View Header


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 21, 1995
                            TO SOUTH AFRICA

The President today announced his intent to nominate James A. Joseph of Virginia as Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa.

Mr. Joseph is President and Chief Operating Officer of the Council on Foundations. He joined the Council in 1982, after a distinguished career in government, business and education. He was the Under Secretary of the Interior from 1977 through 1981, and a Vice President of Cummins Engine Company and President of the Cummins Engine Foundation from 1972-1977.

Mr. Joseph has served four U.S. Presidents. He was appointed Under Secretary of the Interior by President Jimmy Carter and also served as Chairman of the Presidentially-appointed Commission on the Northern Mariana Islands. Mr. Joseph was a member of the Advisory Committee to the Agency for International Development under President Reagan, and was appointed an incorporating director of the Points of Light Foundation and a member of the Presidential Commission on Historically Black Colleges by President Bush. President Clinton appointed him Chairman of the Board of the Corporation for National Service. Mr. Joseph often represents the United States abroad, and has served as the Chairman of official U.S. government delegations to Mexico, Micronesia, Canada and a United Nations conference in Kenya, and as a member of specially-invited, citizen delegations to the former Soviet Union, Japan, Ethiopia, Israel, Costa Rica and Southern Africa.

He first visited South Africa in 1973 and since then has been involved in a wide variety of initiatives in support of South Africans working for political, economic and social change. As President of the Council on Foundations, he consulted with leaders of the African National Congress on the involvement of foundations in South Africa, and was a founder of the Affinity Group on Southern Africa to encourage grants to the region. He has met many of the new leaders of South Africa, including President Mandela, whom he first met in 1992.

Born in Opelousas, Louisiana, March 12, 1925, he is a graduate of Southern University and Yale Divinity School. He has taught at Yale University and The Claremont Colleges, and has served as a Visiting Fellow at Nuffield College at Oxford University. Mr. Joseph also taught at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he was a leader in the local civil rights movement. An ordained minister, he was also Chaplain of The Claremont Colleges, and a member of the Faculty of the School of Theology.

Mr. Joseph, who served as a First Lieutenant in the United States Army form 1956-1958, is widowed. He has two children, Jeffrey, a graduate of Princeton University, who is a Vice President of Ogilvy, Adams and Reinhardt: and Denise, a graduate of the University of New Mexico, who is now a graduate student at Howard University.

Mr. Joseph is the author of two widely acclaimed books, The Charitable Impulse and Remaking America. He is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and his undergraduate alma mater, Southern University has named an endowed chair in his honor.

Mr. Joseph is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Overseas Development Council and the National Academy of Public Administration. He serves on the Board of Directors of The Brookings Institution, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the National Endowment for Democracy, Africare, TransAfrica and the Children's Defense Fund. A former member of the Boards of Pitzer College and Union Theological Seminary in New York, he has also served on advisory committees to the National Academy of Sciences and the Association of American Colleges.