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Former U.S. ambassador to address America’s foreign policy toward Africa

October 20, 2015

Lisle, Illinois ~ Ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria and Yemen, a eurozone still on an economic knife's edge, the Iranian nuclear program and deeply unsettled transitions across the Middle East have not given the United States much time to contemplate Africa.

Although trade between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa has grown over the past decade, it accounts for less than 2 percent of all U.S. goods trade. After reaching its peak in 2010, U.S. democracy assistance to Africa has dropped nearly 20 percent over the past four years, to $257 million in 2013.

What is the United States' policy toward Africa?

Robin Renee Sanders, D.Sc., former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, will address that question when she presents "U.S. Policy toward Africa: What is it and why is it important?" as part of the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows Public Lecture Series at 7:00 p.m.; on Thursday, October 29 in the Presentation Room of the Krasa Student Center on the campus of Benedictine University.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

The Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program, which is administered by the Council of Independent Colleges in Washington, D.C., brings prominent artists, diplomats, journalists, business leaders and other professionals to campuses across the United States for a weeklong residential program of classes, seminars, workshops, lectures and informal discussions.

Sanders is the former ambassador to the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Republic of the Congo, and former director of the Africa National Security Council at the White House. She currently serves as CEO of FEEEDS Advocacy Initiative, which focuses on food security, education, environment, economic development and self-help projects, particularly in Africa, and also provides business solutions in this area.

A noted international lecturer, writer and thought-leader on Africa, Sanders has lectured on international and African affairs, national security strategies, strategic and cultural communications, and conflict resolution. Her other areas of expertise are election and democratic processes, smart food security-environment systems, education and the environment.

Sanders serves on the U.S. Trade Africa Advisory Committee on Africa, is chairwoman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States' Sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Committee and is a member of the prestigious American Academy of Diplomacy of former U.S. Ambassadors. She serves as an expert on Africa for Al Jazeera America and China TV, has appeared on NPR, MSNBC, ABC's "This Week," CNN and Bloomberg.  

Sanders earned a doctorate in Information Systems and Communications at Robert Morris University in Moon, Penn., master's degrees in International Relations, Africa Studies and Communications at Ohio University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications at Hampton University. She is a recipient of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff Civilian Honor Award, three Superior Honor and four Meritorious Honor Awards from the U.S. State Department, the "Medal of Honor" from the President of the Republic of the Congo, is cited in Who's Who in America, and is a member of the U.S. National Scholar Society for her public policy and academic work.

For more information about the lecture or the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program, call (630) 829-6247.


Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 56 undergraduate majors and 16 graduate and four doctoral programs. Benedictine University is ranked  No. 2 among the country's fastest-growing campuses between 2003-2013 in The Chronicle of Higher Education's list of private nonprofit doctoral institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the fifth consecutive year in 2015. Benedictine University's Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain's Chicago Business as the fifth largest in the Chicago area in 2015.

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