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Former Burundi President Pierre Buyoya Tells Students a More Peaceful Africa is Emerging

By ADD SEYMOUR JR.


Former Burundi President Pierre Buyoya told a group of students, faculty and staff that Africa is emerging from a dark backdrop of war, poverty and chaos that has shrouded the continent for decades.

“Africa is changing,” Buyoya said during his lecture at Sale Hall’s Chapel of the Inward Journey on Sept. 10. “In different corners of the continent, African leaders are working to make those changes possible. Peace and stability are becoming the top priority of the African Union and the countries in Africa.”

Buyoya’s lecture was part of a two-day visit to Morehouse, jointly sponsored by the Leadership Center at Morehouse College and the African Presidential Archives and Research Center (APARC) at Boston University. The Leadership Center is part of the African and American Universities Collaborative, which unites institutions on both continents through APARC.

Buyoya, Burundi’s president from 1987 to1993 and 1996 to2003, is at Morehouse as the Lloyd G. Balfour African President-in-Residence. Previous presidents-in-residence have come from Zambia, Botswana, Liberia, Mauritius and Cape Verde.

“This relationship that we’ve crafted…has gotten sweeter as the years have gone by,” said Ambassador Charles R. Stith, APARC director. “We must know the stories of our past if we are to craft relative visions for the future.”

During his lecture, Buyoya told stories of the chaotic history of Burundi, an East African nation of eight million people. Ethnic strife between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes has caused sporadic warring since the late 1950s. But Buyoya said stronger leadership, along with the democratization of African countries like Burundi, has ushered an era of peace and stability into the region.

“It is obvious Africa still faces a lot of challenges,” he said. “But there is optimism…This process is not quite over. But I think there is no threat to peace in Burundi now.”

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