Monday, September 30, 2013

Carter Center Holds Mental Health Program For Law Enforcement Officers In Liberia

Moultrie, Ga., Police Chief Frank N. Lang Sr. presents a clinician’s badge to a new graduate of the Carter Center’s fifth class of locally trained and credentialed mental health practitioners in Liberia during graduation ceremonies held in August 2013. (Photo: The Carter Center)

Story courtesy of The Moultrie Observer

MOULTRIE — Chief Frank N. Lang Sr. of the Moultrie Police Department recently returned from a trip to the west African nation of Liberia. His trip, in collaboration with the Carter Center Liberia Mental Health Program, sought to teach local law enforcement officers some of the techniques used by the Moultrie Police Department to help people in a mental health crisis get the help they need.

The Carter Center Mental Health Program invited the Liberian National Police and the National Police Training Academy to a three-day workshop to evaluate the possibility of adapting the Moultrie Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) model for Liberia. In addition to Lang, with support from the Liberia-based Carter Center staff, the Center and American mental health team members included Pat Strode from the Georgia affiliate of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI); Michael Compton, a psychiatrist and research expert on CIT from George Washington University; Brandon Kohrt, a psychiatrist from the Duke Global Health Institute; and Elise Blasingame, an intern with The Carter Center in Liberia.

Fourteen police officers, including two corrections officers from different parts of Liberia, were recruited to participate along with 17 Carter Center-trained local mental health clinicians.

Based on research on stigma in Liberia, led by Kohrt, the Carter Center Mental Health Liberia project sought to prepare law enforcement personnel to better respond to individuals with mental illness who come in contact with the law. Critical to the training is the collaboration between law enforcement and mental health personnel. Officers participating in the program said that the workshop had a powerful impact on how they think about persons living with mental illness.

One patrol officer reported, “I used to think that witchcraft made people mentally ill. Now I know that’s not true.” Another officer reported, “I thought crazy people were just crazy, but they are our brothers and sisters.” An officer participating in the program said, “I never even knew that mental health clinicians existed in Liberia.” His fellow officers echoed his observation and all were happy to learn that they could now collaborate with the clinicians. Clinicians and law enforcement officers developed plans to communicate with one another for collaborative care for persons living with mental illness.

Lang, the only law enforcement practitioner on the trip, was able to provide his experience in utilizing CIT with the Moultrie Police Department.

“Mental health issues are a concern for more than just Moultrie; it is a global problem,” he said.

Secretary Kerry Issues Statement On Nigeria’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
September 30, 2013

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Nigeria as you celebrate your Independence Day on October 1.

A warm friendship connects the Nigerian and American people, reflecting our shared values of democracy, economic growth, security, and respect for human rights and the rule of law. Our partnership is strong because of our people. As the proverb tells us, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

In the coming years, the United States looks forward to going father with Nigeria as we expand education, jobs and opportunity for our people.

On the 53rd anniversary of your independence, I wish all Nigerians a safe and prosperous future.

Secretary Kerry Issues Statement On Botswana’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
September 29, 2013

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I offer warm wishes to the people of Botswana on the 47th anniversary of your independence on September 30.

Our close friendship and partnership is grounded in shared values and aspirations for a more peaceful, stable and prosperous world.
I am especially proud of our partnership in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This is a deeply personal issue for me.

During my travels as a Senator and now as Secretary of State, I’ve seen firsthand the compassion of caregivers who devote their lives to this cause; children left with no choice but to assume adult responsibilities at a tender age; and single mothers praying that AIDS would not make their children orphans.

Our shared fight against HIV/AIDS is far from over. But together, we have made important strides: those receiving an HIV positive diagnosis, who were once presumed to be facing an imminent death sentence, are now living satisfying, productive lives.
The partnership between the United States and Botswana is an investment in the future.

It’s about promoting regional peace and stability, from South Sudan to Liberia. It’s about protecting human rights in places like Zimbabwe and Syria. It’s about combating the scourge of wildlife poaching, and strengthening democratic governance and the rule of law.
In the coming years, we look forward to deepening our strong cooperation to meet these shared challenges.

As you gather with family and friends from Kanye to Kasane, the United States joins you in the spirit of friendship and wishes you peace and prosperity in the year ahead.

U.S. Announces Additional Humanitarian Assistance In Response To Darfur & Central African Republic Crises


Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
September 27, 2013

The United States announced today it has provided an additional $11.5 million in humanitarian assistance to support protection and assistance activities for the nearly 70,000 new Central African refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad, Cameroon, and the Republic of the Congo and for some 30,000 new Darfur Sudanese refugees in Chad. This new funding is in addition to nearly $168 million in assistance the United States has provided to refugee operations in these countries.

We remain deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic as ongoing insecurity continues to severely impact the wellbeing of the country’s entire population of approximately 4.5 million people, including almost 400,000 who are displaced internally, as well as outside of the country as refugees. We are also deeply concerned about the situation in Darfur where continuing violence has displaced an estimated 320,000 people this year alone. We call on all parties in these conflicts to ensure the safety of the civilian population and allow unhindered humanitarian access. The United States remains committed to those affected by the recent violence in Sudan and the CAR, and we continue to provide humanitarian assistance for those affected within both Sudan and the CAR, in addition to our support for refugees in neighboring countries.

The United States reaffirms our support and appreciation to those countries hosting refugees from Sudan and the CAR, and commends their efforts to provide protection and assistance to these vulnerable individuals fleeing violence in their home countries.

The $11.5 million from the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration will support the activities of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Chad, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Republic of the Congo. This funding will support UNHCR in meeting the most critical protection and assistance needs of new refugees, including registration, food, health care, water, education, and gender-based violence prevention and response. The UNICEF funding will support efforts to ensure the protection of refugee children and to provide access to primary education and essential services, such as water and sanitation, reproductive health and HIV services.

Secretary Kerry Speaks At Global Health Event With Partner Countries (PEPFAR)

State Department Photo

Waldorf Hotel
New York City
September 25, 2013

Well, good afternoon, everybody, and thank you very, very much for joining us here. It’s my great privilege to be joined by His Excellency, the President of Namibia, President Pohamba; His Excellency, the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame; and His Excellency, the Ambassador to the United States, Ebrahim Rasool from South Africa. And we’re very honored to have each of them here to take part. As all of you, we want to have a good discussion. We’re going to open it up with a few opening statements while the press is here. And then when the press leaves, we’ll have a chance to just talk and have a great dialogue about the future here.

We’re really at the cusp of a very exciting new frontier with respect to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, known to everybody as PEPFAR. And I’m very proud to be joined by our global partners as well as a group of stakeholders here as we hopefully embrace and implement all of the tools at our disposal to be able to achieve an AIDS-free generation and to improve global healthcare by strengthening our commitments to PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

This has been an extraordinary journey, and I think everybody at this table understands that. A decade ago, PEPFAR created the world’s largest and the most successful foreign assistance program ever. And now, a disease that at one time seemed to be unstoppable is actually in retreat.

I have been gratified to be part of this fight since the beginning, really, and particularly will say to you that I’ve never been more optimistic than we are today, and I think you may share that. I remember the days in Congress when the words “AIDS” was very rarely spoken. And often if it was spoken, it was spoken pejoratively. And I can remember the early days working with Senator Bill Frist or Barbara Lee on the earliest efforts to engage the United States Government on a major global commitment. And it is really heartening to know that now, 10 years after PEPFAR was launched, we are actually able to see and reach out and hopefully touch the prospect of an AIDS-free generation.

So our commitment to this has not only been strengthened by the progress that we’ve made and the lives that we’ve saved, but science has shown the way and has provided us with the tools that we need in order to be able to continue our collective pursuit of what has always been an ambitious goal, remains ambitious but not ambitious without the capacity to realize the ambition, which is particularly exciting.

Last year – I’m sure many of you were there – I was privileged to attend with you the first International AIDS Society conference to be held on American soil in more than two decades. And we all know why it couldn’t be for so long. We finally got that changed. And I’m especially proud to announce today that the United States will host the Global Fund’s Fourth Replenishment in December.

Since its inception, the Global Fund has been a vital partner in supporting country-owned – and this is very important – country-owned responses to address HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. And the United States is proud to be the Global Fund’s largest donor, and we’re challenging other donors to step up their commitments at this critical moment and make the replenishment cycle a success. We’re already encouraged by the increased pledges from the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, as well as those from Germany and France earlier this year, who agreed to extend their already current high level of commitment.

So we’re now entering the second decade of PEPFAR. And as you’re aware, the program has taken steps over the past few years to move from an emergency program to a sustainable initiative. U.S. programs, I think it’s fair to say, are still absolutely critical. But now, wherever possible, those programs are going to support countries’ own initiatives against this epidemic, and that’s what’s really exciting about it. That’s, frankly, exactly what our foreign assistance is supposed to do, is to help other countries to be able to take the reins and empower them to be able to confront challenges like HIV and AIDS themselves.

South Africa, Rwanda, Namibia are all on the front lines of this effort. And in the face of one of the greatest moral challenges of our time, each of those countries have responded in extraordinary ways in order to care for your own people. You’re not just investing in your own health capacity, but you are helping to lead the charge to define a new model for U.S. assistance. And we thank you for that. It’s one that empowers and emphasizes co-investment, collaboration, and true partnership. And none of these things can work if it isn’t transformed into sustainability, if it doesn’t become, really, a country’s own initiative.

That’s what country health partnerships are all about. They are about shared responsibility, shared accountability, budget transparency, and a commitment to investing strategically based on what we’ve learned from improved data collection and analysis. These partnerships are country specific to ensure that we are responsive to local needs. And they’ll also benefit from shared decision-making on how PEPFAR resources are allocated as part of a national response.

So make no mistake, please. The United States will continue to be responsible for the stewardship of its funds, and congressional mandates will remain in effect. But we believe that by sharing more decisions with countries, we can advance the principles of country ownership that President Obama and I believe in so strongly. And that will allow us to continue to make progress on prevention, on treatment, and awareness.

Fighting HIV/AIDS isn’t just a first-tier priority of our foreign policy and public health initiatives. And I’m blessed, as I look around the table speaking— we have a group of unbelievably qualified, incredibly experienced, and amazingly capable people at this table. You are the people, all of you, who made this happen over these last years. But beyond being sort of that foreign policy initiative, it’s also a test of our values. And we have to reaffirm our moral obligation, and we have to acknowledge that our shared humanity mandates that we continue to challenge ourselves until we defeat this devastating epidemic.

So with that, I want to turn to our country partners here today and ask each of them if they would offer their perspective on exactly how we take the next step forward together. So let me first, if I may, introduce President Pohamba of Namibia.

Secretary Kerry Speaks At Millennium Development Goals High-Level Meeting

State Department Photo

United Nations
New York City
September 25, 2013

Thank you very much (inaudible), Secretary General, and (inaudible) delegates, thank you for hosting this most important (inaudible). Thank you for the leadership and the commitment to universal values that we are trying to act on as we contemplate the future.

When nearly 200 countries came together in 2000 with the goal of relieving poverty, hunger, disease, and environmental degradation that disproportionately afflicts the planet’s most vulnerable people, we set a deadline to address these global challenges by 2015. At the time, 2015 felt like the distant future. But today, we have fewer than 830 days left on the clock, and everyone here, I think, knows we have to go further and we have to go faster in order to fulfill the promise of an inclusive future that leaves no one behind. So we need to finish strong and then we need to keep building in order to get the job done.

Even as we have cut in half the number who live on about a dollar a day, we know that that half is not clearly enough. So we have to decide, all of us together, to do what this institution was founded to do – to do more. As President Obama said in his State of the Union address this year and as Secretary General Ban said so eloquently yesterday, we have the historic opportunity to rid the world of extreme poverty in the next two decades. We can put all of our countries on the path to more sustained prosperity.

How do we do that? Well, frankly, experience teaches us exactly what works and it teaches us what doesn’t work. We know that creating true opportunity for every member of society without discrimination, investing in health and education, creating the conditions for broad-based economic growth, and strengthening the core institutions of democratic and accountable governance and also getting energy that works for everybody. (Laughter and applause.) (Inaudible) a serious documentation indeed. (Laughter.)

Today, thanks to our efforts, there are far fewer children who are going to sleep hungry than there were before the Millennium Development Goals were set. But every one of us knows that’s not enough. I think one of the frustrations for all of us is this confrontation with a reality that we see every day, against hurdles that we run up against, and the difficulties of actually moving forward. There are still about 870 million undernourished people around the world, more than 100 times the population of this city of New York. So we have to decide to do more. Through programs like Feed the Future and the New Alliance for Food Security, we can actually connect farmers with better technology and with more markets to bring more meals to more tables. We can save 12 million people from poverty and 1 million children from stunting.

Thanks to programs close to my heart that I began working on in the United States Senate like PEPFAR and the Global Fund, new HIV infections have declined by a third over the last decade. And as of this year, we have saved more than a million babies from becoming infected by HIV. These are remarkable achievements. But today, more people than ever are still living with this terrible disease. Fighting global AIDS is a shared responsibility, so together we must decide to do more. All partners should support the upcoming replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. And that way, we can promise and deliver on an AIDS-free generation. It is within our reach right now.

All of us are also aware that violent conflict makes development more difficult, and that conflict-afflicted parts of the world remain the furthest behind on achieving the Millennium Goals. So if we’re going to open opportunity to everyone, we need to secure peace where it is needed most, and even where doing that is the hardest.

Lastly, our efforts to improve people’s lives around the world means little if we let the planet itself fall into disrepair. That is why we must strive for a development agenda that recognizes that fighting poverty, combating discrimination, and safeguarding our environment are absolutely linked together, and are not separate endeavors. Protecting people from poverty, hunger, and disease, and protecting our planet from the threats that make all of those menaces even worse – dirty water, dangerous air, disappearing resources – these are challenges to all of us, and they are combined with the challenge of country after country in which populations are 60 percent under 30, 20 – 50 percent under the age of 21, 40 percent under the age of 18. This is our challenge, and these priorities have to go hand in hand.

So as we charge down the homestretch of the Millennium Development Goals, we are already thinking about what comes next. And our post-2015 development agenda will determine how ready the global community is going to be for the challenges ahead. Everything that we try to do here, and in all of our multilateral efforts, and in each of our countries independently is linked to these goals and to what we can decide in this effort. And I urge all of us, as President Obama does, to decide the right things. Thank you. (Applause.)

# # #

Archbishop Tutu Launches Campaign To Improve Learning Across Africa

Picture courtesy commons.wikimedia.org

Story courtesy of This is Africa

New York, New York
Friday, September 27

Joined by a global audience of leading figures in global education, representing business, government, civil society and the international development community, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has launched the Tutudesk Campaign. The occasion was convened in partnership with the Financial Times’ This Is Africa and the Open Society Foundation.

The Campaign provides portable school desks, Tutudesks, to children in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 95 million school children do not have the benefit of a classroom desk. This shortage affects the development of literacy and overall academic performance. The Campaign has already distributed 1.3m desks in 24 countries to date, and aims to provide 20m desks to 20 million children across sub-Saharan Africa by 2020.

Marking the occasion, the Archbishop said: “We must no longer accept a child’s educational experience being prejudiced by the lack of a most basic piece of educational infrastructure – a classroom desk – so critical to their literacy development and academic performance.”
Recent strategic partners have included Ecobank, the pan-African banking giant, Canadian mining firm First Quantum Minerals Ltd and ALMA – Diocese of London. Tutudesks are an effective, low-cost, African innovation in the global effort to improve learning outcomes. The need is particularly acute in sub-Saharan Africa, where it is estimated that half of primary school age children could reach adolescence unable to read, write, or perform basic numeracy tasks. The region is also home to more than half of the world’s out-of-school primary-aged children.

Tutudesk Campaign Founder, Shane Immelman said: “The international launch in New York of The Desmond Tutu Tutudesk Campaign is the culmination of many years of development, contribution and strategic support by literally dozens of visionary people and organisations, led by a core group of committed individuals and aligned to the vision of our patron, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. This important occasion marks the commencement of the next phase of our work, the start of the global Tutudesk movement, which will see the rapid escalation of our work to scale in order to provide 20m Tutudesks to 20 million African children affected by classroom desk shortages by 2020.”

A Tutudesk is a high impact tool in helping a child to learn. Independent research has shown that the use of Tutudesks improves everything from handwriting and concentration levels, to homework delivery and motivation in class.

Welcoming the launch, British author Paul Mckenna said: “I believe education is the great equaliser. The Tutudesk project aims to help children with their education in areas where it is much needed, giving them a better start in life.”

The launch comes on the first anniversary of Education First, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon’s landmark initiative to improve access and learning globally. The Tutudesk Campaign represents a quick and easily implementable solution in the wider international effort to address these key priorities for global education.

Ban Ki-moon has called education the “single best investment nations can make to build prosperous, healthy and equitable societies”. Meeting these objectives is essential if sub-Saharan Africa is to avoid losing an entire generation of children.

For further information on the Tutudesk Campaign and to find out how you can get involved, please contact: Rebecca Sweetman: CEO, The Desmond Tutu Tutudesk Campaign Centre (UK), becca@tutudesk.org

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Statue of Nelson Mandela Unveiled at South African Embassy in Washington, DC

H.E. Ebrahim Rasool, South African Ambassador to the United States (photo by KDNA / AMIP News)
Nelson Mandela Statue insert by JD Okhai Ojeikere (Dynamic Africa Drum)

Saturday, September 21, 2013
Washington, DC


A statue of former South African president Nelson Mandela was unveiled Saturday at the grounds of the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C., the site where four protestors were arrested in 1984 – an event credited with spurring anti-apartheid sanctions against South Africa.

The 3 meter statue, a replica of the sculpture outside the gates of Drakenstein Correctional Centre in South Africa where Mandela was released after 27 years in apartheid-era jails, is the work of South African artist Jean Doyle, who modeled the sculpture from photographs of Mandela leaving the prison in 1990, his fist is raised triumphantly over his head. Ebrahim Rasool, South Africa’s Ambassador to the United States, noted the statue stands across the street from a statue of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who is also depicted with his hand over his head but with two fingers raised, flashing the V for victory sign. Suggesting the two statues are engaged in a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors, Rasool noted that “rock beats scissors.”

A plaque at the base of the statue quotes from Mandela’s address to a joint session of Congress months after his release in 1990.

“The stand you took established… that here we have friends… fighters against racism who feel hurt because we are hurt, who seek our success because they too seek the victory of democracy over tyranny. I speak… of the millions of people throughout this great land who stood up and engaged the apartheid system in struggle. Let us keep our arms locked together so that we form a solid phalanx against racism… Let us ensure that justice triumphs without delay”


Below is the speech delivered by H.E. Ebrahim Rasool
Transcribed by AMIP News

Thank you very much Felicia Mabusa Sato.

Our dear minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and minister Rob Davies, senior officials of the South African government from all departments who are here, chairperson of the African Union Ms Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in the United States of America and all members of the Diplomatic Corps, Congresswoman Maxine Walters and all the members of Congress and Senate at various levels of government and legislatures who honor us with your presence here today, thank you very much for being here.

The Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development Mr. Rajiv Shah, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and members of the US administration who have honored us with your presence here today, Randall Robinson, Peloosi, Mayor Dinkins and all the members who have laid deep footprints around the statue of Nelson Mandela, thank you very much for being with us today. Rev Forbes, Imam Talib Shareef and all the leaders of faith who bless us with your presence, the sponsors who have made this possible from Old Mutual’s first request right to the last donation, thank you very much for realizing this great moment for us. The Deputy Chief of mission Johnny Moloto whose seat waits for him here and he can stop working now and let others do it, thank you very much for leading Team South Africa, the staff at the embassy into making this a truly memorable day and a memorable occasion. (Applause)

The Consul Generals, the Honorary Consuls who have from all the different places in the United States where they represent us with such dignity, such energy and such vision, thank you very much for making this trip to Washington, DC. Dr. Steve Mokone Kalamazoo, Rev Mankikola, Dr. Bilabakazi, all the veterans of the South African Diaspora, thank you very much for your presence here today. Ladies and gentlemen, comrades and friends, welcome, thank you very much for being here.

It was 83 years ago that Mahatma Ghandi marched for 24 days in India to the seaside to extract salt from the sea. In the eyes of the British, this was illegal and he was eventually arrested for it and all others who took salt from the sea because Britain wanted the monopoly on salt. Mahatma Ghandi knew that it was illegal but he certainly knew that it was moral. Thus began India’s march to independence through the birth of Satyagraha.

Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. marched on Washington and shared his dream with the world and with the United States. He dreamt of an America free of racism an segregation replaced by freedom and equality and he dreamed that his children will be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.

Twenty-three years ago, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela took another step in his long walk to freedom out of the prison gates of Victor Verster and as he stepped there after 27 years he started a journey that began to touch our lives in a completely different way and it is that step that we immortalize here today in Washington, DC.

Each one’s journey dramatized simple truths that what is legal isn’t always moral; that judgements are not always equal to justice; that the resolve of the human spirit is more powerful than the might of the empire or the state. Today, in immortalizing that step that Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela took out of prison as he raised his fist in triumph, it was the triumph of him – his spirit over his captors, the people’s triumph over eagle; the triumph of global solidarity over parochialism and selfishness and separateness.

Today, we also reconnect the United States … in the United States, Mahatma Ghandi’s statue just further down the road, Martin Luther King’s memorial on the Mall and today we add Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela here outside the South African Embassy on Massachusetts Avenue. (Applause)

We close a golden triangle of leaders – leaders who do what is right, not always what is popular; who lead by example, not by dictat who unite people around vision, not mobilize them around fears; who give them hope and not despair at the most pressing times in the history of the world.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela is revered because he never saw himself as an individual but part of the great relay race of leaders and people who hand the baton from one to the other adding their special strengths but never unmindful of what has been laid before them and unmindful of who will come after them. Nelson Mandela is revered never as a saint because he battled his soul and therefore he was able to battle evil in the world. Nelson Mandela, despite what many people may say, is revered never because he performed miracles but asserted that what happened in South Africa can happen anywhere else in the world whether in the intractable problems of the Middle East, what happened in South Africa can happen there. In the ongoing troubles of North Africa, it can happen there. In the challenges of Asia, it can happen there. In the challenges of the Caribbean, of Central America, of southern America, even in the United States, what happened in South Africa is relatable everywhere else in the world. (Applause)

As I look at who we have gathered here around the statue I feel humbled to represent a country that produced great leaders including Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela in a country representing them in the United States of America where people like you from all walks of life hold South Africa in a special place in your heart, admire our example, and see in us a partner for good. Whether it is a partner in the fight against HIV and AIDS through PEPFAR, whether it is a partner in the fight against poverty through the African Growth and Opportunities Act, whether it is in the fight against youth unemployment through the new programs like Young African Leaders Initiative, fighting against the energy deficit in initiatives such as Power Africa.

This partnership is born out of the sacrifices made by people like yourself and many others who were arrested there where Madiba stands today. Those in Boston who sat in in Chase Manhattan Bank to get them to divest; those of the Long Shoreman workers who refused to unload the ship for 11 days until that ship had to turn around; those authors in Hollywood and all over who refused millions of dollars to play in Sun City or in anywhere else in South Africa; this tribute of Nelson Mandela is as much a tribute to you because when Nelson Mandela addressed Congress on the 24th of June, 1990, in the 101st Joint Sitting of Congress, this is what Nelson Mandela said and I quote him ” .. the stand you took established that here in the United States we are friends, fighters against racism who feel hurt because we are hurt, who seek our success because they too seek victory of democracy over tyranny. I speak of the millions of people throughout this great land who stood up and engaged the Apartheid System in struggle. Let us keep our arms locked together so that we form a solid phalanx against racism. Let us ensure that justice triumphs without delay.” That vision of Nelson Mandela must continue.

Today we also celebrate the exorcism of this building. We exorcise this building where Apartheid was justified for so many decades. We exorcise attempts (applause) we exorcise attempts from this building to buy constructive engagement and to invest in it. We exorcise from this building where racism that sought to legitimize itself from the segregation that you too suffered. But in a true South African spirit our exorcism is not destructive – it is a cleansing, it is a healing, it is the ability to combine the best of the old with the best of the new.

The classical architecture of the old will now come and join with the post modern architecture of the new that now holds it together, retaining the recognizable form but infusing a profound new content into this building, strengthening old foundations but placing at the service of a new set of inclusive aspirations. What you see here is the realization of a vision – a vision dreamt of my Ambassador Sonn, thought through by Ambassador Sheila Sisulu, brought to life … brought to life by Ambassador Barbara Masekela, carried forward by Ambassador Nhlapo, implemented by Johnny Moloto.

May this building and this statue always symbolize the ultimate triumph of the human spirit over adversity, the superiority of morality over legality, the resilience of principled unity over technical difference, the victory of soft power over military might. May it symbolize our endeavors to make the world a better and more equal place. May it symbolize a world that is always safe for difference. This is a tribute to Nelson Mandela. It is a tribute to the people of South Africa and it is a tribute to the millions of Americans that you represent here today.

Thank you very much for being with us. (Applause)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

President Obama Meets Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan

Photo Courtesy of Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Remarks By President Obama Before Bilateral Meeting
Waldorf Astoria Hotel
New York, New York

1:51 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I appreciate very much the opportunity to meet once again with President Jonathan and his delegation. Obviously, Nigeria is one of the most powerful and fastest-growing countries in the world. I think that’s testified by the fact that President Jonathan is going to have the opportunity to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange. (Laughter.) I think it signifies how important Nigeria is becoming in the global economy.

We have a very strong relationship between the United States and Nigeria. It’s not just based on government-to-government relations, but also people-to-people relations. And we have an outstanding Nigerian-American community here in the United States that is making incredible contributions in every field every single day.

President Jonathan has committed to building on the democratic process that we’ve seen in Nigeria in the past. The last election that brought President Jonathan to power was a hallmark on the continent and in Nigeria in terms of free and fair elections. And I know that he is committed to making sure that the elections in 2015 move in that same fashion.

We’re going to be able to have an opportunity to talk about the issues of energy and power. Nigeria is a major energy producer, but it’s also an important energy consumer. And as many of you know who were on the trip that I took to Africa just recently, we are really focused on how we can help to bring electricity and power generation throughout Africa — not just in the big cities but also in the rural areas, and Nigeria is a potential partner in that process.

We want to develop the human capital throughout the continent and in Nigeria. And that’s why I’m excited about the Young African Leaders Initiative that is going to allow us to have young African leaders from across the continent, including Nigeria, here in the United States where they can interact with top leaders here in our universities, our businesses, and that will further strengthen the ties between our two countries.

And we’re going to have an opportunity to discuss some significant challenges on the security front in Nigeria. In the northern regions of Nigeria we’ve seen the emergence of one of the most vicious terrorist organizations in the world — the Boko Haram. It presents an extraordinary security challenge for the people of Nigeria, and we want to be cooperative in that process of building capacity inside Nigeria to deal with that terrorist threat, but doing so in a way that is consistent with human rights. Because we strongly believe that the best way to undermine the agenda of those who would do violence is to make sure that governments are responsive to the needs of people and following rule of law.

On that topic let me just make one last point. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with President Kenyatta directly about the terrible tragedy that’s happened in Nairobi, and we are providing all the cooperation that we can as we deal with a situation that has captivated the world.

I want to express personally my condolences to not only President Kenyatta, who lost some family members in the attack, but to the Kenyan people. We stand with them against this terrible outrage that’s occurred. We will provide them with whatever law enforcement support that is necessary. And we are confident that Kenya, which has been a pillar of stability in Eastern Africa, will rebuild.

But this I think underscores the degree to which all of us as an international community have to stand against the kind of senseless violence that these kinds of groups represent. And the United States will continue to work with the entire continent of Africa and around the world to make sure that we are dismantling these networks of destruction.

END 1:58 P.M. EDT


Readout of President Obama’s Meeting with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
September 23, 2013

President Obama met President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria today in New York. The presidents reaffirmed their commitment to fighting terrorism, including the importance of bringing the insurgency in northern Nigeria to an end. The President underscored the importance of combating terrorism via a comprehensive approach that creates economic opportunity and ensures that human rights are protected and respected. President Obama also reaffirmed U.S. support for strengthening transparent, democratic governance, and the importance of ensuring that the upcoming elections in Nigeria are peaceful, transparent, and credible.

The leaders agreed to deepen cooperation on enhancing reliable access to energy, including through Nigeria’s participation in Power Africa, and to support young entrepreneurs and public servants through President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative. The two leaders agreed to stay in close touch as our countries continue to work together to promote our shared interests in advancing development, empowering youth, expanding trade and investment, and creating broad-based prosperity for people across Nigeria.

# # #

Newest African Ambassador Presents Letters of Credence At White House

AMIP News
Washington DC

September 24, 2013

On Tuesday, September 17, 2013, the new Ecuatoguineano Ambassador to the U.S. – Dr. Ruben Maye Nsue Mangue – presented his Letters of Credence to President Obama at the White House.

The presentation of credentials is a traditional ceremony that marks the formal beginning of an Ambassador’s service in Washington.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Secretary Kerry Issues Statement On Guinea-Bissau’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
September 23, 2013

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I send best wishes to all Bissau-Guineans as you celebrate the 40th anniversary of your independence on September 24.

Guinea-Bissau has the opportunity to take an important step forward by holding credible and timely elections later this year. The people of Guinea-Bissau deserve a democratic and responsive government worthy of their highest aspirations and ideals.

Elections are only the beginning of a long road. We urge the transitional government to embrace – and implement – a robust agenda of national reconciliation, improved governance, fiscal transparency, and economic reforms. Leaders and political candidates must be publicly accountable to the citizens of Guinea-Bissau.

The United States stands ready to support you in this process, and we look forward to a long-term relationship. As you celebrate this special day, I wish all the people of Guinea-Bissau peace and prosperity in the coming year.

# # #

Sunday, September 22, 2013

U.S. Reaction To Kenya Mall Shooting

File Photo
Washington, DC
September 22, 2013

President Obama called President Kenyatta of Kenya this morning to express condolences to the government and people of Kenya for the terrorist attack carried out by al-Shabaab yesterday on the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi. President Obama reiterated U.S. support for Kenya’s efforts to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice. The President also reaffirmed the strong and historic partnership between the United States and Kenya as well as our shared commitment to combating terrorism and promoting peace and prosperity in East Africa and around the world.

Statement By Secretary John Kerry

Today’s terrorist massacre of so many innocents is a heartbreaking reminder that there exists unspeakable evil in our world which can destroy life in a senseless instant. I want to express my deepest condolences – and the condolences of our entire nation – to the families and friends of the victims in Nairobi today. While the casualty count is still to be determined, we know already that there are at least 30 innocent men, women, and children dead and 60 injured, including several American citizens. We have offered our assistance to the Government of Kenya and stand ready to help in any way we can.

Although we have no reports of any Americans killed today, we have lost a member of our own State Department family: the wife of a foreign service national working for the U.S. Agency for International Development. The men and women of USAID work courageously around the world to help people striving for a better life. While we mourn with her family today, we also pledge our commitment to do whatever we can to assist in bringing the perpetrators of this abhorrent violence to justice, and to continue our efforts to improve the lives of people across the globe.

Attacks like this can’t change who we are, a people committed to peace and justice for all, but rather must reaffirm our determination to counter extremism and promote tolerance everywhere. As we prepare to bring the world’s leaders together at the United Nations next week, we are reminded again in tragedy of our common humanity.

Secretary Kerry Issues Statement On Mali’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
September 21, 2013

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I send best wishes to the people of Mali as you celebrate your Independence Day on September 22.

The United States commends the Malian people for your enthusiastic participation during the recent electoral process, and we applaud Mali’s peaceful return to democracy.

Conflict has taken a heavy toll on this region. The Government of Mali now has an opportunity to create a better, more peaceful and more prosperous future for its people.

On September 19, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs, had the honor of attending the inauguration of President Keita.

We look forward to working with the President as he begins to address Mali’s most pressing challenges, from promoting national reconciliation and security sector reform to strengthening Mali’s democratic institutions and the rule of law.

The United States remains a committed partner as Mali moves beyond its transitional period and makes further progress toward peace, security, development, and national reconciliation.

President Obama and the American people share your hopes for the future and your faith in the power of democracy to lead you there.
On the 53rd anniversary of your independence, I wish all Malians peace and prosperity in the year ahead.

Secretary John Kerry Meets Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud

Department of State
Washington, DC

September 20, 2013

REMARKS

SECRETARY KERRY: Good morning, everybody. It’s my privilege to welcome to Washington and to the State Department His Excellency, the President of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Actually, I’m welcoming him back to Washington, and we have met previously and I’m very pleased to be able to welcome him here.

The United States, obviously, has been engaged in helping Somalia fight back against tribal terror and the challenges to the cohesion of the state of Somalia. And the President and his allies have really done an amazing job of fighting back and building a state structure. There’s work yet to be done in Puntland and Somaliland, and we encourage you to continue the work of reaching out, of reconciliation and rebuilding the democracy, and I know he’s committed to that.

Also, I want to thank the President for his rapid support of the Joint Statement on Syria. We appreciate that kind of global recognition of what is at stake in Syria.

And finally, I’d just say that Somalia is working hard now to create its own ability to defend itself, to defend the state. We will continue to work. There is a United Nations mission there. We are committed to both – to the independent ability of the state of Somalia as well as the United Nations mission to help it in this transition. And we’re very happy to welcome the President here to talk today about issues of mutual interest.

Thank you, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT MOHAMUD: Thank you. Thank you, Secretary. And it’s – really, it was a pleasure and privilege to be here again this year in the State Department and the United States. And we – as the Secretary said rightly we’re working very hard together to establish the national institutions in all areas, particularly in security, where we are working very hard with the UNOSOM forces, and our national army is now taking shape and building up, of course, with the support of the United States Government that has always been with us. And this is a time we came here to share the ideas, the way forward we have, and particularly, the Vision 2016, where we want Somalia to go into the poll stations and make a voting for the first time in 40 years – more than 40 years, even.

And as you rightly said, we have been engaging with different stakeholders in Somalia. The federal government has the leadership, the parliament, all visiting different corners of Somalia to consult on this event. And the product of that consultation was the recent compact document signed in Brussels of the 16th of this month. I, myself, and the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the House, the parliamentarians, key ministers have been traveling all over Somalia. Although the situation in traveling locally is very difficult, but even then, you have to sit with the people, listen them, share with them the plans that we are intending, and asking them the type of Somalia they want to see in the future.

So based on that, we have signed agreements with Puntland State, and recently agreement with the Jubba regional administrations. And of course, we also did the same with Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a in the central region. So it takes some time. We have our own differences, but we are in a better shape than ever before now. We’re shaping for the first time a united and federal Somalia. The constitution is progressing and the federal system is working very hard. This federal government is working on all its capability to establish the federal unities in an orderly manner and with – in accordance and compliance with the federal constitution.

So there’s a huge progress that is going on in Somalia, and again, we are very much grateful with the support we received from the United States Government through bilateral and through multilateral. Thank you very much.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT MOHAMUD: Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, sir, very much. Please come. Thank you.

Friday, September 20, 2013

African Entrepreneurs Participate In State Department Program To Explore U.S. Business Practices


Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC

September 16, 2013

Entrepreneurs and business leaders from 29 countries will travel to the United States from September 14 through October 5 as participants in “A New Beginning” exchange, a special initiative of the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.
Established in response to President Barack Obama’s April 2010 Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, the exchange creates connections between international businesses and highlights the variety of markets served by successful entrepreneurs, both in the United States and abroad. Alumni of the exchange return to their countries with new ideas for collaboration, growing their businesses, and accessing markets.

During their three-week visit, the participants will meet with leading American entrepreneurs, business executives, and government officials in Washington, Denver, Portland, Dallas, and New York. Since the initiative launched in 2010, private sector partner

Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), a network of 9,000 business owners in 40 countries, has engaged participants in interactive activities across the U.S. and introduced the entrepreneurs to their U.S. counterparts for dynamic discussions of challenges and ideas for growth.
Entrepreneurs participating in this year’s program will arrive from Argentina, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Burma, Cambodia, Egypt, France, Ghana, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Kuwait, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, the Palestinian Territories, Paraguay, Philippines, Portugal, South Sudan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, and Uzbekistan.

For further information, please contact eca-press@state.gov.

U.S. Pledges $69 Million in Support of Somalia’s New Deal Compact


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesperson

September 19, 2013

STATEMENT BY MARIE HARF, DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON

At the September 16, 2013 New Deal conference for Somalia, in Brussels, a delegation of U.S. government officials underlined U.S. support for the priorities of Somalia’s New Deal Compact and pledged $69 million to promote and strengthen already existing programs in community stabilization, economic growth, education, and enhancing democracy, governance, and rule of law.

Through this New Deal platform, America’s longstanding commitment to Somalia and the Somali people will continue to deepen. We are committed to working with the Somali people and the Federal Government of Somalia to improve the lives of everyday Somalis, and enhancing our diplomatic and development relationships.

The United States recognizes the significant progress made in Somalia over the past year. This progress would not have taken place were it not for the dedication and commitment of the many members of the Somali community who make a daily decision to focus on a future built on hope and peace, rather than on conflict and despair. We, and the international community, stand with them.

U.S. Presidential Delegation to Attend Inauguration of Mali’s President Elect


Office of The Press Secretary
The White House
Washington, DC

September 17, 2013

 President Obama Announces Presidential Delegation to the Republic of Mali to Attend the Inaugural Ceremony of His Excellency Ibrahim Boubacar Keita

President Barack Obama today announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to the Republic of Mali to attend the Inaugural Ceremony of His Excellency Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on September 19, 2013.

The Honorable Mary Beth Leonard, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Mali, will lead the delegation.

Members of the Presidential Delegation:
The Honorable Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
The Honorable Jack Leslie, Chairman, United States African Development Foundation

###

World Bank (AFR) Launches Fellowship for Doctoral (PhD) Students of African Decent

WASHINGTON,DC
September 13, 2013

The Africa Region of the World Bank Group today launched the World Bank Group Fellowship Program for Ph.D. students of African descent. The program will increase the diverse workforce that is a priority for the Bank and its clients.

The Fellowship Program aims to build a pipeline of researchers and professionals from the African Diaspora, particularly women, who are interested in working in the development field at home or abroad, and in starting careers with the World Bank Group.

“The Fellowship Program represents an incredible opportunity not only for young African scholars to conduct research and develop their careers in development, but also for the World Bank Group to learn from their experiences and fresh insight, as well as absorb the tremendous energy young people can contribute to our work and mission,” said Sean McGrath, Vice President for Human Resources at the World Bank Group.

About the Fellowship

Fellows will spend a minimum of six months at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. getting hands-on experience in development work. This includes knowledge generation and dissemination, design of global and country policies and the building of institutions to achieve inclusive growth in developing countries. While benefitting from research and innovation in multiple sectors, Fellows will also work on economic policy, technical assistance, and lending for eliminating poverty and increasing shared prosperity. Special attention will be given to work with Fragile and Conflict-Affected States.

Fellows will be expected to complete a research project and prepare a research paper to present to staff. High-standard papers may be published internally. Specifically, selected participants will:

• Gain a better understanding of the World Bank Group’s mission and operations
• Access quality data for their research work
• Interact with seasoned experts in their field of development
• Contribute to the World Bank Group’s mission

Who Should Apply

Doctoral students of African descent within one or two years of completing a Ph.D. program in the following fields: Economics, Demography, Applied Statistics and Econometrics, Impact Evaluation, Education, Health, Energy, Agriculture, and Infrastructure.

Candidates must:
• Be enrolled in an academic institution and returning to university after the fellowship
• Be 32 years of age or below
• Have an excellent command of English, both written and verbal
• Possess strong quantitative and analytical skills

Selection Process

After submitting an application online, the most promising candidates will be identified and their application packages forwarded to World Bank Africa Region managers and participating departments for consideration. Departments and managers will then indicate their preferences, as well as the project to be undertaken.
Selected candidates will then be notified and, upon acceptance, will be hired as short-term consultants for a minimum of six months. Fellows will receive consultant fees, round-trip economy class air travel to Washington, D.C. from their university, and worker’s compensation insurance.

Submit Your Application: http://wbgsurvey.worldbank.org/Community/se.ashx?s=7DE331F804E987CB

Saturday, September 14, 2013

U.S. Special Envoy Booth Travels to Sudan and South Sudan

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC

September 13, 2013

Ambassador Donald Booth, U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, travels to Sudan and South Sudan this week for a series of high-level meetings with government officials, members of civil society, and representatives of international and regional organizations.
This is Ambassador Booth’s first trip to the region as the U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan. During his visit, Ambassador Booth will express the United States’ deep concern at the lack of progress made by Sudan and South Sudan in fully implementing the September 2012 accords brokered by the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP).

Respect for human rights, the critical need for humanitarian access to conflict areas, and above all the importance of working for inclusive and representative governance will also be high on his agenda.

During his visit, Ambassador Booth will underscore the United States’ commitment to the goal of two viable states at peace internally, with one another, and with their neighbors. In this regard, the United States continues to support the efforts of the African Union and to work with other international partners to promote sustainable peace between Sudan and South Sudan.

New USDA Trade Initiative Aims To Expand Markets In Sub-Saharan Africa

USDA Office of Communications
Washington, DC

PRESS RELEASE

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13, 2013—The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Harden will lead a trade mission to promote U.S. agricultural trade and investment in sub-Saharan Africa, Sept. 16-20. The trade mission launches USDA’s Sub-Saharan Africa Trade Initiative, which aims to expand U.S. agricultural commercial ties in the region.

During the week, the USDA delegation will travel to South Africa and Mozambique to learn first-hand about the region’s rapidly evolving market conditions and business environment – information that will enable agribusinesses to develop export strategies for sub-Saharan Africa. The mission includes 18 U.S. companies and 16 U.S. agricultural commodity trade associations that represent a variety of agricultural products including snack foods, beverages, fruit and nuts, agricultural machinery and more. The companies and trade associations will meet with African buyers during the week.

“Many U.S. agribusinesses – especially small and medium-sized enterprises – are beginning to appreciate the opportunities for trade and investment in Africa,” said Harden. “This initiative will establish relationships between U.S. and African businesses and support agricultural growth throughout the region.”

Sub-Saharan Africa’s strong economic outlook, growing middle class and surging demand for consumer-oriented foods creates a promising market for U.S. food and agricultural products. Over the past decade, U.S. agricultural exports to sub-Saharan Africa increased by more than 200 percent. Last year, bilateral agricultural trade between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa totaled more than $4.75 billion.

Harden will also open Africa’s International Food & Drink Trade Show in Johannesburg on Sept. 18. Eleven U.S. companies will exhibit at the show’s USA pavilion. In addition to the trade mission, USDA and South African officials will meet to discuss bilateral trade issues and visit food aid projects funded by USDA’s Food for Progress Program in Mozambique.

The USDA trade initiative supports the “U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa” plan outlined by President Obama in June 2012.
For a complete list of U.S. companies and USDA cooperators participating in the Sub-Saharan Africa Trade Initiative, please see below:
U.S. Companies Participating in the Sub-Saharan Africa Trade Initiative

1. Allied International Corporation
2. American Food Service
3. American Peanut Council
4. Bell Carter Olive Company
5. Bridgeforth International Corporation
6. Case New Holland
7. Cranberry Marketing Committee
8. Cuba Beverage Company
9. FAIM Afric, Ltd.
10. GSI Group
11. JM Grain, Inc.
12. Land O’ Lakes/Purina Animal Nutrition LLC
13. PS International
14. Strickland Ranch & Exports, Inc.
15. Suma Trading LLC
16. Tri-States Grain Conditioning, Inc.
17. USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council
18. Zafi Beverages & Agricultural Technologies, Inc.

USDA Cooperators Participating in the Sub-Saharan Africa Trade Initiative
1. American Peanut Council
2. American Soybean Association
3. Cranberry Marketing Committee
4. National Renderers Association
5. North American Millers’ Association
6. North American Export Grain Association
7. Organic Trade Association
8. Southern Forest Products Association
9. Southern U.S. Trade Association
10. USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council
11. U.S. Grains Council
12. U.S. Meat Export Federation
13. USA Poultry & Egg Export Council
14. USA Rice Federation
15. U.S. Wheat Association
16. Western U.S. Agricultural Trade Association

#

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

Unveiling of Nelson Mandela Statue in Washington, DC


TransAfrica Forum and the Embassy of the Republic of South Africa will unveil a new statue honoring former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela on Saturday September 21, 2013 at the South African Embassy in Washington, DC.

Following the ceremony, South African Ambassador, Ebrahim Rasool will host a picnic at the statue. The ceremony starts at 11 am but guests are expected to arrive by 10.30 am. Seating will be on the west side of Massachusetts Ave, across from the South African mission and in front of the British ambassador’s residence and the embassy of Bolivia.

Tickets are free but registration is required. http://transafrica.givezooks.com/events/into-freedom-unveiling-of-nelson-mandela-statue

The nine feet tall statue depicts Nelson Mandela as he walked out of prison and into freedom in February 1990. It is a twin to a statue that stands at the place where he stepped into freedom – at the Victor Verster prison near Cape Town, South Africa.

The placement of the statue is symbolic as well: it will stand in the same place where thousands of Americans were arrested in the 1980′s while protesting and demanding the end of apartheid and Mandela’s release. TransAfrica’s Founder, Randall Robinson, and many of our leaders and closest allies were among those arrested for their actions to end apartheid in South Africa.

4th Annual DC African Heritage Celebration


Mayor Vincent C. Gray and his Office on African Affairs (OAA) are pleased to invite you to the 4TH ANNUAL DC AFRICAN HERITAGE CELEBRATION in honor of the District’s proclamation of September as African Heritage Month, and the worldwide observance of the 50th Anniversary of the African Union.

In honor of these two historic milestones, this year’s DC African Heritage Celebration will feature the Mayor’s Awards Ceremony to pay special tribute to past and present leaders of the African Diaspora who have made unique contributions to the cultural and economic renaissance of the District’s African community. Additionally, the evening will include a reception, remarks by special guests, musical performances, and an overall rich cultural experience you wouldn’t want to miss!! As a member of the District’s African community, we encourage you to attend this event and celebrate this historic moment with us. This event is free and open for public however space is limited.

Date: Monday|September 30, 20113| 06:00 PM -10:00 PM
Location: The Howard Theatre|620 T Street NW| Washington DC|20001

Register Here
http://4thannualafricanheritagecelebration.eventbrite.com/

Monday, September 9, 2013

Introducing The New U.S. Ambassador To The Democratic Republic Congo – James Swan

Photo courtesy of somalia.usvpp.gov

Department of State
Washington DC
September 5, 2013

Secretary Kerry hosted the swearing-in ceremony for the U.S. Ambassador-designate to the Democratic Republic of the Congo James Swan.

Ambassador James Swan previously served as the United States Special Representative for Somalia from August 2011 to 2013. The position is responsible for developing U.S. policy recommendations on Somalia and for coordinating all U.S. programs in Somalia. Current Somalia-related programs of the U.S. Government totaled more than $238 million in Fiscal Year 2011. These include major efforts respond to urgent humanitarian needs, improve security, advance economic development, and foster better governance.

Ambassador Swan has devoted most of his Foreign Service career to Africa, and has focused especially on countries facing complex political transitions in challenging security environments. As Ambassador to Djibouti (2008-2011), he led a significant increase in the U.S.-Djibouti security partnership, while also expanding assistance programs in the health, education, and governance sectors.

Prior to his assignment to Djibouti, Ambassador Swan served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (2006-2008), with broad responsibility for U.S. policies and programs in 23 central and east African countries. Annual U.S. assistance to these countries totaled more than $2.75 billion. During this period, he was centrally involved in U.S. policy initiatives to address multiple regional crises, including in Burundi, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, and Somalia. Previously, as director of analysis for Africa in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (2005-2006), Ambassador Swan led a team of intelligence analysts who produced assessments of significant developments throughout sub-Saharan Africa for senior U.S. policy officials.

As Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa (2001-2004), Ambassador Swan advanced negotiations aimed at withdrawal of foreign forces and agreement on an internal political framework leading to elections. As part of his long professional involvement with the Congo, Ambassador Swan was also Zaire/Congo country officer in Washington (1996-1998), serving as focal point during the rebellion that led to the fall of Mobutu Sese Seko after 32 years in power and the difficult first year of its successor regime. Ambassador Swan served as Deputy Chief of Mission and for more than a year Charge d’Affaires in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo (1998-2001) leading efforts to resume diplomatic operations and mobilize the U.S. humanitarian response in the aftermath of a civil conflict that displaced nearly a third of the country’s population.

Earlier in his career, Ambassador Swan served as political section chief in Cameroon (1992-1994), political officer in Nicaragua (1990-1992), and consular officer in Haiti (1988-89). Before joining the Foreign Service, he worked as a management analyst in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education.

Ambassador Swan holds a B.S. degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, and a master’s in national security studies from the National War College, where he was a 2005 distinguished graduate.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Michael T. Harvey Sworn In As USAID Mission Director to Nigeria

USAID Press Office
Thursday, September 5, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Michael T. Harvey was sworn in as the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Mission Director for Nigeria. In this capacity he will oversee USAID’s vast portfolio of programs in agriculture, democracy and governance, economic growth, education, and health.

Prior to the assignment, Mr. Harvey served as Mission Director in West Bank and Gaza. A career Foreign Service Officer, Mr. Harvey also served as Mission Director to Serbia and Montenegro during a remarkable turnaround in U.S.-Serbia relations that occurred after the election of the Serbian government in 2008. Prior to Serbia, Mr. Harvey was Deputy Mission Director in Iraq during a shift of U.S. assistance programs away from large scale public infrastructure programs toward more conventional economic reform and capacity building efforts.

As Deputy Mission Director in Jordan from 2004 until August 2006, Mr. Harvey implemented one of USAID’s largest and most successful economic and political reform programs in the world. From 2000 to 2004, Mr. Harvey was the USAID Representative to Tajikistan. In the wake of September 11th, Mr. Harvey led the dramatic expansion of the U.S. assistance programs in Tajikistan. Mr. Harvey also served as the Deputy Director of the Program Office in Haiti for five years, playing a leading role in the design and management of one of USAID’s largest assistance portfolios in Latin America. As the Director of the Office of Health and Nutrition he managed the Food for Peace program, then the largest in Latin America.

During the early to mid-1990’s, Mr. Harvey served as the Director of the USAID Food for Peace program Ethiopia. Mr. Harvey helped guide the phase out of what had been the world’s largest food aid program while transitioning the country to self-sustaining agricultural production. Prior to that assignment, Mr. Harvey was stationed in Washington working as the Desk Officer for Ethiopia, Sudan, and Somalia for USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, where he led U.S. relief efforts to the conflict-ridden Horn of Africa.
Prior to joining USAID, Mr. Harvey worked in the Office of Press and Public Affairs for the White House Conference on Small Business.

Mr. Harvey holds a Master’s degree and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Austin. Mr. Harvey was born in California to U.S. Air Force parents and traveled extensively before making Texas his home.

USAID And Coca-Cola Expand Water And Development Alliance in Africa

USAID Press Office
Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Stockholm, September 4, 2013 – Yesterday, at World Water Week in Stockholm, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Coca-Cola Company announced support for new programs under their Water and Development Alliance (WADA) that will provide over 190,000 people with improved clean water and/or improved sanitation services by the end of 2015.

As part of a first wave of new investments, WADA will support integrated approaches to clean water and sanitation service delivery in Africa where over 300 million people are without an improved water source and 630 million lack improved sanitation facilities. To address these challenges, the Alliance will support the development of infrastructure for clean water, sanitation and hygiene education for schools, clean water kiosks for communities, and the installation of sanitation infrastructure in schools and health clinics.
Highlights of the work to be supported include:

* Nigeria – At least 65,000 people will benefit from the installation of hand-pump boreholes, improved sanitation facilities, hand-washing stations and rain harvesters at schools and health care facilities. Communities will also be trained in the long-term maintenance of the infrastructure and water management committees will be offered capacity building services.
* Zambia – The project will provide sanitation facilities and hygiene education in schools in peri-urban Lusaka, benefiting up to 50,000 school children. The project includes resource mobilization strategies to support the long-term operations and maintenance of the schools’ water, sanitation and hygiene programs. It is also expected that this project will provide sustainable clean water access to up to 44,000 people through community water kiosks and a distribution network.
* Ghana – Over 35,000 people will benefit from the construction of clean water kiosks and sanitation services to include the provision of total sanitation marketing campaigns.

“This important public-private partnership builds on our Agency’s new and first-ever Water and Development Strategy to improve health and food security across the world. Its programs represent the next generation of this vital alliance–helping families lift themselves out of poverty and communities onto a path towards sustainable development,” said USAIDAdministrator Dr. Rajiv Shah.

“Water stewardship is a key priority for our business and we are committed to returning the water we use in our beverages and their production back to communities,” said Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO. “We are pleased to launch the next phase of impact with one of our longest standing and most valued partners, USAID. Expanding our work together will help bring safe water to thousands of people in communities we serve and continue to bring us closer to meeting our replenishment goal.”

WADA is a collaboration between the Coca-Cola system (including corporate, foundations and bottling partners) and USAID to improve water resource management and expand access to improved drinking water and sanitation services for poor and marginalized people in developing countries. WADA has impacted more than 374,000 people with improved water access in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Additional people have been impacted through sanitation, watershed restoration, sustainable agriculture, conservation and other activities.

The Coca-Cola Company is the world’s largest beverage company, with an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities by focusing on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, support active, healthy living, create a safe, inclusive work environment and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. For more information, visit Coca-Cola Journey at www.coca-colacompany.com.

Statement by Secretary Kerry On Swaziland’s National Day

Department of State
Washington, DC
September 5, 2013

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States of America, I send best wishes to the people of Swaziland as you celebrate your Independence Day on September 6.

Swaziland and the United States share a long history of working together in common cause, especially in our partnership to improve the health of all Swazis. Our productive collaboration has helped the people of Swaziland make steady progress towards an AIDS-free generation.

The United States remains dedicated to working with Swaziland not only to turn the tide against this disease, but also to strengthen democratic governance and promote economic development and trade.

On the 45th anniversary of your independence, I wish all Swazis continued peace and prosperity.

Emerging Women Leaders From 5 African Countries Participate In U.S. State Dept. & espnW 2013 Global Sports Mentoring Program

Media Note
Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 4, 2013

The U.S. Department of State and espnW are proud to announce this year’s mentor organizations and international emerging leaders participating in the 2013 Global Sports Mentoring Program. Now in its second year, this program supports the United States global commitment toward advancing the rights and participation of women and girls around the world, using sports as a vehicle towards greater opportunity and inclusion.

This year, the emerging leaders hail from Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Egypt, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Turkmenistan, and Uganda.

From September 8-October 9, 2013, top American women executives will work side by side with 17 emerging female leaders in sports to share valuable business and leadership skills. The mentors will also help construct strategic action plans with the emerging leaders in an effort to create additional sports opportunities for underserved women and girls when they return home to their communities. This year’s mentors represent the following companies and organizations: The Coca-Cola Company; Equinox; ESPN; Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA); the National Hockey League (NHL); NCAA; New Balance; New York Road Runners; Procter & Gamble; The PGA of America; Saatchi & Saatchi; U.S. Olympic Committee; United States Golf Association (USGA); Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA); and Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).

This collaboration between the U.S. Department of State and espnW, conducted in coordination with the University of Tennessee’s Center for Sport, Peace, and Society, aims to engage, inspire, and empower a new generation of women and girls through sports.

Join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #17Voices.Emerging Leaders

U.S. Special Envoy Russell Feingold to Visit Africa’s Great Lakes Region

(Photo credit: US Senate, Wikimedia Commons)
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesperson
September 3, 2013

Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Russell D. Feingold will be participating in a joint-visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda along with Mary Robinson, UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, Koen Vervaeke, EU Special Representative to the African Union, and Boubacar Diarra, Special Representative of the African Union Chairperson for the Great Lakes Region.

The trip will be Special Envoy Feingold’s first visit to the region in his new capacity, and follows on multiple trips during his tenure as a U.S. Senator. The joint delegation will be holding discussions with the senior leadership from the respective governments and members of civil society in order to advance the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region. The envoys will also be focused on efforts to address the security situation in eastern DRC.

Following the joint-visit, Special Envoy Feingold will continue to Burundi, for meetings with the Government of Burundi and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), and Ethiopia, for consultations with the African Union.

# # #

Monday, September 2, 2013

D.C. Mayor Gray Proclaims September As African Heritage Month


Mayor Gray and OAA invite District residents to the 4th Annual African Heritage Celebration: A Tribute to Past & Present Leaders in the African Community to be held on September 30 at the Howard Theatre.

For the first time last year, Mayor Vincent C. Gray, proclaimed September as “African Heritage Month” in the District of Columbia. In recognition of the unique contributions made by the tens of thousands of Africans residing in the District of Columbia, Mayor Gray declared September as a time for the larger District community to learn about and celebrate its ethnically, linguistically and culturally diverse African community.

“The District of Columbia is home to thousands of African businesses, residents, and their families – representing diverse cultural, religious, and political backgrounds and speaking hundreds of languages and dialects. These communities have enriched the cultural and economic fabric of our world-class city,” said Mayor Gray in the proclamation.

In honor of African Heritage Month and the worldwide observance of the 50th Anniversary of the African Union, Mayor Gray and his Office on African Affairs (OAA) invite District residents to the 4th Annual DC African Heritage Celebration: A Tribute to Past & Present Leaders in the African Community. This festive event will be held on Monday, September 30, 2013 at the legendary Howard Theatre (620 T St NW Washington, DC 20001) from 6 pm to 10 pm and will be free and open to the public.

Each year, the Mayor’s Annual DC Africa Celebration unites diverse communities of African descent in the District through art, culture, food, history, and music. Since its inception in 2010, the DC Africa Celebration has fast become one of the District’s most anticipated cultural events drawing thousands of diverse attendees. This event stands as testament of the unprecedented growth of the District’s African community, and showcases the burgeoning contributions this community makes to the cultural and economic vitality of the nation’s capital.

“The District of Columbia has one of the most vibrant and diverse African communities in the entire country, with African residents and businesses contributing not only to the cultural identity but also to the economic strength of the city,” said Director Ngozi Nmezi. “I would like to thank Mayor Gray for his unwavering support of the District’s African community.”

The year 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). Mayor Gray and OAA will join governments, organizations and communities around the world in celebrating this historic moment for Africans by promoting the official theme of Panafricanism and global African renaissance in the 21st century. At the local level, this theme ties seamlessly into Mayor Gray’s vision of building “One City” in which all residents thrive together. It further echoes the goals of OAA’s Multicultural Awareness and Development program which aims to promote greater connection and solidarity among the District’s ethnically diverse communities of African descent.

For the first time in four years, OAA’s annual DC African Heritage event will be hosted indoors, and will incorporate a new feature: a special tribute to past and present leaders in the African community. An awards program at the celebration will highlight exceptional leaders who have shaped history, and recognize seven exceptional leaders who are presently making unique contributions to Panafricanism and the economic and cultural renaissance of the District’s African community. Among other attractions, the festivities include a reception, high profile special guests and speakers, and a rich variety of performances.

The 4th Annual DC African Heritage Celebration on September 30 will conclude and come at the heels of a month-long celebration of the long legacy of African contributions to the economic vibrancy, character, and cultural identity of this city.

For a complete listing of events in the community please visit www.oaa.dc.gov.

Reinventing A Better World; By Melinda Gates

Melinda Gates
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
August, 2013

Welcome to August, the dog days, the month when life slows down and there’s time to think about the things that really matter. In terms of my work at the Gates Foundation, I can get back to first principles: Why do we do this work, and how can we be most effective?

That’s why we’re running a feature called “Reinvent A Better World” on our social channels throughout August. We believe the world changes when the boldest thinking is directed at the toughest problems. It’s what we are all about, so we will run a series of pieces about reinvention in several core areas of our work.

Reinvention requires innovation, and innovation is one of those words that can mean so many things that it almost means nothing. But it is such an important concept that it’s worth trying to reclaim.

We believe the world changes when the boldest thinking is directed at the toughest problems.

When Bill and I were working at Microsoft, innovation was everything. At computer software companies, brilliant people were making stunning breakthroughs every single day. The ideas kept getting bigger and bigger, while the devices kept getting smaller and smaller. The level of creativity and energy in our world was astounding. But when we started getting interested in philanthropy in the mid-1990s, we realized that the same creativity and energy weren’t being tapped to save people’s lives. The way the market worked, there just weren’t enough incentives to get the leading innovators in the world to focus on the problems of the poorest people.

That helped to explain why there were so many gaps—like the fact that the diagnosis for tuberculosis was inaccurate and slow, yet the world hadn’t come up with a new TB diagnostic for more than a century. Or the fact that American high schools still teach children according to a model that predates the computer.

Sometimes innovation involves technology, as it did when we were at Microsoft. In the area of contraceptives—which we’ll be focusing on the first week of our Reinvent series—we must invent new products that work in different ways and have fewer side effects so that all women can get what they need.

However, just as often, innovation simply requires thinking in new ways about the barriers that prevent progress. For example, we’re now working with men in poor communities to explain the importance of family planning, because often it is their opposition that prevents their wives from using contraceptives even though they want to.

This is the key to reinvention. It is not a single solution. It is a process. It is a frame of mind, a way of constantly looking at problems from new angles so that you can see more and more powerful solutions, try them out, and keep improving on them.

###