The Pilot BOSTON -- Despite a civil war that has lasted some 20 years, Angola will officially open its Catholic University this October -- due, in part, to their friends in Massachusetts. While it is a long way from downtown Boston to the Catholic University of Angola campus, the connection was explained on June 7 at the offices of Citizens Energy Corporation. There, Citizens Energy’s president Joseph Kennedy joined Angola’s Cardinal Dom Alexandre do Nascimento at a press conference announcing a shipment of books and computers acquired through Citizen’s Angola Education Assistance Fund for the new university. Established in 1996, the fund has sent over 40,000 books and 80 computers to the university. This latest shipment is expected to arrive in July in time for the fall opening. (Preparatory classes have been held at CU since early this year.) The Cardinal and Kennedy also urged greater public support of the book and computer drive in order to send further shipments to Angola. The goal of the Catholic University is to educate young people who will help pave the way to a better future for Angola, said Cardinal do Nascimento, who serves as chairman for the university. “These young people will one day take charge of their responsibilities to form new generations of students and help the country rediscover the values of education that a terrible prolonged war has obscured.” Kennedy, the former Massachusetts congressman, explained that Citizens Energy’s interest in helping Catholic University began in 1992, when his brother, and former Citizens Energy chairman, Michael Kennedy was in Angola as a United Nations election observer. During his time there Kennedy met the cardinal, who asked his assistance in establishing the school. (the new university’s library is named for Michael Kennedy.) Dr. Wayne Dudley, a professor at Salem State College, ha worked with the Angola Educational Assistance Fund in helping to obtain donations of books for the fledgling school. The founder of Collaborative Education with South Africa, Dudley has also collected close to three million books for the children of the country, and has gathered over 30,000 books for Angola. Dudley said that “I feel a sense of historical continuity with Angola and other countries of Africa. He also hoped to collect books written in Portuguese, the country’s predominant language, for the university. Dudley expressed special thanks to the students of Durfee High School in Fall River who donated many such books. Also working with the Angola Education Assistance Fund is Stephen Farrell, president of the East West Education Development Foundation. His organization rebuilds and modifies computers, and various hardware and software donated by computer firms and corporations. East West helped refurbish the computers donated to the University. Angola’s civil war has decimated much of that country’s education system and its facilities. The Catholic University of Angola is being looked at as a key to the country’s recovery. “Angola has tremendous human and natural resources but needs help to develop its potential,” said Kennedy. “The long civil conflict must end, but, in the meantime, there is much we can do to bring hope to the people who have suffered so much for so long.” Those interested in donating books, computers, and technical assistance, or supporting the equipment drive with financial donations, can contact the Angola Educational Assistance Fund at (617)951-0433. Its web site is at www.acaf.org while the Catholic University of Angola’s web site is www.ucan.edu.