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Former Liberian President Amos Sawyer Speaks at DePauw March 31

March 26, 2005

amos sawyer.gifMarch 26, 2005, Greencastle, Ind. - Amos Sawyer, the former president of Liberia and now associate director and research scholar at Indiana University's Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, will come to the campus of DePauw University next Thursday, March 31. Dr. Sawyer will speak at 4 p.m. in the auditorium of the Richard E. Peeler Art Center. Sponsored by the department of conflict studies at DePauw, the event is free and open to all.

"It was only supposed to be six months. When Amos Sawyer accepted the presidency of Liberia in 1990, he did so intending to hold office just long enough to restore peace in what had become one of the most violent places on earth," notes an article in Indiana University's alumni magazine. "But six months became four years. Attempts on Sawyer's life were frequent. And everywhere, every minute, was war."

Liberia faces a tragedy," says Sawyer, who served as president from 1990-94. "We have an economic situation unlike any in history -- 85 percent unemployment, 14 years of violent conflict, 3 million people displaced."

Amos Sawyer holds a B.A. in history and government from the University of Liberia, Monrovia, and masters and doctoral degrees in political science from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. At the University of Liberia, Dr. Sawyer served as director of the Institute of Research and as dean of the College of Social Samos sawyer 2.jpgcience and Humanities. He was the chairman of Liberia's constitution drafting commission in early 1980s and headed the first interim government of Liberia during the outbreak of violent conflict in early 1990s. He has written extensively on conflict resolution and governance challenges in Africa and has been active in conflict resolution and democratization initiatives in many African countries.

In 2001, he headed the the Organization of African Union's (now African Union) mission to oversee Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections. He has also led consultancy missions for several United Nations agencies involved in peace-building in African conflicts. Dr. Sawyer's current research investigates the possibilities of attaining local self-governance in Africa's democratization processes.

(bottom photo by Nick Kapke)