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Week of 20 September 2002 · Vol. VI, No. 4

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Former Zambian president’s address launches Balfour African Residency Program

By David J. Craig

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.

Kenneth Kaunda Photo courtesy of African Union Summit
  Kenneth 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 globalization.”

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 disease.

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.”

Charles Stith Photo courtesy of APARC


Charles Stith Photo courtesy of APARC


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.


20 September 2002
Boston University
Office of University Relations