In 1965 Burris Devanney and his wife Louanne went to work in Africa on Canada’s new development assistance program. They were on-site witnesses of critical events in Africa’s turbulent history: Rhodesia’s UDI, Nigeria’s first two coups, Biafra’s secession, Gambia’s 1994 coup and Sierra Leone’s post-war recovery.
Burris taught in Nigeria at Government College; helped administer Gambia’s first technical institute; developed and managed Gambia’s first university program; founded and managed an NGO in Gambia and Sierra Leone, where an innovative nation-wide program for HIV/AIDS prevention was developed; worked as a UNESCO consultant in Malawi and with the CTF’s educational partnership program in Ghana.
He is the recipient of several prestigious awards for international development work, including the Order of The Gambia and an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Saint Mary’s University. He also holds degrees from Dalhousie and the University of Ottawa and was a wellknown high school teacher and principal in Halifax.
The Devanneys live in Halifax, Nova Scotia. They have two children and one grandchild.