Director, African Presidential Archives and Research Center; Adjunct Professor of International Relations. (BA, Baker University; MDiv, Interdenominational Theological Center’s Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta; Th.M., Harvard University Divinity School).
Specialization: Political and Economic Development of Sub-Saharan Africa
Prior to assuming his present position as the Director of the African Presidential Archives and Research Center at Boston University, Charles Stith served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States to the United Republic of Tanzania in the traumatic period after the August 1998 bombing of the United States Embassy in Dar es Salaam. Under his leadership, the Embassy was restored to stability and set a new standard for U.S. Embassies promoting American trade and investment in Africa. Among his achievements were getting Tanzania to sign the first ever Open Skies Agreement between an African country and the United States and the successful negotiation of code-share agreements for Delta and Northwest Airlines. In September 1999 he organized Tanzanian President Mkapa’s historic visit to the United States. That visit had the distinction of having the largest delegation of African business leaders ever to accompany an African head of state on a visit to a western nation. Subsequent to that effort, Stith organized “reverse trade missions” to London and Johannesburg to enable a Tanzanian business delegation to meet with U.S. business interests having offices in those cities. Stith worked with the Tanzanian government to enable it to become the first Sub-Saharan African country to reach the decision point for debt relief under the enhanced Heavily-Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC).
After concluding his term in Tanzania , Stith was appointed by Boston University’s Chancellor to establish the African Presidential Archives and Research Center (APARC). The Center provides a forum and resources for exchange on political and economic developments in sub-Saharan Africa during this period of profound historic change.
Stith is the founder and former National President of the Organization for a New Equality (O.N.E.), an organization which focuses on expanding economic opportunities for minorities and women. Most notably during his tenure at O.N.E., he helped negotiate and broker the first comprehensive community reinvestment agreement in the country. The agreement committed Boston financial institutions to $500 million in mortgage and commercial lending to low and moderate income and minority communities in Massachusetts.
Prior to heading O.N.E., Stith was the Senior Minister of the historic Union United Methodist Church in Boston. He was an appointee of Senate Minority Tom Daschle to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. In addition, he has been an adjunct faculty member at Boston College and Harvard Divinity School. He has served on the National Advisory Boards of FannieMae and Fleet InCity Bank, the editorial board of WCVB-TV, and the boards of West Insurance, Inc. and the Wang Center for Performing Arts, among others. His is the recipient of honorary doctorates from the University of South Carolina, Clark Atlanta University, and Baker University.
Stith is the author of Political Religion (Abingdon Press, 1995) as well as numerous articles, which have appeared in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, Denver Post, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and the Chicago Sun Times.