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This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

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Archbishop - Education crucial to Africa

Wednesday 20th July 2005

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams has urged the development of university education in Africa as crucial to development and in overcoming fear and mistrust between different communities.

Speaking towards the end of his four-day tour of Burundi, Dr Williams told students at the country's university in Bujumbura that universities did not just educate their students but the whole of society:

"The university values the life of the mind, the life of conversation. It is possible to take risks in conversation and relationship because by taking these risks we understand ourselves better as well as understanding each other.

"In the post-conflict situation we may see relationships that have been destroyed by panic, fear and self preservation – fear between one community and another; between different economic classes. When we see what the results of such far may be we see the degree of violence that results. It is important for the university to help the country imagine a different kind of life for itself; it helps people to see what their real choices are."

He said that education was a vital component in building the continent's future:

"Education alone cannot do the work that development or economic investment can do; but without education, development and investment cannot do its work."

The Archbishop and his wife, Jane, have been undertaking a tour of the country at the invitation of the Anglican Church in Burundi. Earlier in the week Mrs Williams visited Mothers' Union projects; one in a settlement camp on the border with Congo and another at the university teaching hospital in Bujumbura. She praised the work of the Mothers' Union in building peace for the future by providing for the needs of mothers and children.

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