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University of Iowa News Release


March 25, 2011

Update: Willibrod Slaa's trip is cancelled and he will not be giving the keynote lecture or speaking at the March 31 ICFRC

UI symposium will focus on future democracy of East Africa April 1, 2

The University of Iowa African Studies Program will hold a symposium titled "The Future of Multiparty Democracy in East Africa" from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, April 1 and from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 2, in 1117 University Capitol Centre as part of an International Programs major project grant. All events are free and open to the public.

The symposium will bring together prominent politicians and journalists as well as leading scholarly experts on African politics from around the United States and East Africa to address multiparty politics in Tanzania and Uganda, the role of the media in democratic politics, trends in African democratization, Muslim politics in Tanzania, women and democratization and the history of opposition politics in Tanzania, among other topics.

"As we have seen recently in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere across Africa, citizens are conducting fierce but principled struggles to expand civil liberties and democratic rights," said James Giblin, co-director of the African Studies Program and history professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. "With this symposium, the African Studies Program will offer the university and local communities a rare opportunity to meet and hear leading proponents of democratization in East Africa."

A keynote lecture will be presented at 3:30 p.m. Friday, April 1, by Willibrod Slaa, titled "The Current Political Situation in Africa: Evolving Trends in Political Power." Slaa is secretary general of CHADEMA, or "Chama cha Maendeleo na Demokrasia," which translates to the Party for Democracy and Development. CHADEMA is the leading opposition political party in Tanzania. Slaa was the presidential candidate of CHADEMA in the 2010 general election and placed second after the incumbent president.

During his visit to Iowa City, Slaa will also give a presentation on "Multiparty Politics in the United Republic of Tanzania" Thursday, March 31, at noon at the Congregational Church, 30 N. Clinton in Iowa City. The lecture is free and open to the public with an RSVP required at An optional lunch is available at a cost of $8 for members of the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council and $9 for nonmembers. Luncheon reservations are due by noon Wednesday, March 30.

"With the dramatic changes taking place in North Africa and the Middle East, this symposium is an extremely timely event," said Downing Thomas, associate provost and dean of International Programs. "International Programs is delighted to have the opportunity to bring a major African politician to Iowa to interact with students, faculty and community members."

The symposium is also part of the African Studies Program's "Celebration of East Africa" spring 2011 lecture series.

For a complete list of symposium participants and the full program schedule, visit

These events are funded by the U.S. Department of Education through an Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language grant to the African Studies Program and a UI International Programs major project grant.

The Iowa City Foreign Relations Council is a community partner of UI International Programs.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500
MEDIA CONTACTS: James Giblin, African Studies Program, 319-335-2288,; Lois J. Gray, University News Services, 319-384-0077,; Writer: Katelyn McBride