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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                      (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
For Immediate Release                                    October 8, 1997


Appointment of Reverend Jesse Jackson as Special Envoy for the President and the Secretary of State for the Promotion of Democracy in Africa

The President today announced the Administration's intent to appoint Reverend Jesse Jackson to be Special Envoy for the President and the Secretary of State for the promotion of democracy in Africa.

Reverend Jackson will undertake specific projects to further the President's and the Secretary of State's objectives to bolster democratic progress, promote good governance, and build and sustain democratic reform in Africa. In these special projects, Reverend Jackson will also undertake to encourage greater respect for human rights and the improved functioning of democratic institutions throughout the continent, and build bridges to further cooperation with Africa.

Reverend Jackson has long experience in international affairs. He has traveled widely throughout Africa -- most recently as co-leader of a Presidential mission to the African African-American Summit in Zimbabwe. At President Clinton's request, Reverend Jackson led the team of U.S. observers to the 1994 elections in South Africa. He has also traveled extensively in the former Soviet Union, Central and South America, and the Middle East and negotiated the release of prisoners from Syria, Iraq and Cuba.

Reverend Jackson is the Founder and President of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, an organization devoted to bringing people together across lines of race, class, gender and belief to promote peace, civil rights and economic and social justice. Reverend Jackson has crossed America encouraging academic excellence, drug-free lifestyles and hope in America's youth.

Born on October 8, 1941 in Greenville, South Carolina, Reverend Jackson attended the University of Illinois from 1960-61, then transferred to North Carolina AT&T State University, where he received his B.A. in 1964. He attended the Chicago Theological Seminary until he joined the civil rights movement full-time in 1966 under Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Reverend Jackson has been married to the former Jacqueline Lavinia Brown since 1963. They have five children.