Freedom House Africa Head on Kenya’s Political Trajectory

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Petrovic at Left

Petrovic at Left

Things have been getting very hectic with my impending relocation to Liberia (I’ve probably only got a few more posts left in me, although I suspect I’ll continue blogging in Monrovia).  Yesterday, I did stop by the National Endowment for Democracy for part of an event on ‘Kenya after the 2013 Election.’

Vukasin Petrovic, Director of sub-Saharan Africa Programs at Freedom House was one of the two speakers and the only one I heard deliver his full set of remarks.

His main theme was one of negativity.  Petrovic noted that East Africa is one of the least democratic regions on the continent and that Kenya’s governance situation decreased democratically with the election of Uhuru Kenyatta.  Petrovic noted that  Kenyatta has took stops to close ‘operating space for civil society and media’, modeled on Ethiopia’s moves to clamp down on opposition following that country’s 2005 elections.

 

CSIS: A Western Journalist Speaks on the Congo and a Former US Ambassador in the DRC Obliquely Criticizes Rwanda

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Sundaram

Sundaram speaking with Hultman

I recently complained about remarks I heard by former US Ambassador in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, William Garvelink.  He spoke at CSIS yesterday at a book event for Anjan Sundaram, who has recently published a book on his experiences as a journalist in the Congo from 2005 – 2007 (he went there right after graduating from Yale).  I thought that I might be able to get another sourpuss post from yesterday’s event, but that was not particularly the case (at least in regards to Garvelink).  That honor went to Tami Hultman, co-founder of AllAfrica.

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Emira Woods @ Women Ambassadors Conference @ Howard University

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Yesterday I ventured to Howard University to hear Emira Woods of the Institute for Policy Studies speak on Militarism in Africa, primarily through the recent examples of the Central African Republic and Mali.  The occasion for this talk was the 19th annual Women Ambassadors Conference.  The Conference continues today and tomorrow.  I understand that seven of the 23 female ambassadors resident in DC will be present tomorrow as well as the female Ambassador of the African Union to the US. Continue reading

Abissa 2014 was a Blast, but I Suspect Georgetown has a Segregation Problem

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Kudos to the Africa Society of Georgetown for putting on an awesome cultural event last night!  The evening got off to what seemed to me to be a quintessentially catholic school start, with two white guys in jackets and ties banging on drums, but the Georgetown Percussion Ensemble was pretty talented and things only accelerated from there.  The evening consisted of various fashion shows, dances, and even a little spoken word.  Performance groups from other local universities – American University and the University of Maryland – took the stage and I also saw quite a few people wearing Howard apparel.

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A Day on Capitol Hill with Young African Leaders, Power Africa, and the Library of Congress

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YALI Breakfast

The room was dominated by portraits of old white men, including one holding a poodle.

Yesterday feelings of patriotism stirred in my bosom as I attended the Africa Policy Breakfast Series sponsored by Rep. Karen Bass (D – CA), a two panel Senate hearing on Power Africa, and I then passed a few hours reading Liberian newspapers at the Library of Congress before venturing over to New America and Arizona State.  It still strikes me as pretty cool that I can rub shoulders with prominent dignitaries and attend congressional hearings in person.

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Senior OPIC Executive and New America Foundation Fellow on Africa Rising

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Olopade (L) and Keating (R). The very short dress is worth acknowledgement.

After a long day on Capitol Hill (post to follow) yesterday, I ventured to Dupont Circle, where I learned that Arizona State has an office, for an event with a former Fellow of the New America Foundation.  Dayo Olopade, spoke on her new book, The Bright Continent: Breaking Rules and Making Change in Modern Africa.   I wasn’t able to get an especially clear picture of Olopade’s book from the talk, but it seemed that she has traveled widely throughout east and west Africa during her Fellowship and sought to challenge assumptions of Africa as a stagnant continent lacking the capacity for innovation (although the way she articulated this didn’t particularly resonate with me).  Mimi Alemayehou, Senior VP at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) was also on hand to provide refreshingly candid remarks for a government official and Josh Keating of Slate moderated.

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