by Africa Policy Information Center
Washington, DC, United States
9 pages
Type: Report
Coverage in Africa: South Africa, Southern Africa, Africa
Coverage outside Africa: United States
Language: English
Contents: The Genesis of the Africa Policy Information Center • Africa Policy Information Center: Towards a Greater Grassroots Voice for Africa • 1992: The Planning Phase • Board of Directors • Staff • The report says the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) -- formerly the Washington Office on Africa Educational Fund -- is located in Washington, DC and affiliated with the Washington Office on Africa. The report says APIC's goals are to: identify critical policy issues in U.S.I/African relations; bring in diverse perspectives from African and North American grassroots groups and scholars as well as governmental and non-governmental participants in the policy process; and make information and analysis accessible to a broad range of U.S. public constituencies. The report says the Africa Policy Information Center has emerged from discussions among the board and staff of the Washington Office on Africa Educational Fund, a 50l(c)(3) affiliate of the Washington Office on Africa; the Washington Office on Africa (WOA), a lobbying organization, was founded in 1972 by a coalition of religious denominations and trade unions; the Washington Office on Africa Educational Fund (WOAEF) was approved as a 50l(c)(3) organization in 1978; the mandate of both organizations was to support the movement for freedom from white-minority rule in southern Africa, and to serve as a resource for the broader anti-apartheid network, including churches, unions, other anti-apartheid groups and a wide variety of other non-governmental organizations. The report says the distinctive role that WOA and WOAEF played within the anti-apartheid movement has been to provide information and action resources addressed to policy in Washington, and particularly within the congressional arena; WOA/WOAEF have provided timely information on the legislative process, facilitated joint campaigns and lobbying efforts, and enhanced coordination and exchange of information among groups working together in the anti-apartheid movement; WOA has helped coordinate the regular meetings and strategy sessions of the Southern Africa Working Group of non-governmental organizations; WOAEF has concentrated on producing accessible public education materials, which have been widely used by WOA's sponsoring organizations and throughout the anti-apartheid movement. The report says beginning in late 1990, WOA/WOAEF undertook an internal study of their organizational missions and future directions, involving the staff, members of both boards and outside consultants; in late 1991, the board of directors of the Washington Office on Africa Educational Fund decided to initiate plans for the Africa Policy Information Center; at the beginning of 1992, the Washington Office on Africa board of directors approved a new mission statement expanding WOA' s scope of work beyond southern Africa to issues affecting grassroots African interests throughout the continent; in 1992, the WOAEF board approved "Africa Policy Information Center" as the new name for WOAEF. The report says the Washington Office on Africa and Africa Policy Information Center have particular strengths to contribute to the tasks of building up the network of Africa-advocacy individuals and groups, and of facilitating linkages to the Washington policy arena for grassroots Americans and Africans; WOA/WOAEF have a wide variety of contacts with grassroots groups in southern Africa, with Africanist academics and grassroots activists in the United States, with Congress, and with a wide range of national groups having some concern with African issues. The report says WOA also has a tradition of functioning as a resource to wider organizational networks, and of a collaborative, coalition-building style of work; WOA has consistently provided timely information on legislation relating to southern Africa and congressional positions to grassroots delegations from churches and anti-apartheid groups, as well as to other Washington groups working on the issues. WOAEF has a history of combining careful research with an emphasis on publications which are suitable for grassroots constituencies. The report says the people of southern Africa and the rest of the continent need and deserve solidarity from the rest of the world, for both moral and practical reasons; African demands for full democracy should be as compelling as those of people in Eastern Europe or the former Soviet Union; and their quest for a just share of the world economy's surplus, if thwarted, will produce recurrent crises that an interdependent world will not be able to shove aside forever. The report says in 1992, APIC also published its first Backgrounder, "Africa: Dispelling the Myths"; APIC backgrounders are brief summaries of essential background data; "Dispelling the Myths" is a two-page document which provides a map of Africa and basic demographic information, an overview of the continent's political systems and economies, and introductions to the following issues: militarism and famine, the U.S. and aid to Africa, the environment, and jobs and justice; APIC strongly believes that short, basic publications such as "Africa: Dispelling the Myths" are critical to informing the American public and ultimately involving them in policy discussions. The report discusses the African Studies Association (ASA), the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars (ACAS), Nelson Mandela, the legacy of inequality and violence, Africa-focused groups, TransAfrica, African American Institute, American Committee on Africa (ACOA), Africare, , Africa Watch,  the Africa Faith and Justice Network, a grassroots constituency for Africa, media, Africa News, African Alternative Framework to Structural Adjustment Programs for Socio-Economic Recovery and Transformation (AAF-SAF), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, "The Kampala Document: Towards a Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation in Africa", the Africa Leadership Forum, Interaction, Bread for the World, Global Exchange, outreach programs at African Studies Centers, and Imani Countess.
Used by permission of Africa Action (successor to the Africa Policy Information Center).
Collection: William Minter Southern Africa Papers