June 4, 2003 - Peace Corps Press Release: Peace Corps Honors Community Service Leaders of Color at 5th Annual Franklin H. Williams Awards
Peace Corps Online:
Peace Corps News:
Peace Corps Headlines - 2003:
June 2003 Peace Corps Headlines:
June 4, 2003 - Peace Corps Press Release: Peace Corps Honors Community Service Leaders of Color at 5th Annual Franklin H. Williams Awards
Peace Corps Honors Community Service Leaders of Color at 5th Annual Franklin H. Williams Awards
Franklin H. Williams, noted civil rights attorney and U. S. ambassador
Read and comment on this Peace Corps Press Release on the 12 nationwide recipients of this year's Franklin Williams Award at:
Peace Corps Honors Community Service Leaders of Color at 5th Annual Franklin H. Williams Awards *
* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.
Peace Corps Honors Community Service Leaders of Color at 5th Annual Franklin H. Williams Awards
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 4, 2003 -Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez will honor 12 nationwide recipients of this year's Franklin Williams Award this evening.
Established in 1999, the Franklin H. Williams Award honors outstanding returned Peace Corps volunteers of color who have put their overseas experiences to work in their communities and in their professions to promote a better understanding of other peoples and their cultures.
The award winners follow in the service-minded footsteps of former ambassador and Peace Corps director of the Africa region Franklin H. Williams. Mr. Williams served as an ambassador to the United Nations and Ghana, as an advocate for civil rights, and as one of Sargent Shriver's trusted deputies during the formative years of the Peace Corps. He also served as president of the Phelps-Stokes Fund, which focuses on educational opportunities for Americans of color and Africans.
Mrs. Shirley B. Williams, widow of Franklin H. Williams, will be present at this year's event.
The Peace Corps Director's Award honors an individual who has served the Peace Corps as former staff or through a commitment to international development and cross-cultural understanding. The keynote speaker and Peace Corps Director's Award-winner this year is Melvin P. Foote, president and CEO of the Constituency for Africa (CFA). CFA is a U.S.-based network of organizations, groups and individuals committed to the progress and empowerment of Africa and African people worldwide. Foote was a Peace Corps volunteer and teacher in Ethiopia and Eritrea from 1973-1976, where he remains engaged in service to this region.
The award winners were selected from each of the 11 Peace Corps regional offices nationwide. This year's notable list of winners includes:
Anjabehu (Lily) Asrat, avid student and world-wide volunteer, Louisiana; For individual biographies on the award recipients, please click on the following link.
Walter M. Baker, Peace Corps recruiting resource, west Texas;
Anson Chong, Food Bank of Hawaii volunteer and Global Hope faculty advisor, Hawaii;
Darius Kenyatta Ellis, country director for the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society Refugee Trust of Kenya, Kenya;
Paul Goodrich, founder and president of African Sports Outreach, Oregon;
Albert S. Liu, president of Milwaukee Peace Corps Association, Milwaukee;
Walter Mau, active member of the Boston Area Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, Massachusetts;
Solema V. Neary, active community member, Colorado;
Ed H. Smith, chairman of Chicago City Council's Committee on Health; Amanda Wash, founder of A Foundation for African Children Today (AFACT), Los Angeles;
and James A. Wilson Jr., assistant professor of history at Wake Forest University, North Carolina.
http://www.peacecorps.gov/noteworthy/fwa/index.cfm Since 1961, more than 168,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and awareness, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture.
Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a two-year commitment.
More about Winners of the Franklin Award
Read more about the Regional Winners of the Franklin Award at:
Regional Winners of the Franklin Award
Anjabebu (Lily) Asrat
Anjabebu (Lily) Asrat's Peace Corps assignment in Namibia was to facilitate the professional development of over 30 teachers in seven primary schools through team teaching, demonstration teaching, and workshops. In a secondary project, she volunteered at the local high school library, extending the library's hours, providing homework help, and helping solicit books from organizations worldwide.
Additionally, she attended a regional workshop with girls from local junior high schools and helped establish girls clubs to facilitate discussions about pregnancy, contraception, "sugar daddies," HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, careers, and other topics selected by the girls. Asrat volunteered with Teach for America after she graduated from college, teaching in inner-city and rural schools nationwide. She joined the Peace Corps with a strong desire to extend her volunteerism beyond the shores of this country. When her Peace Corps service came to a close, she joined the Crisis Corps and was sent to West Africa to assist in the refugee crisis in Guinea. She coordinated food delivery to children who had fled the brutal wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Her volunteerism extends to activities on a smaller scale. While completing a master's degree at Ohio University, Asrat volunteered at the Good Works homeless shelter, cooking Friday night dinners and socializing with the homeless of the poor Appalachian community. While obtaining a second master's degree at Tulane University, she worked with Planned Parenthood and the Tulane HIV/AIDS Task Force, providing education in high-risk communities in New Orleans. She also worked with fellow students to spearhead a fundraising effort that raised over $5,000 for AIDS orphans in Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Whether celebrating with the teachers she trained in Namibia after they passed the required government exams, watching refugee children in Guinea eat life-sustaining food, chatting with homeless people over dinner, or raising funds to help AIDS orphans, Asrat finds volunteerism to be a richly rewarding component of her life and hopes her efforts have contributed some small part to making the world a better place.
As a Volunteer in Ghana, Walter Mau taught high school math and science at a rural school for his first year, using innovative methods with his physics sudents in particular. For the next two years, Mau taught basic electronics to future high school physics teachers and laboratory assistants at the University of Cape Coast. There, he originated a course building teaching models from discarded materials. He also trained students in the use of simple hand tools by having them make items such as wooden bookends and boomerangs. He assembled an early Intel microcomputer to demonstrate features of the coming microcomputer revolution.
Since 2001, Mau has helped Sudanese refugees in Boston clean, paint, and repair lights in a church parsonage that is being converted into a group home for eight Sudanese teenagers. He has also tutored Sudanese refugees in high school math, set up computers at their homes, and arranged computer classes for them.
In the spring of 2002, Mau configured 80 of the approximately 400 Macintosh computers sent to South Africa under the sponsorship of the South Africa Development Fund, which installs computers in KwaZulu-Natal as part of the South Africa Township Schools Project. The project also trains students and teachers in how to use and maintain the computers.
Since 1978, Mau has been actively involved in the Boston Area Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, a group with 540 members. Mau served as vice president of the group, was a founder of the steering committee, and served on the board for its first 10 years. He was the first editor of the group's newsletter, and provided typesetting and design services for many years. He also wrote a database program that has produced the annual membership directory for the past 25 years.
Ed H. Smith
Ed Smith served as a Volunteer in the southern Indian town of Hana Konda in Andhra Pradesh from 1967 to 1969, doing agricultural development in conjunction with India's Department of Agriculture. There he worked closely with the block development officer, assisting in community development and education.
Smith has served constituents of Chicago's West Side as an alderman since 1983; he is the city's only elected returned Volunteer. As alderman of the 28th ward, Smith has been a strong voice for the needs of the economically challenged community. He has taken a strong public stance against drug and gang violence. He has also brought needed programs to high school dropouts in the West Side. He is currently the leader of the City Council's black caucus and has won accolades for his work from his colleagues on the City Council as well as his constituents.
In 1998, Smith set up a mobile alderman's office to perform regular stings in places identified by community members as high-volume drug-dealing areas. Smith kept the office in the area for several days and held a prayer march sponsored by local churches. Thanks to his tenacity, lemonade and snow cone stands displaced the drug dealers, and drug sales were visibly reduced-and in some instances eliminated-on street corners.
Smith serves as the chairman of the Chicago City Council's Committee on Health. In this role, he has fought to improve the health and save the lives of people throughout Chicago and Illinois. He is a leader in the battle to reduce the incidence of lung cancer and lung disease by restricting the sale and use of cigarettes in the city.
Smith continues his commitment to volunteer service through his involvement with Operation PUSH, the Garfield Park Chamber of Commerce, and Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church.
Walter M. Baker
Community service has defined Dr. Baker's life and career, beginning with his service in the Peace Corps. As an education and health Volunteer, he taught in a secondary school in his first year and worked with Ethiopia's Health Ministry on leprosy control in his second year. "My service with the Peace Corps veri?ed my resourcefulness and knowledge I learned in college and in life." Baker also served the agency as an associate Peace Corps director in Tunisia from 1976 to 1978, the country director in Tunisia from 1978 to 1979, the deputy country director in the Philippines from 1979 to 1982, and manager of the Dallas Regional Of?ce from 1994 to 1999.
Baker, 63, devotes his time to several community service organizations in west Texas. Since 2001, he has been active in the Cancer Service Network, which provides funds for cancer patients' travel, medication, and prostheses. Since 1999, he has helped west Texans who are physically or mentally challenged or have addictions find stable employment through Goodwill Industries, where he serves as a board member. But the volunteer work that best exemplifies the Peace Corps' third goal of cross-cultural education in the United States is his work with Rotary International. Through RI, Baker has facilitated study exchanges with teams of foreign professionals, inviting doctors, professors, and community leaders to meet with American counterparts in west Texas to share best practices. He has also hosted citizens from Brazil, Sweden, and India, and led a delegation of west Texas professionals to Zambia.
Baker continues to serve as a recruiting resource for the Peace Corps. He shares his positive experience with anyone he meets who is considering applying. "Being a Peace Corps Volunteer is an investment in one's development, both professionally and personally. Most people don't comprehend what serving others can provide them. Service yields great benefits throughout [one's] lifetime," Baker says.
Baker is happy to see the Peace Corps grow and prosper. "The Peace Corps has matured greatly. The agency's program evaluation has improved. The Peace Corps is addressing the needs of host countries. And jobs are much broader than in my day," he notes approvingly.
James A. Wilson, Jr.
James Wilson is a proud native of the Lone Star State, where he was born on January 20, 1961, on the very day and the exact moment that John F. Kennedy took the oath to become president of the United States.
After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin in 1984, Wilson became a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya. He taught English and African literature to 450 high school students in a rural community located at 7,000 feet in the Taita Hills. Additionally, Wilson wrote a solar electricity proposal to the U.S. Agency for International Development and launched a large-scale solar lighting system that benefited Kitumbi High School. When Wilson returned to his former school in 1997, he discovered that the school had named some new classrooms after him.
In 1989, Wilson relocated to Washington, D.C., to accept a position as a policy associate with the National Foundation for the Improvement of Education. At the NFIE, he administrated two national grants for teachers interested in international education and professional development. He later became a senior program officer for the Fund for New York City Public Education, where he designed and implemented school reform programs in partnership with the New York City Public Schools and the Ford Foundation.
In 1992, he entered the master's program in African and African-American studies at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. While engaged in graduate studies, he taught Kiswahili to elementary students at the Belle Sherman School.
In 1996, Williams received a certificate in African area studies and languages and started his Ph.D. studies at Princeton University in New Jersey. At Princeton he gave presentations about the Peace Corps to public middle school classes and organized a program for African-American undergraduates on living and working in Africa.
In August 2002, Wilson became the 15th African-American man to receive a Ph.D. in history from Princeton University in 254 years. Shortly afterward, he relocated to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he is an assistant professor of history at Wake Forest University. Wilson conducts frequent meetings with students at WFU to speak about the Peace Corps and his experiences living in Africa.
Solema V. Neary
Solema Neary began her Peace Corps service at the age of 50, working in a school garden program sponsored by the Public Ministry of Education. In charge of 24 schools in the mountainous region of Costa Rica, she traveled by mule, which was especially challenging during the rainy season. In her free time, Neary designed a garden at a church in the community where she lived. She received an award from the Costa Rican government for this work.
Neary lived about 20 miles from San José, the capital, but traveled there once a month to help establish Peace Corps guidelines for Costa Rica.
Neary was the only person in her Peace Corps group without a college degree, and when she returned home she enrolled in Metro State College in Denver, where she was able to continue learning about other cultures. She majored in Spanish and Chicano studies, lived with two Native American tribes in Mexico, and traveled to Spain, Portugal, and Morocco.
Neary served as assistant to the director of Metro State College Women's Center from 1982 to 1985 and was honored by Rocky Mountain-area women at a banquet sponsored by the Council on Working Women in 1984. In 1985, she helped organize Colorado Women's History Week, speaking to groups at several colleges to help organize the event. Neary received a service commendation from former Rep. Patricia Schroeder of Colorado for her work with the Peace Corps.
Neary has also worked at an adult literacy center and has translated for Spanish-speaking patients at the Mariposa Health Clinic. Although she has faced a number of serious health issues, she continues, at the age of 76, to be an active member of her community. A number of newspaper articles have been written about Neary's participation in the community, and in each, she discusses the importance of her Peace Corps service.
Amanda Wash quit her job as a nurse with Kaiser Permanente to become a Peace Corps Volunteer in the health program in Niger. In her assignment as a nurse, she had an office in the capital and handled immunizations, maintenance care, and physicals and, when necessary, accompanied Volunteers who were evacuated for medical emergencies.
While she was a Volunteer, Niger was suffering from a drought that left many desperate refugees in its wake. The sights Wash witnessed during this period-including mothers holding starving babies and begging for water and basic medical supplies and cattle lying dead in the street-compelled her to do more. Wash feels it was her experience as a Volunteer that led her to dedicate the next 30 years of her life to improving conditions in Africa.
On a voluntary basis, Wash has collected and organized dozens of shipments of clothing, toys, food, and medical supplies to hospitals, mental institutions, orphanages, and various aid centers. In one year alone, she delivered more than 24,000 pounds of clothing to Mozambique. After civil war destroyed much of Somalia in 1991, she spearheaded the shipment of half a ton of medical supplies to the country's needy citizens. As the volunteer chairperson of the Peacemaking Committee of Westminster (in California), she was instrumental in sending four tons of sterile water to Rwanda during a period of severe civil unrest.
Two years ago, Walsh founded A Foundation for African Children Today, whose mission is to send as many supplies as possible to African children in need. afact is mobilizing education efforts about the impact of HIV/AIDS in the Los Angeles area, assisting African children with AIDS, and providing relief to refugee camps in Burundi.
Still inspiring others at the age of 74, Wash says, "I don't want my efforts to die with me and fall to the wayside. We own three-fourths of the world's wealth. Why can't we give more of our time and resources to prevent illnesses as simple as the whooping cough? Our community is the world."
Albert S. Liu
Albert Liu returned to Milwaukee after being away for nine years, part of that time as a Volunteer, and feels he was fortunate to land a job that was attractive enough to keep him there. During this period, he discovered the Milwaukee Peace Corps Association, the local returned Volunteers group, and began attending its events regularly. He found out that there were people in Milwaukee who had done many of the same things that he had.
He was invited to serve as an at-large board member for the group in the summer of 2001. In January 2002 Liu was elected president of MPCA, giving him the opportunity to help increase the visibility of the organization both among returned Volunteers and in the greater community.
During Liu's tenure as president, the MPCA has increased its participation in philanthropic, recruitment, and social activities. Over the past year, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of attendees at its major outreach events-the parent brunch in early November and the Volunteer send-off in late April. Liu served as emcee for both events and is proud that the group's efforts at promoting the Peace Corps are starting to bear fruit.
Liu also serves as president of the Georgetown Club of Wisconsin, a group of Georgetown University alumni. In keeping with the university's commitment to public service, they plan community service events ranging from serving food at a meal program to helping at a community greenhouse.
Volunteering through the MPCA and the Georgetown Club has allowed Liu to simultaneously accomplish two goals: (1) reestablishing strong connections to the city where he was born and grew up and (2) maintaining strong associations with the Peace Corps and Georgetown University. Though they require a significant commitment of time and effort, he is proud of what both organizations have accomplished.
Darius Kenyatta Ellis
Since completion of his Peace Corps service, Brooklyn native Darius Kenyatta Ellis has continued to share his passion for community development work and global issues through his professional and volunteer efforts.
After returning to the United States, Ellis became a community liaison and later a special assistant in the New York State Senate. He volunteered with community groups to assess local environmental and economic development problems and spearheaded the organization of a televised public hearing to address environmental damage caused by a medical waste incinerator in the South Bronx. His outreach and research efforts in collaboration with community residents resulted in the implementation of new environmental safeguards.
Ellis also was a field representative for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in Tbilisi, Georgia, working with the Parliament and fledgling political parties to develop a framework for self-governance legislation. His regional expertise, language skills, and interest in Kartuli, a local language, were instrumental in building rapport among diverse political parties. Ellis credits his Peace Corps experience with providing him with the skills to operate effectively in the diverse overseas environments in which he has lived.
In February 2003, Ellis accepted a position as country director for the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society Refugee Trust of Kenya. He collaborates with local and international NGOs and United Nations entities that help refugees from Rwanda, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and other countries in the region who have fled persecution in their country of origin and whose lives are at risk in Kenya, their country of asylum. Ellis and his staff help obtain the necessary documentation for the resettlement of women, unaccompanied minors, and others who face continued risks if they remain in Kenya.
Never straying far from his interests in volunteering, Ellis volunteers with a Kenyan NGO that provides microenterprise development services for refugees and internally displaced persons in Kenya. Ellis is also a founding member of the Minority Peace Corps Association.
As a Volunteer, Anson Chong served as a lecturer in economics at the University of Nigeria. When he arrived, the university was new, literally carved out of the jungle in a remote region 600 miles east of Lagos. With no textbooks available for his students, Chong wrote and published a basic economics textbook for use in his course. This textbook was adopted by other teachers and, by the end of his service, was being widely used in southern Nigeria.
Upon returning from Peace Corps service, Chong helped found the returned Volunteer group in Hawaii. He has been active in that group throughout the years, regularly helping to promote the Peace Corps in his community. Chong served as a member of the state House of Representatives from 1972 to 1974, where he was named Outstanding Legislator of the Year in 1973, and as a state senator from 1974 to 1980.
From 1982 to 1985, Chong served as the director of the Micronesia Economic Development Authority, having been called in to lead the organization out of bankruptcy. After two years, the organization moved from bankruptcy to a $500,000 budget, through which it was able to develop the islands' fisheries industry. For the remainder of the 1980s and the 1990s, Chong worked in a variety of locations in Asia and the United States with his wife, Ann Gleason.
For the past six years, Chong has volunteered with the Food Bank of Hawaii. Every month he travels to outlying areas of the state, providing assistance to families without access to utilities and other basic services. In addition, he has used his Internet skills to create and maintain the food bank's website.
Chong also serves as faculty advisor of a student service organization called Global Hope that sponsors discussion forums on global issues. The organization has raised students' awareness and understanding of complex global issues relating to economics, political conflicts, and the environment.
The governor of Hawaii appointed Chong to his county appeals board, where he works voluntarily with other community members on variances to existing laws and ordinances.
Paul Goodrich worked as an agricultural extension agent during his Peace Corps service. His duties included providing 10 farmers with technical assistance and encouragement in increasing their crop yields and productivity through animal-powered farming. His secondary activities included demonstrating animal traction farming techniques to street youths.
Goodrich is the founder and president of African Sports Outreach, a not-for-profit international development organization that is committed to improving the lives of at-risk African youth through cross-cultural exchange, sports equipment donations, and AIDS awareness initiatives. It aims to empower these youth by helping them develop a more positive image of themselves through sports and teamwork. ASO has outfitted more than 75 teams throughout western and southern Africa, providing nearly $400,000 worth of soccer footwear, apparel, and equipment, along with literacy and AIDS awareness and prevention programs, to more than 15,000 at-risk youth. Among the countries being helped is Togo, where Goodrich served as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
In 2001, Goodrich initiated a partnership with Rainbow Family Services, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to assisting children, families, and communities throughout Oregon with a wide variety of social services. RFS will support a two-year multicultural awareness program managed by African Sports Outreach, which seeks to reduce the negative behaviors of at-risk youth through cross-cultural communication and education. RFS case managers note that they have seen a significant change in the children's outlook and behavior in the short time the program has existed. In addition, they report that many students have developed new interest in and heightened knowledge of cultures other than their own. This is of particular importance in the Willamette Valley (45 miles southwest of Portland), where there is a significant influx of people of diverse cultures.
Melvin P. Foote
Keynote Speaker; founder, president and CEO of the Constituency for Africa; and, Director's Award Recipient
Mr. Melvin P. Foote is the Founder, President & CEO of the Constituency for Africa, (CFA), a U.S.-based network of organizations, groups and individuals committed to the progress and empowerment of Africa and African people worldwide. CFA, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C., is widely acknowledged as the premiere advocacy group for Africa in the United States. CFA is currently structuring a National Advocacy Campaign to address the HIV/AIDS Pandemic affecting Africa. CFA is also actively involved in issues of conflict resolution, democracy and governance, and advocacy for increased trade, investment and economic development for the continent of Africa.
CFA's stellar reputation is centered around its highly successful series of Town Hall Meetings (THMs) and African Business Roundtables (ABRs) which have been convened in more than fifty cities nationwide with more than 15,000 participants. CFA has also pioneered a highly respected series of informative forums on Africa known as The Ronald H. Brown African Affairs Series, which coincides with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Legislative Week held in Washington, D.C. in September of each year. CFA has proven access to key decision makers in the U.S. Government, non-governmental community, private sector, and the media that are effectively being leveraged to establish a framework for meaningful, ongoing dialogue between Africa and the United States.
Mr. Foote recently led a CFA Delegation to meet with the senior leadership of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) as well as senior officials of the South African Government. During the visit, the CFA Delegation received extensive briefings from leading officials of NEPAD, including those directly responsible for key portfolios such as governance and peer review mechanisms, health and HIV/AIDS, human resources, infrastructure, regional integration, communications, outreach and marketing. CFA is currently in the process of establishing a strategic partnerships alliance with the NEPAD Secretariat in order to build a closer relationship between Africans on the continent and those Africans in the Diaspora in the areas of economic development, infrastructure, health care and cultural exchanges.
Mr. Foote is the recipient of the Congressional Black Caucus 2001 Annual Legislative Conference's Diggs Award for Foreign Affairs in recognition of his outstanding commitment and achievement on issues and concerns pertaining to Africa. He has successfully engaged the Bush Administration in dialogue on the economic and strategic importance of Africa to U.S. interests. In 2001, Foote conducted several fact-finding missions to Sudan in an effort to establish the necessary dialogue between all interested parties concerning the civil wars in the country. He also met with Secretary of State, Colin Powell in order to discuss the HIV/AIDS pandemic and critical need for conflict resolution in Africa, particularly, the role of the U.S. in bringing an end to the war in the Sudan.
In 2000, Foote's organization formed a "Coalition to Conquer the HIV/AIDS Pandemic in Africa" with several other Africa-focused groups and organizations, which successfully impacted the 2000 Presidential Race. The Coalition held a first-of-a-kind Town Hall Meeting on Africa at the Democratic Nation Convention (DNC) in Los Angeles and successfully inserted an "Africa Plank" in the Democratic Party Platform guaranteeing continued U.S. commitment to addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa.
Foote, through CFA, was a premier advocate of the "Africa Growth and Opportunities Act" (AGOA), sponsored in Congress by Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA). Working with congressional legislators, the African Diplomatic Corps and members of the "AGOA Coalition", he mounted a relentless campaign to push AGOA, mobilizing support for it by reaching out to the African American and business communities, large and small, through publicity and Town Hall Meetings on Africa across the United States. AGOA was subsequently signed into law by President Clinton in May 2000 and CFA was cited as a major advocacy factor in the success of this historic legislation. Foote is now occupied with providing technical support for the successful implementation of AGOA and continued advocacy for the upcoming AGOA II legislation.
From 1999-2000, Foote staged a similar advocacy campaign for H.R. 3519, the "World Bank AIDS Trust Fund", sponsored by Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Congressman Jim Leach (R-IA) as part of the "Coalition to Conquer the HIV/AIDS Pandemic in Africa's" efforts to advocate on behalf of an "AIDS Marshall Plan for Africa". The "AIDS Marshall Plan" aims to build a global public-private partnership to marshal the resources necessary to provide a comprehensive and holistic approach to combating the HIV/AIDS pandemic devastating the continent. This historic piece of legislation established a fund with $300 million dollars from the U.S. government which would be leveraged to attract more resources from the private sector.
Foote has also represented the United States in several fact-finding missions to Africa. In August 1998, Foote organized a trade mission, led by Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA), to Gabon. Also, in 1998, he organized an American and African delegation to observe and certify the Presidential Elections in Gabon. In 1997, Foote served as a member of the Presidential Mission on Economic Cooperation to Africa led by Congressman Charles B. Rangel (D-NY) touring Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, Mauritius, Botswana and Cote D'Ivoire.
Also, in 1997, he was successful in getting the White House to arrange a humanitarian mission led by Congressman Donald Payne (D-NJ), to Rwanda, Burundi, Eastern Zaire and Kenya, following the massacre of millions of Tutsis in the Rwandan civil war. In 1996, he was part of a U.S. human rights delegation to the military-ruled Nigeria, where they met with the late Chief M.K.O. Abiola, the incarcerated victor of the 1994 Presidential Elections.
Prior to the Fourth African/African-American Summit in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1997, Foote organized a three-day conference that brought together national umbrella networks from thirteen African countries, to meet with American non-governmental organizations, and explore opportunities for linkages and cooperation. This unique conference was deemed a tremendous success and served to pave the way for an electronic network which is now in place between the American and African NGOs.
Having served in Somalia from 1981-1984 as Africare's Country Representative, implementing a variety of relief and development projects, in 1991, he returned to Somalia, this time as part of a Congressional fact-finding mission led by Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) and Congressman Donald Payne (D-NJ) to report on the ongoing civil war and famine in Somalia.
In the 1990's Foote represented the U.S. in the process of monitoring the Ethiopian elections, as well as the independence referendum in Eritrea. A former Peace Corps Volunteer and Teacher in Ethiopia and Eritrea from 1973-1976, he returned to Ethiopia in 1986 with a delegation of prominent U.S. women leaders, to assess the famine which claimed the lives of millions in that country. He remains engaged in the region as part of a team of highly-placed former Peace Corps Volunteers, who returned to mediate and promote a peaceful end to the war which broke out between the two countries in the Spring of 1998, and which has claimed more than 40,000 lives.
From 1984-1994, Foote served in Africare's Washington headquarters as their Director of Constituency Development --- working to build grassroots support for food, water, health and environmental projects. Growing out of this work, in 1991 he pioneered the Constituency for Africa concept as a mechanism to build and coordinate support for Africa in the United States. CFA remained a project of Africare until it became an independent organization in 1994.
Mr. Foote is a regularly requested speaker on radio and television as well as a prolific writer of articles and editorials featured in newspapers and magazines across America, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, JET, CNN, C-SPAN, BET, EMERGE, Ebony, and Worldnet. He also edits a monthly column on African issues entitled "Under the Baobab Tree", in Black Meetings and Tourism Magazine.
Click on a link below for more stories on PCOL
Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.
This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Minotiry Volunteers