University of Pittsburgh
March 29, 2007

World-Renowned Scholar and Writer Ali Mazrui to Speak at Pitt


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH-Ali Mazrui, one of the most prolific writers on Africa and international politics, will speak at the Inaugural Pan-African Young Scholar Conference at the University of Pittsburgh March 31.

A by-invitation-only group of young scholars will meet with Mazrui at 12:15 p.m.

March 31 in room 204 of Pitt's Frick Fine Arts Building, 650 Schenley Dr., Oakland. Later that day, Mazrui will speak at a dinner at 7 p.m. at the Posvar Galleria, on the first floor of Posvar Hall, 230 So. Bouquet St., Oakland. The cost of the dinner is $25. Media are welcome at both events. For more information, call 678-908-7438.

The author of more than 30 books and hundreds of essays, Mazrui frequently referred to his own background-a combination of Islamic law, Kenyan culture, and Western education-as a reflection of the triple heritage that has shaped modern Africa.

He earned the Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Manchester, the Master of Arts degree at Columbia University, and the Ph.D. degree at Oxford University. He worked as a political analyst for the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), and taught at Makerere University in Uganda as well as at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, the University of California at Los Angeles, and Harvard University.

While serving as director of the University of Michigan's Center for Afroamerican and American Studies, Mazrui solidified his position as one of the most important writers on African politics in the world.

He wrote and hosted the nine-part television series The Africans: A Triple Heritage, which was shown on the BBC and in the United States on PBS, in 1986. While conservatives criticized the series for what they perceived as an anti-Western bias, Mazrui insisted that part of the program's intent was to present a purely African perspective in an effort to restore balance to the overwhelmingly pro-Western coverage of African matters generally seen by viewers in America.

Even while the controversy continued, Mazrui was named Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University. He later served as director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies at the State University of New York, Binghamton. He continues to serve in an advisory capacity to a number of organizations, including the United Nations, and has served on the board of several academic journals.