President Abdoulaye Wade, current Chairman of the Islamic Conference Organization, is widely regarded as one of Africa’s most enlightened leaders. After years of political activism as a veteran opposition leader, Abdoulaye Wade was democratically elected as the President of Senegal in 2000. A relentless critic of one-party rule and several times a political prisoner, Abdoulaye Wade describes himself as a "committed pan-Africanist".
He has studied and taught law in France and was dean of the law and economics faculty at the University of Dakar, Senegal. He later ended his teaching career to become a lawyer and worked as international consultant for the Organization of African Unity, the African Development Bank and other intergovernmental organizations.
After founding the SDP in 1974, he spent 26 years in the opposition. Wade thus became a pioneer of African opposition politics long before multi-party democratic elections were widespread. He famously said at the time, "I do not want to walk over corpses to reach the Presidential Palace."
In 2004, President Wade was awarded the National Democratic Institute’s prestigious W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award for his “positive action to promote democracy and peace in his country and around the world.” In 2006, Wade’s peace-making efforts in West Africa and his commitment to intercultural dialogue were again recognized when UNESCO presented him with the Houphouët Boigny Peace Award.
Read President Wade’s speech at the Aladdin Project’s launch conference