Africare President, Co-Founder C. Payne Lucas to Retire

Tami Hultman / AllAfrica
C. Payen Lucas (r) and his wife, Freddie Lucas, receiving an award from UNDP in 2009.
press release

Washington, DC — Board Appoints as New President Julius E. Coles: 28-Year USAID Veteran and Director of International Affairs Centers at Howard University and Morehouse College

Africare Chairman of the Board George A. Dalley, Esq., announced today that C. Payne Lucas, co-founder of Africare and its President for the past 31 years, will retire from the staff this summer -- to be succeeded as President by Julius E. Coles: a 28-year veteran of the U.S. Agency for International Development, first Director of the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University and, at present, Director of the Andrew Young Center for International Affairs at Morehouse College. Coles has also served on the Africare Board since 1997.

"I know that I speak on behalf of the entire Africare family when I say how fortunate we are to have attracted as our new President a person of the stature of Julius E. Coles," stated Dalley. "Here is an individual with immense capacity for leadership -- fashioned by more than 40 years of experience, education and commitment to African development -- and deep affinity for the continent and people of Africa. His strong background in international development and academia prepare him well to take the helm of our organization, which has built what we consider to be a fine record and reputation over the past 31 years and which is now ready to move to another level.

"We face the complementary tasks," Dalley continued, "of increasing the resources available to Africa and helping Africa to manage those resources more effectively on its own. We must redouble our efforts to help Africa to become a true partner in the global community, to meet the challenge of HIV/AIDS head-on, to move forward with capacity-building, to address issues such as 'good governance,' conflict resolution and civil-society development. We must ask ourselves, how can Africare contribute more to Africa's ability to take charge of its future? Julius is sensitive to those sorts of questions."

The transition period will begin on June 16, 2002, when Coles officially joins the Africare staff as President. Lucas will remain at Africare, working closely with Coles to ensure a smooth transition, through the end of July.

C. Payne Lucas: "The Difference One Human Being Can Make"

Founder of Africare, former Africa Regional Director of the Peace Corps, speaker, writer and activist, C. Payne Lucas has brought a unique blend of passion and steadfast commitment to his 40-year career in African development. He has been honored by several Presidents of the United States as well as by leaders of more than two dozen nations of Africa -- from decorations of the National Orders of Benin, Cote d'Ivoire, Niger, Senegal and Zambia to the 1984 U.S. Presidential End Hunger Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement "in the effort to achieve a world without hunger."

On receiving the End Hunger Award, Lucas was described as "a can-do optimist who combines the persuasive powers of a tent evangelist and a traveling salesman." In 1993, then-Rep. Kweisi Mfume, in his capacity as Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, praised Lucas's "labors in developing nations throughout the continent of Africa. But just as important as your work," Mfume continued, "is your leadership by example, which demonstrates the difference one human being can make when committed to the cause of human dignity and global justice."

Lucas was born in 1933 in Spring Hope, N.C. Following four years in the Air Force, he received his B.A. in history from the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, and his master's degree in government from the American University School for International Studies.

In 1962, he joined the staff of the fledgling Peace Corps, under the agency's organizer and first Director, Sargent Shriver. There, until 1971, Lucas served successively as Assistant Country Director in Togo, Country Director in Niger, Director of the Africa Region and, finally, Director of the Office of Returned Volunteers. For his work in the Peace Corps, Lucas received the President's Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service in 1967. As a part of the award presentation, then-Vice President Hubert Humphrey praised Lucas by saying, "I am indeed proud of the success of the Peace Corps, and it is due in large part to the kind of dedication and spirit you have exemplified."

Lucas left the Peace Corps in 1971 and, with African and American leaders and development experts, founded Africare. The organization began with a skeletal staff in a few rented rooms within the Embassy of Niger, in Washington, D.C. Today, Africare is the oldest and largest African-American nonprofit organization specializing in aid to Africa. Its more than 150 programs now reach families and communities in 27 nations, from Egypt to South Africa and from Nigeria to Mozambique. Assistance provided by Africare is in the broad areas of civil-society development and governance, food security and agriculture, health and HIV/AIDS, and emergency humanitarian response. Donors range from corporations and foundations to the U.S. government and international organizations such as the U.N. Africare is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with field offices in 27 countries of Africa.

"C. Payne has had a strong impact on us all. He will be missed as a member of the Africare staff," noted George Dalley. Lucas will continue his affiliation through his upcoming membership on the Africare Board, through projects within Africare such as the Africare Bishop Walker Dinner, and through external initiatives in areas such as African trade, governance and the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Julius E. Coles: "A Deep Commitment to the African People"

After a 28-year career of distinction with the U.S. Agency for International Development -- Mission Director in Swaziland and Senegal; additional service in Vietnam, Morocco, Liberia, Nepal and Washington, D.C. -- Coles retired from the federal government in 1994 with the rank of Career Minister. He went on to serve as the first Director of the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University (1994-1997) and, at Morehouse College, the first Director of the Andrew Young Center for International Affairs (1997-2002).

Coles's numerous awards include the Distinguished Career Service Award (1995), the Presidential Meritorious Service Award (1983-1986) and Senegal's Commander in the Order of the Lion (1994). In addition to Africare, Boards on which Coles serves include Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School, the Mountain Institute, the International Youth Leadership Fund, the Georgia Council for International Visitors, the Atlanta International Museum and the Fulbright Association of Georgia. Among other affiliations, he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Bretton Woods Committee. In 1997, he was appointed by UNESCO to serve on the Commission on the Gorée [Senegal] Memorial.

Coles was born in 1942 in Atlanta, Ga. He is a graduate of Morehouse College (B.A., Political Science, Economics and French, 1964) and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School (M.P.A., International Relations/Modernization, 1966); and he has pursued additional studies at the Foreign Service Institute's Senior Seminar/University of Geneva in Switzerland (French), the Federal Executive Institute in Washington, D.C. (Management) and the Institut de Français in France (French).

"At the end of the day," said Africare Chairman Dalley, "Julius and C. Payne and all of us at Africare believe that it will be the African people who will save Africa and make Africa the continent we know it can be. Julius has a deep commitment to those people. That is why he has earned so much respect to date. That, too, is why we believe he will succeed in building an Africare that will continue to thrive, to exemplify compassion and to empower others over the decades to come."

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