• Africa

    Goodbye, Obama: A West African’s Loving Farewell

    by  • January 9, 2017 • Africa, Education, US Foreign Relations, WORLDVIEWS • 2 Comments

    ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — The 2008 United States presidential election was an incredible time for me, here in West Africa. The election contributed to shaping my leadership skills and affected the course of my life. I used to take part in events at the US Embassy in Abidjan, our country’s commercial capital, as a...

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    Checking on the Health of the International Criminal Court

    by  • December 8, 2016 • Africa, Child Soldiers, Gender-Based Violence, ICC, International Justice • 

    THE HAGUE — At the glassy, eco-minded new building of the International Criminal Court here in the Netherlands’ capital, people who are being tried may still be called “detainees,” but make no mistake: they remain accused of such atrocities as murder, torture and child-soldier recruitment as well as gang-raping women and girls. It’s business...

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    Sudan, the Enigma

    by  • November 30, 2016 • Africa, Unesco • 

    KHARTOUM, Sudan — Arriving at the Khartoum airport near midnight, as I did a few weeks before the American presidential election, one is struck by the lineup of aircraft parked near the terminal. There is not a single Western airline among them, though one sees several from across the Arab world and parts of...

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    This Entrepreneur Shows Kenyans That Women Can Prosper in Business

    by  • November 16, 2016 • Africa, Development, Women • 

    Jennifer Riria, the chief executive of Kenya’s largest microfinance institution, grew up in a village at the top of Mount Kenya, the second-tallest mountain in Africa. Her birth was cause for disappointment: the fourth of her parents’ daughters. Her father abused her mother, and she grew up watching women carry firewood, water, food and...

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    As Terrorist Threats Rise in Mali, the Dutch Slowly Pull Out of Peacekeeping

    by  • November 10, 2016 • Africa, Peace and Security, UN Peacekeeping • 2 Comments

    The Dutch contingent of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali is withdrawing its seven helicopters from the operation by spring, leaving a wide hole in reconnaissance and intelligence gathering for the mission that desperately needs those assets. With no immediate supplier for replacement helicopters in sight, the withdrawal presents an additional strain on the...

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    Are Those Fair-Trade Flowers You’re Buying? A Dutch Charity Raises Awareness

    by  • October 26, 2016 • Africa, Gender-Based Violence, Human Rights, Women • 

    While people buy flowers to celebrate special occasions or to merely liven up their home, most buyers do not think twice about the origins of the flowers or why they are so affordable. Almost all the roses now sold in Europe come from Eastern Africa and most of them are produced — little surprise...

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    South African Decision to Quit the ICC Draws Critics in Africa and Beyond

    by  • October 24, 2016 • Africa, ICC, International Justice • 

    South Africa’s announcement on Oct. 21 that it intends to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, which has jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, has met strong opposition from civil society groups in that country and other African and international human-rights organizations. Africa has played major roles in the independent court,...

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    Pushing the African Union to Prevent Conflicts on Its Own Turf

    by  • August 22, 2016 • Africa, Peace and Security, UN Peacekeeping • 

    As the African Union ambitiously strives to end conflict and “silence the guns,” as it says, by 2020 amid rising instability across the continent, a new review by the World Peace Foundation on peacemaking efforts lays out how the African Union can become a stronger, more viable force in preventing and resolving violent conflict...

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    As China Becomes a Major Player in UN Peacekeeping, Will It Respond to Crises?

    by  • August 17, 2016 • Africa, Gender-Based Violence, Human Rights, Peace and Security, UN Peacekeeping • 

    As China has projected its economic and military power more widely not only in Asia but also in Africa and to some extent in Latin America, little notice has been paid by the general public to another arena of growing influence: United Nations peacekeeping. In coming weeks, the Chinese are expected to announce the...

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    Fixing UN Peacekeeping Operations: The World’s Most Complicated Army

    by  • May 23, 2016 • Africa, Gender-Based Violence, Secretary-General, UN Peacekeeping, Women • 

    It has been almost a year since a sweeping assessment of United Nations peacekeeping operations by experts recommended significant changes from top to bottom: a reformed hierarchy in New York and greater coordination and discipline among military contingents in ever-more dangerous missions around the world. Few of their substantive ideas have been adopted. As...

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    Advocates for Besieged Children Say Collaboration Is Essential

    by  • May 1, 2016 • Africa, Asia, Child Soldiers, Middle East • 

    Grim images from the small world of children are multiplying. Little bodies adrift in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas. Uncomprehending faces pressed against wire fences and barricades in Europe from the Balkans to the French port of Calais. At least 17 Syrian children and their pediatrician slaughtered by a bomb apparently targeting a hospital...

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    Obama, at His Last Nuclear Summit, Urges Strong Vigilance Ahead

    by  • April 5, 2016 • Africa, Nuclear Disarmament, US Foreign Relations • 

    When the last of President Barack Obama’s four summit meetings on keeping weapons-grade material out of the hands of terrorists and criminals ended on April 1, there were no headline advances to report, as experts were predicting. Instead, Obama took the opportunity at a farewell news conference to count how considerable progress had been...

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    As Women’s Rights Gain Broadly in Africa, the Global Picture Looks More Mixed

    by  • March 15, 2016 • Africa, Gender-Based Violence, Human Rights, Latin America, Women • 

    Hailing from various corners of the world, five activists gathered in New York recently to assess the progress of women’s rights globally — presenting a mixed picture of gains in Africa but threats to women’s rights through new programs countering violent extremism — just as the world celebrated International Women’s Day. The five women,...

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    A Gift for Balance: ‘Soba’ Ladies Sell Their Goods

    by  • March 6, 2016 • Africa, Women • 

    OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — Everyday, from dawn to dusk, under intense sunshine, thousands of women travel to work through the streets of this capital of nearly three million inhabitants, managing like tightrope walkers the dusty, cratered roads, slaloming between cars and motos, the skin of their feet cracked by the daily march, the lines...

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    Snakes, Scorpions and Red Tape: Europeans Adjust to the UN Mission in Mali

    by  • February 11, 2016 • Africa, Terrorism, UN Peacekeeping, US Foreign Relations • 

    Since its rollout in 2013, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali has been actively recruiting more European troops to strengthen its ranks of police, military and civilian personnel from African and Asian countries, typical sources for UN missions. The mission’s main mandate is to protect civilians, stabilize the country and carry out a...

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    In Burkina Faso, a US Ambassador Wins Over a Slice of Francophone West Africa

    by  • January 13, 2016 • Africa, US Foreign Relations • 

    Tulinabo Mushingi, center, the US ambassador to Burkina Faso

    OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — Nowhere can the positive presence of the United States in West Africa be more obvious than in the quiet, dusty nation of Burkina Faso, a mostly rural state surrounded by six other countries of ranging stability: Benin, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger and Togo. Near the heart of a well-coordinated...

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