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Baye Yimam

Ethiopian painter, diplomat, customs director, entrepreneur, linguist, university professor, and novelist, was born in Zage, Gojjam province of Ethiopia, on 10 July 1868. His father, Gebre Iyesus Denke, was a priest serving a local church, and his mother, Fenta Tehun Adego Ayechew, was presumably a housewife. In Zage, then a center of learning, Afewerq learned the painting, poetry, church music, and liturgical dancing of the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian tradition.

Afewerq was related to Empress Taytu Betul, wife of Emperor Menilek (1844–1913 on account of which he was brought to the palace to continue what he had started in Zage He was later sent to Italy to further his studies at the Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti in Turin Upon his return from Italy he began to produce mural paintings by order of the palace and decorated the churches at Entotto then the capital city However he soon ...

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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

Teresa A. Booker

attorney, politician, and diplomat, was born in Louisville, Kentucky. He was the youngest of two children and the only son of Charles W. Anderson Sr., a physician, and Tabitha L. Murphy, a teacher.

Motivated by the high value that his parents placed on education, Charles W. Anderson Jr. entered Kentucky State College at age fifteen and attended from 1922 to 1925. He then transferred to Wilberforce University, one of the earliest universities established for African Americans. Although the reason for Anderson's transfer to Wilberforce University during the penultimate year of his undergraduate career is unclear, it is likely that he, like other black Kentuckians, was forced to pursue higher education outside of the state because of the still-standing Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896 authorizing separate but equal educational facilities Higher educational institutions for blacks did not exist in Kentucky and rather than wait for them ...

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

Glenn Allen Knoblock

Marine Corps soldier in the Vietnam War and‐Medal of Honor winner, was born in Nacogdoches, Texas, the son of Frank and Mildred Austin, and‐was raised in Phoenix, Arizona. A graduate of Phoenix Union High School, Austin was inducted for service in the U.S. Marine Corps during the height of the Vietnam War on 22 April 1968. Upon joining the marines, he was sent to boot camp at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California, and served as a member of the Third Recruit Training Battalion through July 1968. Austin subsequently received individual combat and infantryman training at Camp Pendleton, California, from August to September 1968 as part of the Second Infantry Training Regiment, following which, in October 1968, he was promoted to private first class. Later that month, on 15 October he was sent to the Republic of Vietnam for his first tour of ...

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

Geoffrey Roper

Egyptian poet, diplomat, military commander, and politician, was born in Cairo on 6 October 1839. His family claimed descent from a medieval Mamluk royal line, but his surname (nisba) refers to the district of Ityay al-Barud in Lower Egypt, of which his ancestors had once been tax farmers (multazims). His father, an artillery officer under Muhammad Ali, died in Sudan when al-Barudi was only seven years old. After primary education, al-Barudi entered the Military Training School in Cairo, in 1851, and graduated from it in 1855 with the rank of bash-jawish (sergeant-major). During the reign of the viceroy Saʿid (r. 1854–1863), he served in Istanbul as a diplomat and during this time acquired a lifelong enthusiasm for literature.

In 1863 the new viceroy, Ismaʿil (r. 1863–1879 visited Istanbul and recruited al Barudi as commander of his Viceregal Guard in Cairo with the ...

Article

David M. Carletta

Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, the son of Tobias Bassett, a mulatto, and Susan Bassett of the Shagticoke branch of the Pequot tribe. He graduated with honors from the Connecticut State Normal School in 1853. Two years later he married Eliza Park, with whom he had three sons and two daughters. While he was the principal of a high school in New Haven, Connecticut, Bassett studied for a short time at Yale College. From 1857 to 1869 he was the principal of the Institute for Colored Youth, a Quaker school in Philadelphia that prepared students to become educators. He received high praise from the city's mayor for his work at the institute. During the Civil War, Bassett wrote many appeals to young black men to enlist in the Union Army.

Basset left the Institute for Colored Youth after the Civil War to become the first ...

Article

Adam W. Green

was the second of three children born to two freed slaves, Eben Tobias, a farmer, and Susan Gregory, a mixed-race Pequot Indian, in Derby, Connecticut. An education proponent and political activist, Bassett became America's first black diplomat when he served as Resident Minister in Haiti for eight years, helping pave the way for those seeking opportunities in international diplomacy and public service.

Along with his mixed race birth and royal lineage that his family claimed from Africa Bassett whose surname came from a generous white family close to his grandfather s former owners also had elected office in his blood His grandfather Tobiah who won his freedom after fighting in the American Revolution had been elected a Black Governor as had Bassett s father Eben The largely nominal honorific was bestowed upon respected men in various locales via Election Days sometimes by a voice vote these Black Governors ...

Article

Nancy Gordon Heinl

Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, on October 16, 1833, the son of Tobias Bassett, a mulatto, and Susan (Gregory) Bassett, a Native American of the Shagticoke branch of the Pequot tribe. Ebenezer attended the Wesleyan Academy at Wilbraham, Massachusetts, and graduated with honors from the Connecticut State Normal School. While principal of a high school in New Haven, Connecticut, he continued his studies at Yale College, where he seems to have been held in wide respect. From 1857 to 1869 Bassett was principal of the Institute for Colored Youth in Philadelphia, a school founded by Quakers for the education of Colored Youth in school learning and to prepare them to become teachers In addition to his duties as principal Bassett taught mathematics natural sciences and classics he also acted as school librarian The mayor of Philadelphia referred to the school under ...

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

Patrick Bellegarde-Smith

was born Louis-Marie Dantès Bellegarde in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on 18 May 1877. His parents were Marie Boisson, a seamstress, and Jean-Louis Bellegarde, the director of the botanical gardens of the School of Medicine. He married Cecile Savain in 1902 and had seven children (Auguste, Argentine, Jeanne, Marie, Simone, Fernande, and Jean). Two of his five daughters, Marie and Fernande, were founding members of Haiti’s first women’s movement in the early 1930s. These daughters followed in the footsteps of Bellegarde’s aunt, Argentine Bellegarde, a well-known feminist educator and a major influence on the life of young Dantès.

Bellegarde took it as an omen that he was born on the day of the creation of the Haitian flag in 1803 He lived all his life in the neighborhood of Lalue then a middle class area near the National Palace His family on both sides had become poor though they had ...