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National Security Council official discusses African affairs, off the record

In an off-the-record lecture Wednesday night, Jendayi Frazer, senior director for African affairs at the National Security Council, talked about the Bush administration's Africa policy to a small audience in Salomon 001.

Frazer discussed U.S. relations with countries in sub-Saharan Africa and listed the countries in the region that the United States regards as strategically important. She also described the Bush administration's HIV/AIDS and poverty alleviation programs. Frazer concluded by discussing the administration's efforts to end Africa's civil wars.

In the question-and-answer session that followed her lecture, several questions were posed about President George W. Bush's HIV/AIDS initiative and its focus on abstinence education. Other questions focused on the United States' involvement in Liberia and Africa's role in the war on terror.

Frazer's presentation was off the record because members of the National Security Council, with the exception of National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, are prohibited from speaking to the press, she told The Herald.

Thomas Lax '06, who attended the talk, said he thought Frazer was "very articulate, intelligent and knowledgeable," and that Bush is "lucky to have her as part of his National Security Council."

"There were definitely some issues I got another perspective on," he said. Lax said although he did not agree with all of Frazer's points, he will be better able to formulate his own opinions after hearing her lecture.

"I think it's really interesting to hear someone who's up there in terms of who makes decisions for the country and the world," he said.

Lax added that having the opportunity to ask Frazer questions made him feel less disconnected from the political process.

Ariana Balestrieri '06 said the lecture was "very informative and very straightforward" but lacked detail and analysis about some of the policies Frazer discussed. But "that's sort of to be expected, as she's representing the Bush administration," she said.

"The question-and-answer session was helpful in providing the detail on certain issues," she added.

Before being appointed to the National Security Council in February 2001, Frazer worked as an assistant professor of public policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. Frazer has also served as a political-military planner with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Department of Defense and worked on African security issues at the State Department and the United Nations Development Programme.

Frazer's lecture, titled "Bush Administration Africa Policy: A Focus on Results," was sponsored by the Thomas J. Watson Institute for International Studies as part of the Directors Lectures Series on Contemporary International Affairs.


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