Woldeab Woldemariam

“Up to now, I have never served nor become a messenger for any foreign power or interest. I am an enemy to any kind of slavery, in all its shapes and colors. No man, be he European or African, can force me into the yoke of any kind of bondage. If there be someone who dares to attempt my assassination in order to force me to submit to doing things contrary to my feeling and will, then I also have in me the courage to die for my political beliefs, for the cause of liberty of my country, and for the genuine interest of my brothers and sisters.” ~ Woldeab Woldemariam

Woldeab Woldemariam is one of the original advocates of the Eritrean independence movement and is considered the father of Eritrea. He was subjected to seven assassination attempts between 1947 and 1953. This is an excerpt from his book “Hanti Eritrea” which roughly translates to “One Eritrea”  (88). 1951-08-22

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Desmond Tutu

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” ~ Desmond Tutu, archbishop & Nobel Peace Prize laureate

Desmond Tutu is a South African social rights activist and retired Anglican bishop who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid.

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Building Bridges: An Ambassador Reflects on U.S.-Africa Relations

Amb. Ranneberger in Kenya

In the last blog entry, I wrote that Ambassador Michael E. Ranneberger was visiting the University of South Florida as part of an event sponsored by the Center for Strategic and Diplomatic Studies. Amb. Ranneberger gave a lecture titled “U.S. Foreign Policy in Africa: Lessons, Challenges, and Opportunities” through the center’s …

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U.S. Foreign Policy in Africa: A Lecture by Ambassador Ranneberger

Topic of Discussion: “U.S. Foreign Policy in Africa: Lessons, Challenges, and Opportunities”

In June, the Obama administration released an extensive document outlining its U.S. strategy toward Sub-Saharan Africa. In it, President Obama points out that the continent is “more important than ever to the security and prosperity of the international community.” However, many argue that U.S.-Africa relations have not been prioritized. Cynics say that the U.S. only took notice of the importance of Africa once China made its presence known through business deals and bilateral partnerships. Trade between China and Africa in the past ten years grew rapidly to $160 billion in 2011 compared with only $9 billion in 2000.

Still, the U.S.-Africa strategy document includes many important passages which highlight the importance of good governance  and its role in economical growth.

“Strong, accountable, and democratic institutions, sustained by a deep commitment to the rule of law, generate greater prosperity and stability, and meet with greater success in mitigating conflict and ensuring security. Sustainable, inclusive economic growth is a key ingredient to security, political stability, and development, and it underpins efforts to alleviate poverty, creating the resources that will bolster opportunity and allow individuals to reach their full potential.”

 One of America’s most authoritative and influential voices on the continent in recent years has been Michael E. Ranneberger, the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya from 2006 to 2011. Ranneberger’s long list of U.S.-Africa foreign service includes: a role in U.S.-Somalia relations, service as the special advisor on Sudan in the Bureau of African Affairs from 2002 to 2004, and serving as the Ambassador to the Republic of Mali from 1999 to 2002.

Currently working as the Senior Policy Advisor to U.S. Central Command, prior to his new post, Mr. Ranneberger also served as the Africa Bureau’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary from 2004 to 2005. A member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister- Counselor, his career in foreign service spans back to his role in 1980s where he served as the Angola Desk Officer as part of a team responsible for negotiating independence for Namibia and withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola from 1981 to 1984. He was also the Deputy Chief of Mission in Maputo 1986 to 1989.

On Thursday November 8, Ambassador Ranneberger is scheduled to visit the University of South Florida in an event sponsored by  the Center for Strategic and Diplomatic Studies as part of a “Lecture Series on National Security.” During the event, he will speak about U.S. Foreign Policy in Africa under the title “U.S. Foreign Policy in Africa: Lessons, Challenges, and Opportunities.” I plan to attend the lecture and hope to ask questions about what lessons he learned from his past experiences as the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya and  Mali, and what he hopes to promote to strengthen ties between the U.S. and Africa. You can find interview with the Ambassador here.

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If Africans had a Vote, Obama would Win in a Landslide


The final days of the campaign for the 2012 elections are upon us. Speculation by pundits, a barrage of polls and heated political discussions dominate the media in America. In this spirit, a panel of professors from around the world gathered at an event hosted by USF World and co-sponsored …

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