SORAC 2002 Keynote Speakers: Ali Mazrui & George Ayittey

SORAC 2002 International Conference
“Internalist vs. Externalist Interpretations of Africa History and Culture”
Keynote Speakers

  • Professor Ali Mazrui
    Binghamton University

    “Africa Between Westernization and Islamization: Penetration and Response”

  • Professor George Ayittey
    American University
    “Biting Their Own Tails: African Leaders and the Internalist Intricacies of the Rape of a Continent.”

Friday, November 8, Ballroom AA/AB, Student Center, 6:00pm

George B. N. Ayittey


George Ayittey

George B. N. Ayittey is Associate Professor of Economics at The American University, Washington, D.C. He was born in Ghana and is a former National Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is the author of Indigenous African Institutions (1991), Africa Betrayed (1993) and Africa in Chaos (1998; 1999) and has served as a consultant to the World Bank and U.S. AID, as well as testified before the U.S. Congress on Africa-related issues.

Dr. Ayittey’s numerous articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Globe C? Mail, International Herald Tribune and the London Times. He has also written for many African newspapers including Ghana Drum, The Christian Messenger The Sowetan and The Continent.

Ali A. Mazrui


Ali Mazrui

ALI A. MAZRUI was born in Mombasa, Kenya, on February 24, 1933. He is now Albert Schweitzer Professor in the Humanities and Director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies at Binghamton University, State University of New York. He is also Albert Luthuli Professor-at-Large at the University of Jos in Nigeria. He is Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large Emeritus and Senior Scholar in Africana Studies at Cornell University. He was Ibn Khaldun Professor-at-Large, Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences, Leesburg, Virginia (1997-2000). He was also Walter Rodney Professor at the University of Guyana, Georgetown, Guyana (1997-1998). Mazrui obtained his B.A. with Distinction from Manchester University in England, his M.A. from Columbia University in New York, and his doctorate from Oxford University in England. For ten years he was at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda, where he served as head of the Department of Political Science and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. He once served as Vice-President of the International Political Science Association and has lectured in five continents. Professor Mazrui also served as professor of political science (1974-1991) and as Director of the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies (1978-1981) at The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. He has also been Visiting Scholar at Stanford, Chicago, Colgate, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Oxford, Harvard, Bridgewater, Cairo, Leeds, Nairobi, Teheran, Denver, London, Ohio State, Baghdad, McGill, Sussex, Pennsylvania, etc. Dr. Mazrui has also served as Special Advisor to the World Bank. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the American Muslim Council, Washington, D.C., and is chair of the Board of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, Washington, D.C. He is also on the Board of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., and is a Fellow of the Institute of Governance and Social Research, Jos, Nigeria. He has also chaired the Development Policy Management Forum, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

His more than twenty books include Towards a Pax Africana (1967), and The Political Sociology of the English Language (1975). He has also published a novel entitled The Trial of Christopher Okigbo (1971). His research interests include African politics, international political culture, political Islam, and North-South relations. Other books include Africa’s International Relations (Heinemann and Westview Press, 1977), Political Values and the Educated Class in Africa (Heinemann Educational Books and University of California Press, 1978,), and The Political Culture of Language: Swahili, Society, and the State, co-author Alamin M. Mazrui, (IGCS and James Currey, 1995). His most comprehensive books include A World Federation of Cultures: An African Perspective (published by the Free Press in New York in 1976) and Cultural Forces in World Politics (James Currey and Heinemann, 1990). Among his books on language in society is The Power of Babel: Language and Governance in Africa’s Experience (co-author Alamin M. Mazrui) (James Currey and University of Chicago Press, 1998), which was launched in the House of Lords, London, at a historic ceremony saluting Mazrui’s works. He and Alamin M. Mazrui have also been working on a project on Black Reparations in the Era of Globalization.

Dr. Mazrui has also written for magazines and newspapers. He has been published in The Times (London), the New York Times, the Sunday Nation (Nairobi), Transition (Kampala and Cambridge, Mass., USA), Al-Ahram (Cairo), The Guardian (London) and (Lagos), The Economist (London) and the Cumhuriyet (Istanbul and Ankara), Yomiuri Shimbun (Tokyo and Osaka), International Herald Tribune (Paris), Elsevier (Amsterdam), Los Angeles Times Syndicate (USA) and Afrique 2000 (Brussels and Paris).

Professor Mazrui is married and has five sons (Jamal, Al’Amin, Kim Abubakar, Farid Chinedu and Harith Ekenechukwu). Dr. Mazrui is a Kenyan. One of his sons is also Kenyan and four are U.S. citizens.

Dr. Mazrui was President of the African Studies Association of the United States (1978 to 1979) and Vice-President of the International Congress of African Studies (1979-1991). He is also Vice-President of the Royal Africa Society in London. Dr. Mazrui has been elected an Honorary Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, and member of the College of Fellows of the International Association of Middle Eastern Studies. In 1979 Dr. Mazrui delivered the prestigious annual Reith Lectures of the British Broadcasting Corporation (named about the founder Director-General of the BBC, Lord Reith). The lectures (entitled The African Condition) have since been repeatedly reprinted by Cambridge University Press. The National University of Lesotho has awarded him a Distinguished Service honor, Nkumba University in Uganda and University of Ghana, Accra, have awarded him a Doctor of Letters (Honorary), and Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, USA, has elected him an Icon of the Twentieth Century. Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, has extended to him the DuBois-Garvey Award for Pan-African Unity. In 1999 he gave the Eric Williams Memorial lecture sponsored by the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago. Dr. Mazrui has been elected President of the Crescent University Foundation whose aim is to establish a modern world-class Muslim University in the United States.

In 1998 Professor Mazrui was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, England, and to the Board of Directors of the National Summit on Africa, Washington, D.C.. The year 1998 also marked the publication of the first comprehensive annotated bibliography of all Mazrui’s works (written and electronic) from 1962 to 1997 [The Mazruiana Collection, compiled by Abdul S. Bemath, and published by Sterling in New Delhi and Africa World Press in New Jersey]. Another book entitled The Global African: A Portrait of Ali A. Mazrui, edited by Omari H. Kokole, has also been published by Africa World Press in 1998.

Dr. Mazrui’s television work includes the widely discussed 1986 series The Africans: A Triple Heritage, (BBC and PBS). A book by the same title has been jointly published by BBC Publications and Little, Brown and Company. In 1986 the book was a best seller in Britain and was adopted or recommended by various Book Clubs in the U.S.A., including the Book of the Month Club. Dr. Mazrui has also published hundreds of articles in five continents.

The wide range of journals in which Dr. Mazrui has been published since 1990 alone include International Affairs (London), Internationle Politik (Bonn), East African Journal of Peace and Human Rights (Kampala), Kajian Malaysia (Penang), International Journal of the Sociology of Language (Berlin), Islamic Studies (Islamabad), Foreign Affairs (New York), Revue Africaine de Developpement (Abidjan), International Journal of Refugee Law (New York), and International Political Science Journal (Oxford).

Ali Mazrui is widely consulted on many issues including constitutional change and educational reform. Dr. Mazrui has been involved in a number of UN projects on matters which have ranged from human rights to nuclear proliferation. He is also internationally consulted on Islamic culture and Muslim history. He is editor of Volume VIII (Africa since 1935) of the UNESCO General History of Africa (1993). He has also served as Expert Advisor to the United Nations Commission on Transnational Corporations. Professor Mazrui has served on the editorial boards of more than twenty international scholarly journals. He won the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award of The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the Distinguished Africanist Award of the African Studies Association of the USA. He is a member of the Royal Commonwealth Trust and the Atheneum Club (London) and the United Kenya Club (Nairobi). Dr. Mazrui’s services to the Organization of African Unity include membership of the Group of Eminent Persons appointed in 1992 by the O.A.U. Presidential Summit to explore the issues of African Reparations for Enslavement and Colonization. He was also among the Eminent Personalities who advised on the transition form the OAU to the African Union (2002).

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