David Wiley, Professor Emeritus in Sociology and African Studies at Michigan State University, has shown a lifelong commitment to international cooperation and to the United Nations as a scholar and through his civic engagement. Dr. Wiley worked with others to co-found anti-apartheid organizations across Michigan, New Jersey, Wisconsin Princeton, and the nation. He participated in efforts at MSU to advocate for the first total divestment of the university's holdings from companies operating in South Africa, the first such sanction nationally. His commitment to anti-colonial and anti-apartheid efforts spanned decades.
During Dr. Wiley's 31 years as director of the MSU African Studies Center, it was designated as a U.S. National Resource Center for African Language and Area Studies. The Center has grown to be the largest such faculty in the nation, producing more work on African development and more Ph.D.s than any other U.S. university. As national president of the African Studies Association, he lead the effort to develop a policy of ethics in research in Africa including declining U.S. military and intelligence funds for African studies, a position adopted by all the major U.S. African Studies Centers and the African Studies Association. At MSU, he also became a co-founder of the Center for Advanced Study of International Development, the Women in International Development Program (now Center for Gender Studies in a Global Context), and the Institute for International Health.
Dr. Wiley was one of the founders and co-chair of the national Association of Concerned Africa Scholars to create a group where white and African-American scholars of Africa in the U.S. could work to seek a more pro-African U.S. policy. He worked to build equitable partnerships between the scholars of Africa in the U.S. and the scholars in Africa. His efforts led to guidelines that called for transparency, reciprocity, and equality in U.S. research, scholarly, and academic partnerships with universities in South Africa which led to the adoption of similar guidelines across the U.S. and Africa.
As Vice Chairperson of U.S. National Commission for UNESCO from 1982-85, he headed the effort to keep the U.S. from withdrawing from UNESCO and terminating its funding. He continues advocating for the United Nations in his role of Vice President for Advocacy in the Greater Lansing United Nations Association.