Zambian president’s address launches Balfour African Residency Program
Former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda will launch a yearlong residency
at Boston University by delivering the keynote address at a conference
about contemporary African politics on Wednesday, September 25. He is
expected to focus on free market reform and political liberty in sub-Saharan
Africa, as well as how the U.S. war on terrorism is affecting Africa.
Kaunda Photo courtesy of African Union Summit
The two-day conference, entitled Integrating Africa into the Global Economy:
Have the Stakes Changed Since September 11? and hosted by BU’s African
Presidential Archives and Research Center (APARC), takes place on September
24 and 25. Kaunda’s speech, which is free and open to the public,
is at 8:45 a.m. at the School of Management, at 595 Commonwealth Ave.
Kaunda was Zambia’s first president, serving from 1964 until 1991,
when he stepped aside after allowing a multiparty democratic election,
which he lost to Frederick Chiluba.
Kaunda comes to BU as the first Balfour African President-in-Residence.
The residency program, which is part of APARC’s mission to educate
Americans about contemporary African policy issues, enables former heads
of state of African democracies to live and work at BU for a year. It
is funded by a grant from the Lloyd G. Balfour Foundation, which is administered
by Fleet National Bank, trustee for the foundation.
During his visit, Kaunda will lecture periodically at BU and travel around
the United States, meeting with business leaders and government officials
to discuss Zambia’s economy and government as well as the push toward
democracy in other African nations.
“That students and faculty at Boston University and members of the
larger community are going to have access to somebody of the stature and
historical significance of President Kaunda for a full year is just incredible,”
says Charles Stith, director of APARC and former U.S. ambassador to Tanzania.
“He is a living embodiment of Africa’s past struggle against
colonization, and his commitment to democracy and free market reform makes
him a symbol of Africa’s present and future challenge to live with
Kaunda, 78, became president of Zambia when the nation gained independence
from Britain in 1964. During his 27 years in power, he played important
diplomatic roles in the independence struggles of South Africa, Zimbabwe,
Namibia, Mozambique, and Angola. Recently, he has emerged as a leader
in the fight against AIDS in Africa, seeking assistance from abroad and
launching a philanthropic organization to help children orphaned by the
Stith hopes the Balfour residency program will help further the cause
of democracy in Africa by demonstrating to current heads of state there
the contributions they can make as statesmen after leaving office gracefully.
“We at the center do hope that in some small way we can influence
the debate going on in Africa around democratization and free market reform,”
says Stith, who earlier this year traveled to five African countries to
brief leaders on the project. “We don’t intend to oversell
our ability to do that, but there is a great deal of enthusiasm about
the residency program, both in Africa and around the world.”
Responding to press reports suggesting that a residency program specifically
for African leaders is a curiosity because authoritarianism is so rampant
on the continent, Stith says it’s important to remember that movements
toward democracy often are long, uneven processes.
“The list of our nation’s imperfections in its early days
certainly is lengthy,” he said. “And the same can be said
for democratic movements anywhere in the world. But the fact is that there
is a critical mass of leaders in Africa right now who see the value in
pursuing that process. And we believe that this dynamic period in African
history is worth studying, and worth chronicling for future scholars.”
The APARC conference will include several leading African studies scholars,
as well as Kenyan Ambassador Yusef Nzibo, Malawian Ambassador Tony Kandeiro,
former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Susan Rice, and
Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Rosa Whitaker. Events on September
25, including panel discussions about the relationship between African
security and U.S. national security and the impact of globalization on
Africa, are open to the public.
For more information about the conference, visit APARC at bu.edu/aparc
or call 353-5452.