BU’s African Presidential Archives and Research Center Charts New Waters in Outreach to Africa

Contact: Richard Taffe, 617-353-4626 | rtaffe@bu.edu
Contact: Mary Stith, 353-5452 | mmstith@bu.edu

(Boston) — Boston University’s African Presidential Archives and Research Center (APARC) today announced that three African universities will join its Historically Black College and Universities Collaborative. The University of Legon in Ghana, the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, and the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania join Georgia’s Morehouse College and North Carolina’s Elizabeth City State University in the newly named APARC American-African Universities Collaborative.

New grants of $400,000 from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the $150,000 from the Carnegie Corporation will afford the schools in the enhanced collaborative access to all APARC programs and materials. APARC’s Balfour African President in Residence also will visit each school for short-term residencies. And faculty and students from the schools will participate in annual APARC roundtables of former African presidents, to be held this academic year in Boston and Johannesburg.

Charles Stith, APARC director and former U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania, said the AAU Collaborative will result in a better understanding by both Africans and Americans of their respective perspectives on critical policy issues in which both have a stake. With U.S. foreign policy under worldwide scrutiny, he said, it will enable transcontinental conversations about foreign policy issues in a less politically charged environment.

“Given the urgency of issues like Iraq and terrorism, Darfur, and the impact of globalization on Africa, this collaborative is particularly timely,” said Stith. “It provides an opportunity for universities to do what they do best; and that is, to provide a credible forum, thoughtful people, and the sort of continuity necessary to find short, medium, and long range solutions to vexing problems.”

“The AAU Collaborative is a great opportunity for some of the United States’ premiere institutions of higher learning to interact with some of the premiere institutions of higher learning in Africa,” said Dr. Sarah Moten, education chief for the USAID Africa Bureau. “The net effect is that Americans and Africans come to understand each other better and help to fashion a framework for greater transcontinental cooperation that can facilitate greater growth and development in Africa.”

“The Leadership Center at Morehouse College is delighted to partner with APARC in this dynamic initiative in which tomorrow’s leaders will be exposed to the increasingly complex and urgent issues of US-Africa relations,” said Dr. Walter Earl Fluker, executive director of the Leadership Center at Morehouse College.

“We see this collaborative effort as being critical to our training leaders for the 21st century; leaders who can negotiate global issues for the world in general and for Africa and America in particular,” said Dr. Mickey L. Burnim, chancellor of Elizabeth City State University.

APARC was established to complement BU’s African Studies program — one of the nation’s oldest, established in 1953 — as a resource for fostering efforts at democratization and free-market reform in Africa. In addition to hosting African former heads of state, it also serves as a repository for the documents of democratically elected African leaders, and organizes lecture series, academic conferences, and a visiting professors program.

Boston University is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States, with an enrollment of more than 29,000 students in its 17 schools and colleges. Over five decades, BU has established an international reputation for excellence in teaching and conducting research on Africa, and has built and maintained broad collaborations with institutions in Africa.

For more on the APARC, see http://www.bu.edu/aparc.