Robert Lystad Dies; University Dean Was Africa Expert
Monday, June 28, 2004; Page B04
Robert Arthur Lunde Lystad, 83, an authority on Africa who became a dean at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, died June 11 of congestive heart failure at his home in Bethesda.
In 1961, Dr. Lystad became a professor of African studies at the Washington-based school, where he stayed for 30 years. In addition to his academic duties, he held a number of consulting positions with the government and other organizations.
As a leading expert on African affairs, he was an early adviser of the newly formed Peace Corps from 1961 to 1967 and helped train the first group of Peace Corps volunteers to serve in Africa. From 1961 to 1972, he was a visiting lecturer at the Foreign Service Institute at the Department of State, and he consulted other nations' governments on African affairs.
Dr. Lystad was also a member and chairman of a Ford Foundation committee that offered fellowships to African scholars. He directed the Rockefeller Foundation's seminars in diplomacy at School of Advanced International Studies, advising diplomats from developing countries, from 1964 to 1977.
From 1963 to 1986, he wrote a series of weekly articles, "Africa in Print," that were broadcast in Africa by the Voice of America. The articles covered such subjects as politics, social issues, wildlife and the environment.
In 1979, Dr. Lystad became the first associate dean of academic affairs at the School of Advanced International Studies, where he counseled students, managed student-faculty relations and helped coordinate administrative matters. At his retirement in 1991, Johns Hopkins presented him with the Founder's Award for his contributions to the school.
He authored "The Ashanti: A Proud People" (1958) and edited "The African World: A Survey of Social Research" (1965).
Dr. Lystad was born in Milwaukee and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1941. He received a bachelor's of divinity from the Drew Theological Seminary in New Jersey in 1944 and was a Methodist minister for two years in Millersport, Ohio. In 1951, he received his doctorate in anthropology from Northwestern University.
He was a professor of anthropology at Tulane University from 1951 to 1961 and did field work in Ghana in 1957 and 1958. He made numerous other trips to Africa, Europe and Asia.
His first wife, Anita E. Firing, died in 1952.
Survivors include his wife of 50 years, Mary Hanemann Lystad of Bethesda; five children from his second marriage, Dr. Lisa D. Lystad of Cleveland, Anne L. Hutchens of Bethesda, Mary L. Lystad of Warsaw, Robert D. Lystad of Cabin John and James H. Lystad of Bethesda; one sister; and 10 grandchildren.
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