former African presidents to BU

By David J. Craig

BU's African Presidential Archives and Research Center (APARC) recently received a $1 million grant from the Balfour Foundation to launch a residency program that will bring former African presidents to the University beginning this September. The Balfour Foundation, an endowment administered by FleetBoston, promotes educational efforts that help underserved populations.


Leon Wilson, a FleetBoston executive vice president (second from right) hands a $1 million grant to Charles Stith, a former U.S. ambassador to Tanzania and APARC director, on behalf of the Balfour Foundation. APARC will use the money to bring former democratically elected African presidents to BU to teach and study beginning this September. Also pictured are (from left) Brian T. Moynihan, another FleetBoston executive vice president, BU President Jon Westling, and Walter H. Kansteiner III, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs. Photo by Vernon Doucette


The Balfour grant is the first major gift to APARC, which was created last year to encourage cooperation between American institutions and African nations, and thereby help them move closer to Western models of government and commerce. As part of the new residency program, former democratically elected African leaders will lecture and study at BU for six months and host public policy forums and discussions around the nation for an additional six months.

"The Balfour African Presidents in Residence Program that we celebrate today will allow Ambassador Stith and Boston University to make an important addition to its existing strengths in African studies," said BU President Jon Westling, accepting the gift at a February 4 ceremony at FleetBoston's downtown headquarters. BU's African studies program was founded in 1953 and is among the nation's oldest.

"The presidents whom we will invite will be nation-builders, individuals who have not enjoyed the luxuries of tried-and-true constitutions and long traditions of national self-government," said Westling. "Theirs is a continent more often thought of for its political failures than for the leaders who have succeeded at fostering democratic institutions. But the leaders who indeed have fostered democracy deserve not only our deepest respect, but also our attention. The Balfour African Presidents in Residence Program will help us learn from the success of democratically elected African presidents and bring their accomplishments to the widest possible public notice.

"I am deeply grateful to the Balfour Foundation for the support of this innovative and terrific program," he continued. "I'm also grateful to FleetBoston for its assistance in arranging this splendid gift."

APARC Director Charles Stith said that the center is particularly important as an educational resource for BU and the broader Boston community in the aftermath of last fall's terrorist attacks.

"Since the attack on America September 11, Americans of every station have become more aware than ever of the need to engage in the world on different terms," said Stith, a former U.S. ambassador to Tanzania, who joined BU last year as a special assistant to President Jon Westling. "Americans have become increasingly aware of the need to better understand the broader world in which we live. The African Presidential Archives and Research Center at Boston University represents one of those windows to the world that will enable us to see the opportunities and obligations, the challenges and changes that have to be made if peace and security are going to be the order of the day."

In addition to hosting former African heads of state, APARC serves as a repository for the documents of democratically elected African leaders and organizes lecture series, academic conferences, and a visiting professors program. Last month, CNN International gave the center videotapes of Inside Africa, its weekly television program about African culture, politics, and business, along with the promise of videotapes of future episodes. Stith will travel this month to Africa to visit leaders in Ghana, South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, and Tanzania. They will discuss candidates for APARC's residency program and finalize arrangements about gifts of public documents to the center.

In his keynote address at the February 4 ceremony, Walter H. Kansteiner III, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs, said promoting democracy in Africa and Western private investment on the continent are among his office's top priorities.

"Democratic institution-building goes hand in glove with building the private sector, because if you don't have an independent judicial system, it's hard to convince businessmen to invest when deeds or trusts or contracts are not recognized or carried out in a proper way," Kansteiner said. "This is really where the efforts of Boston University and this presidential [residency] hits home. BU, Fleet, and the Balfour Foundation deserve tremendous credit because this effort is helping to build those institutions. You're giving [African nations] a window, and you're giving them an opportunity."

The Balfour Foundation was established to foster educational initiatives helping underserved populations in 1973 by the late Lloyd G. Balfour, owner of the Massachusetts-based L. G. Balfour Company, which manufactures class rings and gift items.


8 February 2002
Boston University
Office of University Relations