Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Former Liberian Head of State Named Boston University's African President-in-Residence

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Former Liberian Head of State Named Boston University's African President-in-Residence

Article excerpt

BOSTON

Ruth Sando Perry, the only female African head of state in modern times, has been appointed the next Balfour African President-in-Residence at Boston University's African Presidential Archives and Research Center (APARC). A former legislator, teacher and bank executive, she served in 1996 and 1997 as chairperson of the Council of the Republic of Liberia, which guided the country from a seven-year civil war to democracy.

Founded by a grant from the Lloyd G. Balfour Foundation, which is administered by trustee Fleet National Bank, the residency enables democratically elected former African leaders to spend up to two years at Boston University sharing insights on the their countries and on contemporary trends in Africa. BU's first African president-in-residence, appointed in 2002, was Kenneth Kanuda of Zambia.

"Madam Perry's appointment provides a unique window of opportunity to see and understand the problems of African countries in crisis and to better understand what the United States and other Western nations can do to enable these countries to move from crisis to stability," said Charles Stith, director of APARC and former U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania. "Even more importantly, her appointment enables us to understand what we can do to prevent the spirals of decline from occurring."

As Balfour President-in-Residence, Perry can help scholars and policy-makers reflect on how Liberia's democracy decayed under President Charles Taylor, who was exiled to Nigeria last year with Liberia placed under a United Nations peacekeeping mandate. …

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