Zambian Former President Rupiah Banda Newest Boston University African President-in-Resident

in News Releases
March 27th, 2012

Contact: Verity Norman, 617-353-5452, vnorman@bu.edu; Richard Taffe, 617-353-4626, rtaffe@bu.edu

(Boston) – Former President Rupiah Banda of Zambia has accepted an appointment as the eighth African President-in-Residence at Boston University’s African Presidential Center, it was announced today by center director Prof. Charles Stith, a former U.S. ambassador to Tanzania.

Funded by a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) grant, the residency enables democratically elected former African leaders to spend up to two years at BU sharing insights on contemporary trends in Africa.  Banda will live on the BU campus through May and will be formally introduced to the school at his inaugural lecture on April 2.

Banda, 75, served as Zambia’s ambassador to the United Nations, ambassador to the United States, then vice president under President Levy Mwanawasa, taking over as acting president in June 2008 when Mwanawasa died after suffering a stroke.  He was elected president in October 2008, oversaw notable national growth rates during his tenure with GDP peaking at 7.6 percent in 2010, and was narrowly defeated for reelection in September 2011.

“We are delighted to welcome President Banda to Boston University and the United States,” said Stith.  “As one of the continent’s most recently retired presidents who oversaw the recovery of Zambia’s economy following the 2008 global recession, there is much we can learn from his experience about the ongoing trend towards democratic and economic reform in Africa.”

Banda also will lecture at schools that are part of the BU center’s collaborative, including Morehouse College, Elizabeth City State University, the University of Dar es Salaam, and the University of Ghana, Legon.  He will travel in the U.S. and Africa to discuss his experiences in office, trends of democratization and the state of African politics, and will join other former heads of state at the center’s annual African Presidential Roundtable, hosted at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, May 23-25, 2012.

The Boston University African Presidential Center (APC) has taken an unprecedented approach to studying democratization and free-market reform in Africa.  Through this residency program for former democratically elected African leaders, it provides a forum for sharing the insights and expertise of past and present heads of state and government.

Founded by Stith in 2001 as the African Presidential Archives and Research Center to complement BU’s African Studies program (one of the nation’s oldest, established in 1953), the APC organizes annual forums regarding Africa’s global relationships, hosts the residency program for African former heads of state, and publishes an annual “State of Africa” report with perspectives from former heads of democratic African nations.

Zambia’s Kenneth Kaunda was named the first President-in-Residence in 2002.  Since then, Ruth Sando Perry of Liberia, Karl Auguste Offmann of Mauritius, Sir Q. Ketumile Masire of Botswana, Antonio Monteiro of Cape Verde, Festus Mogae of Botswana, and Amani Abeid Karume of Zanzibar have been BU guests.

Founded in 1839, Boston University is the fourth largest independent university in the United States, with more than 33,000 students in its 17 colleges and schools.  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.

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