Delano E. Lewis, country director for the Peace Corps in Nigeria and Uganda from 1966 to 1969

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By Admin1 (admin) on Thursday, July 05, 2001 - 8:39 am: Edit Post

Delano E. Lewis, country director for the Peace Corps in Nigeria and Uganda from 1966 to 1969 Discusses U.S.-South Africa Relations

Delano E. Lewis, country director for the Peace Corps in Nigeria and Uganda from 1966 to 1969 Discusses U.S.-South Africa Relations

Mr. Chairman:

I am honored to appear before you and the distinguished members of this committee as President Clinton's nominee to be Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa. I would like to thank the President and Secretary of State Albright for the confidence and trust they have shown in nominating me for this position.

Mr. Chairman, my wife Gayle and I are most honored to have the opportunity to continue our service to the United States, and if I am confirmed, to return to Africa, where we lived more than 30 years ago. As Associate Director and Country Director for the Peace Corps in Nigeria and Uganda, I came to know Africa during a time when much of the continent was trying to cope with the enormous challenges of independence. Although optimism abounded, these proved to be difficult years, foreshadowing the struggles of the decades that have ensued. As a witness to the Biafra conflict, charged with ensuring the well-being of our Peace Corps volunteers, I experienced firsthand the agony and dislocation that results from a dreadful civil war. At the same time, however, I saw during those years the promise of a continent whose emergence as a vital and vibrant member of the global community is unfolding --however unevenly -- before our eyes. South Africa's remarkable achievement during this decade is only one compelling example of this process of growth and change.

Apart from my service in Africa from 1966-69, I believe that my almost 40 years of experience in government, business, and voluntary organizations will stand me in good stead in the position for which I have been nominated. I began my career in government in 1963, as a new attorney with the Justice Department and later in the Office of Compliance in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. On my return from Africa in 1969, I worked as Director of the East and Southern Africa Division of the Peace Corps. I then moved to Capitol Hill, where I was privileged to serve Edward Brooke, of Massachusetts, as legislative assistant and Delegate Walter Fauntroy, of the District of Columbia, as administrative assistant.

I honed my business skills during a 21-year career with C&P Telephone Company and Bell Atlantic, here in Washington DC, rising through the ranks to become president and chief executive officer. I then served as president and CEO of National Public Radio from 1994 through 1998. Throughout these years in business, I have been active in civic and cultural affairs. I am grateful to have been selected "Man of the Year" by the Greater Washington Board of Trade in 1992 and to have received the Distinguished Leadership Award and Media Spotlight Award from Amnesty International in 1997.

Mr. Chairman, South Africa has recently taken another historic step in its passage from apartheid to democracy. The peaceful, free, and fair national elections held on June 2 of this year highlighted the remarkable progress South Africa has achieved in solidifying its new democracy in the five short years since apartheid ended in 1994. The elections also showed unmistakably the commitment of South Africa's people to peaceful political change under a democratic system of government. The new government led by President Thabo Mbeki faces many daunting challenges. I believe that my experience in the business, government, and civic sectors can be of great benefit to the United States as we work both to strengthen our bilateral relations and to help South Africa realize its political, economic and social transformation. If confirmed, I look forward to working closely with you and other members of Congress to advance our goals and objectives in South Africa.

I would like to take a moment to express my profound admiration for Nelson Mandela, who on June 16 stepped down as South Africa's first democratically elected president. Last September, here on Capitol Hill, the Congress bestowed its Gold Medal on then-President Mandela, the first African to receive this august award. That event symbolized dramatically the friendly ties and growing links between the United States and South Africa, as well as our strong support for South Africa's goals of reconciliation, democracy and prosperity, all embodied so nobly by Mr. Mandela. I hope South Africa and the world will continue to benefit from his wise counsel for many years to come.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank my wife Gayle, my children, and my grandchildren for their unwavering support to me as I have prepared for this challenging new assignment. If I am confirmed, I know their faith and confidence will continue to sustain me.

I would be pleased to take your questions.

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Story Source: US Embassy in South Africa

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Nigeria; COS - South Africa; Country Directors - Nigeria; Country Directors - Uganda



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