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Article

Eric Bennett

Sani Abacha attended primary and secondary school in his home state of Kano and then joined the army in 1962. As a soldier he attended the Nigerian Military Training College in Kaduna State (1962–1963) and then went to England for further military schooling. Abacha achieved steady promotions as a soldier and by the mid-1980s had entered Nigeria's military elite. In 1983 he was among those who overthrew Shehu Shagari, leader of the Second Republic, in a coup that led to the military rule of Muhammadu Buhari. In 1985 Abacha participated in a second coup, which replaced Buhari with General Ibrahim Babangida, who appointed Abacha minister of defense in 1990. As head of state, Babangida announced that free elections would be held in the early 1990s. In 1993 however after Babangida nullified the results of these belated free elections Abacha staged a third coup and ...

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Leyla Keough

Diane Abbott, a working-class Cambridge University graduate, made history on June 11, 1987, by becoming the first black female member of the British Parliament. Her outspoken criticism of racism and her commitment to progressive politics have made her a controversial figure in Britain's Labour Party.

Diane Abbott was born in 1953 in the working-class London neighborhood of Paddington. Her mother (a nurse) and father (a welder) had moved there in 1951 from Jamaica. Later they moved to lower-middle-class Harrow, where Abbott was the only black student at the Harrow County School for Girls. Graduating among the top in her class, she applied and was accepted into Newnham College at Cambridge University, despite a high school teacher's comment that attendance there would give her ambitions that were above her social status.

She began work after graduation at the home office a government department responsible for a broad range ...

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Jasper Ayelazuno

army officer and military head of state of Ghana, was born in Trabuom in the present-day Ashanti Region of southern Ghana and then part of Britain’s Gold Coast colony. He was the son of James Kwadwo Kutu Acheampong and Akua Manu. Raised as a Roman Catholic, he attended Trabuom Elementary School and St. Peter’s Catholic School in Kumasi, before receiving his secondary education at the Central College of Commerce at Swedru in the Central Region of Ghana. Having obtained his West Africa Secondary School General Certificate of Education at the ordinary level (popularly known as GCE O level) and a diploma in commerce, he worked in various places and positions. From 1945 to 1951, he was a stenographer/secretary at the Timber Sawmill in Kumasi, a teacher at Kumasi Commercial College, and the vice principal at Agona-Swedru College of Commerce.

Acheampong subsequently enlisted as a private soldier in the British ...

Article

Matti Steinberg

Palestinian leader, was born in Cairo, Egypt, on 24 August 1929 to ʿAbd al-Raʾuf, his father, and Zahawa Abu-Saud, his mother, who had emigrated from Palestine in 1927 Arafat himself was mysterious about his birthplace sometimes he would say I was not born before I became Abu ʿAmmar and sometimes he insisted on being born in Old Jerusalem next to the al Haram al Sharif the Islamic sacred site this version was adopted by official publications and Web sites of Fatah Behind this obscurity probably lay the uneasiness of Arafat as the leader of the Palestinian national movement to acknowledge that he had not been born in Palestine and that his Palestinian parents had emigrated voluntarily out of personal and not national reasons from Palestine seeking a better living His full name is Muhammad ʿAbd al Rahman ʿAbd al Raʾuf Arafat al Qudwa al Husayni During the early 1950s ...

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Redie Bereketeab

chief executive of the autonomous Federa state of Eritrea (1952–1962) and Ethiopian government official, was born on 12 March 1914 in Segeneyti in Akkele Guzay, Eritrea. When he reached school age, he attended elementary school at Adi Keyih, Akkele Guzay, and secondary school at Keren Catholic School.

During the Italian occupation of Ethiopia (1936–1941), Asfaha accompanied General Nasi, who was posted as vice-representative in Ethiopia, and worked there until the defeat of Italy. Initially he worked as an interpreter, and later he held various high positions in Tigray until 1941. Upon the defeat of Italy and the reinstallment of Emperor Haile Selassie to the throne, Asfaha remained in Ethiopia, where he became an ardent supporter of the union of Eritrea with Ethiopia.

Asfaha was frequently dispatched to Eritrea by Ethiopia, particularly during 1941 and 1942 to persuade Eritreans to accept the union with Ethiopia ...

Article

Sônia Beatriz dos Santos

was born on 27 March 1953 in the city of Porto Alegre, state of Rio Grande do Sul.

Bairros’s interest in political issues began when she was in school. In 1979 she adopted the city of Salvador, state of Bahia, as her main residence; it was in this city that she began to participate in the Unified Black Movement (Movimento Negro Unificado, MNU); she remained involved in this organization until 1994.

She began her activism in the women’s movement in 1981 within the Women’s Group of the MNU. Bairros was a vocal member of this group, and she participated in the main initiatives of the black movement in Bahia and Brazil. In 1991 she was elected the first national coordinator of the MNU.

In 1994 Luiza Bairros joined the Labor and Social Action Secretariat of the State of Bahia managing support for independent workers programs and participating in ...

Article

Gerhard Seibert

politician and foreign minister of São Tomé and Príncipe, was born Alda Bandeira Tavares Vaz da Conceição on 22 September 1949. She was the daughter of a male nurse and his wife on the Àgua-Izé estate, Santana District, São Tomé Island. She married Noberto Costa Alegre, with whom she has two daughters. Bandeira attended primary school and secondary school in São Tomé and Luanda, Angola, respectively. From 1972 to 1974 she studied German philology at Lisbon University.

During her country’s decolonization process, following the Carnation Revolution of 25 April 1974 in Portugal, Bandeira became one of the prominent student members of the radical Associação Cívica pró-MLSTP, which struggled for her country’s total independence from Portugal under the leadership of the Liberation Movement of São Tomé and Príncipe (MLSTP, founded in 1972), whose leaders were exiled at that time in Libreville, Gabon. However, in March 1975 owing to 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

Paul Bjerk

Tanzanian politician, was born in January 1925 at a mission station in Ikizu, Musoma, in colonial Tanganyika. He belonged to a Christian agricultural family of relatively comfortable means by the standards of the African population of Tanganyika, then under British administration. He received his education in Tanganyika in the early 1940s, receiving a Grade II certificate as a teacher from the Ikizu Secondary and Teacher Training School in 1945. In 1953, as a result of his work with the agricultural cooperative movement, he was given a scholarship to attend a course in cooperative development at Loughborough College in Leicester, United Kingdom. He married his wife, Hilda, in 1958, and they had nine children. His brother Mark Bomani also had a prominent political career and currently works in Dar es Salaam as a lawyer in private practice.

Bomani’s early adult life, beginning in 1947 was defined by ...

Article

Matthew LeRiche and John Young

Sudanese journalist, politician, and government official, is the son of a Dinka chief from Twic Mayardit County in the province of northern Bahr El Ghazal, in southern Sudan. Bona has pursued careers in journalism, academia, and most prominently, politics. After the 2010 national election, he was named advisor to President ʿUmar al-Bashir, of the National Congress Party (NCP).

An accomplished student and athlete, Bona went to the US on scholarship. While there, he earned an MA in journalism and communications before returning to Sudan, where he became a leading southern Sudanese nationalist. Building on his academic training, Bona became the editor-in-chief of The Advocate, an early publication defending the human rights of southerners and calling for devolution of power to the south. He was a cofounder of the Southern Front and served as its first secretary-general. He was then elected to the national assembly in 1968 only to ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Gabonese politician and foreign minister, was born on 10 April 1956 to Omar (then Albert-Bernard) Bongo Ondimba and Louise Mouyabi Moukala in Franceville, capital of the southeastern Gabonese province of Haut-Ogooué. At the time of her birth, her father, Omar Bongo Ondimba, later president of Gabon, was a lieutenant in the French air force. Little public information is available about her childhood and adolescence, but she attended the University of California–Los Angeles in 1979 with her younger sister Albertine. Her father had purchased a home for roughly 2.2 million dollars US in Beverly Hills, California. Shortly before moving to the United States, she reportedly had a short romantic relationship with the Jamaican reggae singer Bob Marley.

Pascaline Bongo finished her studies in the United States and returned to Gabon Although little detailed information exists about her activities in the 1980s she rose to prominence in her father s government after ...

Article

Walter Clarke

Djiboutian political figure, was born in Djibouti, but he grew up in Tadjoura. Aboubaker Ibrahim Chehem Pacha, who facilitated the earliest agreements with France in the 1860s, was his great-grandfather. His grandfather was Bourhan Baye, the first mayor of the village of Djibouti. Bourhan completed elementary school and joined the Territorial Ministry of Education. Like many early political figures in the French colony, he first gained a reputation as an orator and debater in the Club de la Jeunesse Somalie et Dankalie, Mahmoud Harbi’s political movement. In 1957, Bourhan was elected deputy for Obock and Tadjoura.

Reacting to the increasing radicalization of Harbi, Bourhan joined the political group led by Ibrahim Mohammed Sultan in 1958 and was again elected to the territorial assembly. In June 1960 by now a fervent supporter of General Charles de Gaulle he was appointed vice president of the Council of Government replacing ...

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Article

David Killingray

Guyaneselawyer, politician, and diplomat who was appointed travelling secretary of the League of Coloured Peoples (LCP) during the Second World War. Carter was born in the British colony of British Guiana. He attended Queen's College, Georgetown, and came to London University in 1939 to read law, qualifying as a barrister at the Middle Temple in 1942. During the war years the LCP grew in members and significance, and so did its concern for the welfare of the many military and labour volunteers from the colonies. Another concern was for the large numbers of African‐American soldiers in Britain from 1942 onwards. Carter became general and travelling secretary of the LCP in early 1942 using his legal skills to deal with numerous instances of racial discrimination and also the case of an African American soldier sentenced to death for rape by a US military court Carter ...

Article

Owen J. M. Kalinga

Malawi’s first African attorney and first minister of justice, was born on 30 June 1919, in Nkata Bay District, Nyasaland (now Malawi). A bright student, Chirwa attended school at Bandawe and Khondwe, two of the most important centers of the Livingstonia Mission of the Church of Scotland. After working for some time, he went to Adam’s College in Natal, South Africa, before entering Fort Hare University College, graduating in 1950 with a BA degree in philosophy. He became a tutor at Domasi Teachers College near Zomba, the capital of Nyasaland, and studied for part one of the English bar examinations, his plans being to pass them and proceed to London to complete the requirement for a barrister. He also became active in the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC), the early 1950s being critical to Africans of this British colony because of the imposition of the Federation of the Rhodesias ...

Article

Kenneth P. Vickery

lawyer, politician, vice president (1970–1973), and prime minister (1973–1975, 1977–1978) of independent Zambia, was born in Nampeyo, an area near Monze, in the Southern Province of Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia), on 21 January 1930. He was the son of Hameja Chilala, a spiritual leader, legendary hunter, and Tonga chief—though “chiefship” in this region is problematic and probably owes as much to British colonial rule as to indigenous origins. His mother was Nhandu. Chona attended the local school sponsored by the main Catholic Jesuit mission in Southern Province, Chikuni, and then Chikuni itself, before completing secondary education at Munali, the elite Lusaka high school founded by the Northern Rhodesian colonial administration in 1939 He was clearly an outstanding student After graduation he worked for a time as an interpreter for the High Court in Livingstone and this may have fueled his desire to become a lawyer He found time ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Senegalese medical researcher and government minister of health, was born in 1951 in Dakar, Senegal. She attended primary and secondary schools in Dakar, where she drew attention because of her aptitude for science and her athleticism. She played on the Senegalese national women’s basketball team in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Coll-Seck received a medical degree from the University of Dakar in 1978 and commenced her medical practice the same year. She worked as a doctor in hospitals in the French city of Lyons as well as her hometown of Dakar in the late 1970s and the 1980s.

In 1989 Coll-Seck was named to the faculty of the medical school of the University of Dakar and chief medical officer of infectious diseases at the Dakar public hospital. In the 1990s Coll Seck was noticed by the international medical and public health community for her ...

Article

David Killingray

Cricketer, politician, and broadcaster born into a middle‐class family in Trinidad. When he left school, he became a clerk in a local company, a post he held for the next ten years until 1927, the year he married Norma Cox. His father was a good cricketer and Constantine also became an excellent fielder. He played for his school and as a member of the Trinidad team in inter‐colonial matches; he was selected for the West Indies team to tour England in 1923, and again in 1928. During that tour Constantine's distinguishing moment came in the match against Middlesex in June 1928 when his skills as bowler, fielder, and scorer enabled the West Indies to defeat their opponents by three wickets. C. L. R. James wrote of him he took 100 wickets made 1 000 runs and laid claim to being the finest fieldsman ever ...

Article

David E. Gardinier

first lady of Gabon. Patience Dabany is the name adopted by Marie-Joséphine Kama Bongo in 1986 following her divorce from President Omar Bongo Ondimba of Gabon. Marie-Joséphine Kama, known informally as Marie-Jo, was born on 22 January 1937, at Akiené in the Upper-Ogooué Region, which until 1946 formed part of Middle Congo. Her father was an officer in the French colonial army. Both her parents were part of the Assélé clan of the Obamba people to whom the Téké people of their district, including the family of Omar Bongo, were tributary. Marie-Jo’s father was an important figure in the ndjovi, a secret initiation society of the Obamba that wielded much influence, including among the Téké.

Marie Jo received her entire schooling in the French language She graduated from a government program that prepared teachers at the primary level Thereafter she was married to Dieudonné Pascal Ndouna Okogo 1937 1977 ...

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Josephine Dawuni

Ghanaian journalist, writer, political and gender activist with ancestral roots in both Sierra Leone and Ghana, was born to Francis Thomas Dove, an accomplished barrister at law and Madam Eva Buckman, a Ga businesswoman. In 1933, Mabel Dove married Dr. J. B. Danquah, a leading figure of the anti- imperialist independence movement; the couple had one son. Mabel Dove Danquah’s formative years began in Sierra Leone, where at the early age of six, she attended the prestigious Annie Walsh Memorial School, the oldest girls’ school in Sierra Leone. After receiving her primary and secondary education in Sierra Leone, she went to England, where she attended the Anglican Covenant in Bury and then St. Michael’s College. She then proceeded to take a four-month course at Gregg Commercial College in secretarial training.

In 1926 at the age of twenty one Danquah took her first job as a shorthand typist with Elder ...