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Alum Lectures on International Development

September 7, 2017

Students at Florida State University are getting a valuable opportunity to hear from someone with an impressive record of achievement in the field of international development when alumnus BJ Pittman (B.S. ’97, Economics) speaks on campus.

Pittman’s talk, “From Intelligence to Policy to Venture Capital: How to Think About Your Career in International Affairs,” may be geared to students majoring in that discipline, but those studying other subjects, such as economics, entrepreneurship, geography and political science, will benefit greatly from his experience and insight – and so will members of the general public interested in Pittman’s perspective on shaping policy, particularly as it pertains to relations with African countries.

The lecture, which is free and open to everyone, takes place Thursday, September 7, 5:00 p.m., in the DeVoe Moore Conference Center, 150E Bellamy Building.

From 2006 to 2009, Pittman served as the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs in the White House. He was the administration’s lead advisor on Africa issues as well as President George Bush’s Africa Personal Representative (APR) to the G8.

He was a key architect and the lead U.S. negotiator of the 100 percent debt relief proposal endorsed by the G8 at the Gleneagles Summit in July 2005. To date, this effort has delivered more than $40 billion in debt stock cancellation for the world’s poorest countries.

Currently, he is the managing partner at Kupanda Capital, an investment platform established to create, capitalize and scale pan-African companies. Africa Fund Manager magazine has named him to its inaugural 'Power 50' list of industry leaders who are shaping investment trends in Africa. He also serves on the boards of Africare and the Center for Global Development.

Prior to Kupanda Capital, Pittman was Vice President of Infrastructure, Private Sector and Regional Integration at the African Development Bank. There he managed one of the largest portfolios in Africa, including more than $25 billion in active projects across 52 African countries.

In addition to service in the White House, he has held senior positions at several U.S. government agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Council, Treasury Department and State Department.

“We’re proud and delighted to have an alumnus of BJ Pittman’s caliber come to campus and share his expertise and knowledge to help students in their career paths,” said Tim Chapin, Dean of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy, which is sponsoring the talk. “This kind of alumni connection is one of the hallmarks of our Get More Than a Degree initiative. BJ is a great supporter of our Social Science Scholars program and comes to us with a remarkable level of achievement that we know will benefit anyone who hears him speak.”

While on campus, Pittman will also meet with chairs and faculty of the college’s Departments of Geography and International Affairs and the Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship.