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Cyril Daddieh

Ivorian lawyer diplomat politician mayor and cabinet minister was born in Toumodi a town about 25 miles from Yamoussoukro Ivory Coast s capital The son of an ordinary Baoulé peasant he attended a public primary school in Toumodi run by Kablan Koizan one of the very first Ivorian primary school teachers in the colony He attended middle school in Bingerville and the École Normale William Ponty in Dakar While in Senegal he met Richard Mollard a visiting French professor who encouraged him to study law He recommended the University of Grenoble because the climate was more congenial and Grenoble s serene surroundings were conducive to serious academic studies Alliali did not want to go down the path of becoming a colonial administrator an agent of oppression at a time when the anticolonial struggle led by the Parti Démocratique de Côte d Ivoire Rassemblement Démocratique Africain PDCI RDA was in full ...

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Joanne Collins-Gonsalves

was born on 8 April 1926 in Georgetown, British Guiana (now Guyana) to Stanley Allsopp and Eloise Allsopp (née Archer). A brilliant student, in 1937 he won the Centenary Exhibition and Government Scholarship to Queen’s College, one of the premiere schools in Guyana. Due to his exemplary academic performance, his scholarship was renewed to the completion of his tenure there in 1945. His foray into engineering began immediately after leaving school, when he joined the Public Works Department in Guyana as an engineering apprentice, where his primary focus was within the ambit of building and civil engineering. In 1949 Allsopp was awarded a Victory Engineering Scholarship to pursue civil engineering at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London His university life was marked with distinction he was elected president of the Students Union the first student of color to hold that post and editor of the ...

Article

Nadia Ali

was born on 13 March 1954 in Wakenaam, Guyana, the eldest of three children of teachers Michael and Dolly Amos. She had a sister, Colleen, and a brother, Michael. In 1963 the family became part of the significant post–World War II migration of Afro-Caribbean people from the British West Indies to Britain in the hope of a better life.

The family settled in Kent where as a minority Valerie experienced racial discrimination firsthand Undeterred she let it stimulate her keen sense of world politics equality and social justice and give birth to her mantra obstacles are for climbing over She and her sister were fortunate to attend the prestigious Townley Grammar School for girls in Bexleyheath Kent Colleen recalls that Valerie never boasted about her triumphs even when she received top marks in school and it was this intellect that saw Valerie become the first black exemplary class representative By ...

Article

Kate Tuttle

A lifelong diplomat, Annan assumed the top post of the United Nations (UN) in January 1997 to serve a term lasting through 2001. In 2001 the UN General Assembly unanimously elected him to a second term running from 2002 through 2006. That same year Annan and the United Nations shared the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize, awarded to the secretary-general for “bringing new life to the organization” and to the UN in recognition of its role in promoting “global peace and cooperation.” Two years later, however, Annan faced the challenging task of piloting the UN through one of the biggest crises in its history, the United States war against Iraq.

Kofi Annan is the first head of the UN to come from Africa south of the Sahara Desert He is also the first secretary general to have risen through the UN ranks Annan had impressed the international diplomatic ...

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Katya Leney-Hall

Ghanaian Nobel Laureate and United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, was born in Kumasi in what was then the British Gold Coast colony. Along with his twin sister Efua Atta, he was born to Rose Annan, a Fante, and Henry Reginald Annan, an Ashanti/Fante. Both parents were Christian and descendants of chiefs. Annan’s father was a commissioner of the Ashanti region and an employee of the United Africa Company, who rose through the ranks to become its director. After his retirement, Henry Reginald Annan also became president of the Ghana International Bank.

Ghana’s declaration of independence in 1957 found Kofi Annan in Cape Coast, finishing his secondary schooling at Mfantsipim, the Methodist boarding school. The following year, he began his studies in Economics at the Kumasi College of Science and Technology, completing his degree in the United States at Macalester College, in St. Paul, Minnesota (1961 From there he moved ...

Article

Joseph Appiah was born in Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti region in the British colony of Gold Coast (present-day Ghana). His father, an expert in Asante law, served at the court of the Asantehene, the traditional Asante ruler. As a boy, Appiah attended primary school in Kumasi and secondary school in Cape Coast. After graduation he worked at the United Africa Company, the largest British trading firm in West and Central Africa. He then traveled to Great Britain in 1943 to study law at the Middle Temple, a prestigious center for legal education. While in Britain, Appiah developed a close friendship with future Ghanaian president Kwame Nkrumah and became involved in the Ghanaian independence movement. When Nkrumah returned to Ghana after the formation of the Convention People's Party (CPP), Appiah served as his representative in Britain. He returned to Ghana in 1954 after becoming a member of ...

Article

Henry Louis Gates

Ghanaian politician and diplomat, was born on 16 November 1918 and raised in Kumasi, the capital of Ghana’s Ashanti region. His father was James Appiah, headmaster of the Wesleyan school in Kumasi and secretary of the Asanteman Council, a chiefly body that helped govern Ashanti. He was also secretary to his brother-in-law, the Ashanti king. His mother, who died when he was a child, was the niece of a prominent Cape Coast–based businessman, who, as head of Appiah’s matrilineal family, played a central role in his upbringing. Appiah attended the elite Methodist secondary school at Cape Coast, Mfantsipim. He joined the management of the United Africa Company after graduation, was posted in Sierra Leone during World War II, and traveled in 1944 to Britain where he studied law and became a member of the Middle Temple In the following decade Appiah was an activist in the pro independence West ...

Article

Francisco Ortega

Jorge Artel, whose real name was Agapito de Arcos, was born in Colombia, in the colonial city of Cartagena de Indias, once the major entryway for slaves into the Spanish colonies in South America. He grew up surrounded by the drumbeats of the cumbia music, slavery's violent legacies, and the history of resistance embodied in the many maroon communities that dotted the city's borders. In his poetry he evokes those images, especially, as Lawrence Prescott has noted, using the symbol of the drum as the unifying thread essential to the black experience in the Americas. Like other black poets in Spanish America, such as the Afro-Peruvian Nicomedes Santa Cruz (1925–1992) and the Cuban Nicolás Guillén (1902–1989 Artel does not single out race alone as the defining element that has shaped his life and his aesthetic vision For him as for the others class ...

Article

Ralph M. Coury

Egyptian diplomat, is best known as a pioneer of Egyptian Arab nationalism and the first secretary-general of the Arab League. His father, Hassan Bey, served as a member of Egypt’s quasi-parliamentary bodies before 1914. His family owned considerable land in their hometown in Giza, as well as a townhouse in Helwan. Although scholars who emphasize the shallow basis of Egyptian Arab nationalism link Azzam’s early Arabism to a strong consciousness of Peninsular origin, the Azzams regarded themselves as fallahin dhawati (an elite of rural origin). As was true of many sons of the ruling class in their modernizing journey, Azzam resisted his father’s pressures to study at the religious university of al-Azhar. He attended state primary and secondary schools, St. Thomas’s School of Medicine in London, and then, briefly, as a result of the interruption of World War I, the Qasr al-Aini School of Medicine in Cairo.

As a ...

Article

Juan Fandos-Rius

official and diplomat of the Central African Republic (CAR), was born on 6 June 1923 in the Poto-Poto neighborhood of Brazzaville in the Middle Congo. His mother was a Gbaya from the Bouar-Baoua region of Upper Sangha, then part of the Middle Congo but later attached to the colony of Ubangi-Shari. His father, Jean Bandio, a Gbaya, grew up in the Carnot region of Upper Sangha, but was sent by the French to serve as a nurse in the capital of French Equatorial Africa (FEA), Brazzaville. Jean-Arthur, the fifth of Jean Bandio's ten children, studied at the École Urbaine (Urban primary school) from 1933 to 1939, then from 1940 to 1944 at Brazzaville's École Edouard-Renard Edouard Renard School which trained Central Africans to serve as administrative assistants and primary teachers for FEA Bandio s classmates at Edouard Renard School included many future leaders of the independent states ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Burundian politician and diplomat, was born on 23 May 1956. Her parents belonged to a prominent Tutsi family. From 1979 to 1981, after she had completed her undergraduate studies, Batumubwira worked as a journalist for the newspaper La Voix de la Révolution du Burundi. She eventually received a master’s degree in communication. In 1981, she became a public relations administrator for the United Nations information center in Bujumbura, the Burundian capital. She held this position until 1995, even after the Burundian civil war commenced in the early 1990s. She married Jean-Marie Ngendahayo, a prominent politician in his own right, who served as Burundi’s foreign minister from 1993 to 1995 She joined the Conseil national pour la défense de la démocratie Forces de défense de la démocratie CNDD FDD National Council for the Defense of Democracy Forces for the Defense of Democracy a rebel movement ...

Article

Cyril Daddieh

former diplomat, cabinet minister, president of the National Assembly, second president of Ivory Coast, and first president to be deposed by the Ivorian armed forces, was born in Dadiékro, in central Ivory Coast. A member of the Baulé ethnic group that dominated the Ivorian political economy since the early 1940s, Bédié was a favored protégé of President Félix Houphouët-Boigny.

He studied law and economics in France at the University of Poitiers, after which he joined the Ivorian civil service in the waning years of French colonial rule in 1960 and was sent to study at the French Foreign Ministry. Two months later, he was named councillor at the French Embassy in Washington. Only twenty-seven years old at independence in August 1960 Bédié became Ivory Coast s chargé d affaires and shortly thereafter ambassador to the United States He also established the Ivorian mission to the United Nations in New York ...

Article

Geoffrey Roper

Moroccan Arabic writer, journalist, and diplomat (not to be confused with the francophone writer Abdelmajid Benjelloun, born in 1944), was born in Casablanca. At the age of five months, he was taken by his parents to Manchester, where his father worked as a merchant. He attended primary school there, and became the darling of a small community of immigrants. The loss of both his mother and his sister while he was still young had a profound effect on him, reinforced by his reading of Charles Dickens; the emotional consequences of this loss can be found in his writings.

He returned to Morocco with his father at the age of nine They took up residence in Fez where Bin Jallun received his secondary education and then enrolled in the ancient Islamic university of the Qarawiyin The pervasive atmosphere there was one of traditional Arabic learning and culture and this made a ...

Article

Emmanuel Asiedu-Acquah

Ghanaian nationalist politician and diplomat, was born on 21 February 1916 in Winneba, a coastal town in the central province of the Gold Coast (present-day Ghana). His father, James Edward Botsio, was the registrar of the colonial district commissioner’s court. His mother, Diana Ama Amina, was a trader. Kojo Botsio was schooled at the local Catholic primary and middle schools before attending the prestigious Adisadel College in the historic city of Cape Coast in 1929. He went on to train as a teacher from 1935 to 1936 at Achimota College, which also trained other future prominent Ghanaian leaders including his long-time political associate, Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first postindependence leader. After his training at Achimota, Botsio taught at the Catholic secondary school of Saint Augustine in Cape Coast for five years.

In the tradition of some educated colonial Ghanaians of the time Botsio studied for his bachelor s degree at ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Algerian diplomat and politician, was born in the Moroccan town of Oudja on 2 March 1937. He was the first child of his mother and the second of his father. He had three half-sisters, four brothers, and one full sister. His parents came from the Algerian town of Tlemcen, just across the border from Morocco. He left school in 1956, when the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN, National Liberation Front) anticolonial movement called on Algerian students to boycott French public schools.

Bouteflika joined the FLN and became the political officer of the Wilaya 5 FLN unit fighting in and around Oran. By 1960, he became the head politician officer of Wilaya 5. Before the Évian Accords of the spring of 1962 led to Algerian independence Bouteflika served as an intermediary between the imprisoned FLN leader Ahmed Ben Bella and the military commander Houari Boumedienne Bouteflika s ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

in the U.S. Department of Health Education and Welfare, was born in Bogue Township, Columbus County, North Carolina, the third child of Jett and Cassy Brice. He had an older brother, James, and an older sister, Laura. Their father worked in a lumber mill.

Brice graduated in 1938 with a bachelor’s degree from Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, then completed an M.A. and Ph.D. in Education at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1940, at the age of twenty-four, Brice accepted the position of president at Clinton Normal and Industrial College, Catawba Township, near Rock Hill, South Carolina. There he met his future wife, Creola M. Lindsay, an elementary school teacher in Rock Hill. In 1942, announcing that Brice would deliver the keynote address before the Social Science Group of the Palmetto State Teachers Association, the Carolina Times described him as An untiring worker for a better standard of ...

Article

Liberian lawyer and diplomat and the first African woman to preside over the General Assembly of the United Nations, was born on 24 August 1928 (or 1929, according to some accounts) in Virginia, Montserrado County, Liberia. Her parents were of mixed ethnic background representing several of Liberia’s indigenous groups, and her father was a Baptist minister. As one of nine children, she was fostered out to a widowed seamstress as a child and attended Monrovia public schools. Although she had a great desire to continue her education, she entered an early marriage with Richard A. Henries (1908–1980 a member of a prominent Americo Liberian family who was twenty years her senior Her husband was a lawyer and politician who eventually became the speaker for the Liberian House of Representatives She and Henries had two sons but the marriage ended in divorce and she turned her attention to ...

Article

José Manuel Batista

was born Manuel Cabral Tavárez in Santiago de los Caballeros on 7 March 1907. His father was Mario Fermín Cabral y Baez, who was infamously close to President Rafael Leonidas Trujillo as president of the Senate and coiner of the moniker Ciudad Trujillo (Trujillo City), given to the capital of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo de Guzmán, from 1936 to 1961. Cabral’s mother was Amelia Tavárez Saviñón, a well-known socialite of Santiago, but he was raised by his maternal aunt Carmita “Cacán” Tavárez. Cabral had two presidents, several generals, and notable powerbrokers of the Santiago elite in his family tree. He was a versatile poet who gained renown early in his career for depicting, in verse, the harsh social realities endured by the Dominican rural poor, Haitians, and cocolos black migrants from the English and French Antilles that sought work in the sugar mills of the Dominican ...

Article

Miguel Gonzalez Perez

was born in Bluefields, Nicaragua, on 21 November 1946 to Henry Ford Campbell and Mable May Hooker Pomeir. Of African descent, Campbell was born into a large family (eleven brothers and sisters) with deep social connections and relationships with the black Creole community of Bluefields, Corn Island, and Pearl Lagoon, on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast. Campbell’s early life was strongly influenced by a religious education to which he was exposed as a prominent member of a Protestant Moravian family. His parents were also very influential in encouraging Francisco to pursue education and community involvement, and develop an overall concern for public service.

In 1966 Campbell graduated from high school at the Instituto Nacional Cristóbal Colón in Bluefields and journeyed to the United States to pursue a higher education. He earned a B.A. in political science in 1974 and an M.A. in international relations in 1975 both from the University of ...

Article

Juan Pablo Rivera

was born on 26 December 1904 to Jorge Julián Carpentier, a French architect and devoted cellist, and Lina Valmont, a Russian language teacher and pianist. The subject of Carpentier’s birthplace has been a matter of controversy. He was most likely born in Lausanne, Switzerland, despite claiming his entire life to have been born in Havana. Following in his parents’ footsteps, Carpentier made many contributions to the study of Cuban music, especially in his study of and writings about Afro-Cuban influences on Cuban music. He is mainly known, however, as a narrator and essayist, and as one of the precursors of the boom of the Latin American novel in the 1960s.

Carpentier contributed greatly to Afro Caribbean culture and is regarded as the first Latin American novelist to utilize the stylistic techniques of the European avant garde in order to highlight the centrality of blackness in the constitution of a Latin ...