US-AFRICA: Gbabgo offered position at Boston

Dressed in a sagging white tank top and wearing a forlorn gaze, Cote d'Ivoire's deposed leader Laurent Gbagbo was dragged from his bunker after four months of refusing to step down from the presidency. But he had been offered another, less painful, end to his 11-year rule by US President Barack Obama - a teaching position at Boston University, writes Elizabeth Haggarty for the Toronto Star.

How does a leader go from despot to university lecturer candidate? The African Presidential Archives and Research Centre at Boston University is the brainchild of its director Charles Stith, a Methodist minister who became US ambassador to Tanzania. It is here that ousted African rulers can transform from leaders to lecturers in the 15-month tenure offered by Boston University's President-in-Residence programme.

"These guys, who have left office through a democratic process, continue to have a lot to give," Stith told the Star. "By engaging these folks we validate what they have to give and we provide a platform to help change the discussion about African leaders." While Gbagbo never responded to the offer of tenure at Boston University, six former African leaders have, the most recent being former Botswana president Festus Gontebanye Mogae.
Full report on the Toronto Star site