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Michael W. Christian Program for Africa

Sabre’s Michael W. Christian Program for Africa was officially launched at a March 1998 dinner addressed by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Congressman Benjamin Gilman, then USIA Director Joseph Duffey, then Peace Corp Director Mark Gearan and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs William Robertson. Under the program in 1997 and 1998, Sabre sent book shipments to Tanzania, Zambia, Ghana and Liberia.

In 1999 the Christian Program expanded in both size and scope. Significant developments during the year included the following:

Life of a Shipment: Liberia

The final piece of the book donation puzzle is what happens after a Sabre container arrives overseas. Put simply, where do the books wind up? Below is an answer to that question for a sample Sabre shipment.

Total Books: 12,500+
Arrival Date - Monrovia: January ‘99
Distribution Period: April - July ‘99


125 institutions in 6 Liberian counties
*98 primary/secondary schools comprising 46,378 students and 1,718 instructors
*27 universities/libraries

200 low-income families/pupils

Sabre-donated books being sorted, stamped and packed by Sabre’s partner organization, CREDO, in Monrovia, Liberia.
Sabre-donated books being sorted, stamped and packed by Sabre’s partner organization, CREDO, in Monrovia, Liberia.

  • In partnership with Amoud University in Borama, Somaliland, Sabre sent its first books to Somalia. Shipped in a twenty-foot container in November, more than 8,500 books made the journey, including a percentage of medical texts and books and cassettes on English language for Arabic speakers. Overall, Sabre’s shipment dealt with subject matter covered in 60 percent of the courses at Amoud University.

  • The first shipment of Sabre’s two-year program to benefit Historically Disadvantaged Institutions (HDIs) in South Africa left Sabre’s warehouse in June. Sabre’s partner, the Foundation for Library and Information Service Development (FLISD), targeted this first of four planned shipments to the recipient institutions closest to Pretoria: Vista University, University of the North, University of Venda, and Technikon Northern Gauteng.

  • Cooperation with Minneapolis-based Books for Africa continued in 1999 with numerous book shipments sent collaboratively. Of particular note were three shipments sent to Ghana through Sabre’s local partner organization, the Ghana Book Trust.

  • A shipment of more than 10,000 new and used textbooks was sent by Sabre in support of the Catholic University of Angola and its new Michael L. Kennedy Memorial Library. The February shipment, which covered a wide range of topics, including law, economics, business, and human rights, was coordinated by Sabre and the Angola Education Assistance Fund(AEAF) of Boston.

Other Highlights

In two and a half weeks of May and June, Sabre completed one of its largest ever donations to a single country: 120,910 recently published medical books and CD-ROMs destined for Sofia, Bulgaria. Thanks to the generosity of medical publisher Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, which offered Sabre its excess inventory, and the hard work of Sabre’s partner, the Center for the Study of Democracy, Bulgarian hospitals, research institutes, libraries and universities are now benefiting from a donation of high-quality medical materials valued at close to $10 million.

The Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics in Novosibirsk benefited from Sabre’s largest special collection donation of 1999. A gift of Stanford University’s Linear Accelerator Center, Sabre’s August Russia shipment contained 17,500 books and journals in particle physics.

Advancing the Rule of Law

Sabre Foundation’s law book program made its first significant impact five years ago when Sabre successfully enhanced the collection of the National Law Library in Ukraine. Sabre once again placed a high priority on this program in 1999, assisting the development of law libraries in Croatia and Kosovo, and building library collections of law materials at historically disadvantaged universities in South Africa.

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