Sep 23, 2010
By Hannah Meiser and Monica Chapman
Ohio University is preparing for the arrival of His Excellency Festus Gontebanye Mogae, the former president of the Republic of Botswana, on Sunday, Sept. 26.
Mogae served as president of Botswana from 1998 to 2008 and was only the third president in the young African nation’s history. Highlights of his three-day campus tour will include an African leadership workshop and two public speaking engagements.
According to Dan Weiner, executive director of the Center for International Studies, the purpose of Mogae’s visit is to educate the campus community about a successful African nation.
“Too often, the press only focuses on Africa’s problems,” he said. “This visit brings an example of outstanding African leadership at a time when African economic development is accelerating again.”
On Monday, Sept. 27, Mogae will deliver his keynote address on African leadership and socioeconomic development in Africa. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Baker University Center Ballroom.
On Tuesday, Sept. 28, Mogae will speak on international comparative education, as part of the Violet L. Patton Lecture Series. The event will take place from noon to 2:15 p.m. in McCracken Hall 214. Lunch will be provided.
Mogae will also have a chance to mingle with OHIO’s African student population during the African Leadership Workshop, which takes place Monday from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Baker University Center Multicultural Room.
Through these interactions, Ohio University students will have a rare chance to brush shoulders with international leadership and gain insight into global affairs.
“Anytime you bring a former head of state onto a campus, this is a great learning opportunity,” said Weiner. “Botswana is a stable democracy with a high rate of economic growth. It is an important example for other African nations.”
Mogae studied economics at Oxford University and the University of Sussex. Before becoming president, he held positions in Botswana’s Ministry of Finance, the International Monetary Fund, and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, among others.
He became Vice President in 1992 and was also the leader of the House for the Botswana National Assembly. He now serves as Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General on Climate Change.
Mogae’s visit to Ohio University is being sponsored by the Center for International Studies, College of Business, Office of the President and the Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education and Human Services.
After departing Athens, Mogae will travel to Columbus to give a presentation on the impact of imports and direct foreign investment on Botswana’s economy.