2008 Africa Workshops

Plenary: U.S. Africa policy today – bad old habits in shiny new armor.

Washington talks democracy and development but pursues its “war on terror” in alliance with African generals and power hungry, corrupt elites. It is expanding its militarization of all policy, setting up an overarching new African Command and giving a growing role in development and civic projects to the Department of Defence. We will explore policy as it has been, as it threatens to be and as it might yet become if we work to achieve real security with an alternative policy that responds to African civil society proposals for ways to end conflict, build security, protect human rights, with people driven sustainable development & fair trade.


  • Gerald LeMelle, Executive Director, Africa Action;
  • Emira Woods, Co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus, Institute for Policy Studies;
  • Francis Ng’ambi, Project Officer for Economic Dimensions, Economic Justice Network,.S.A.


Sudan – A Path to Peace? Emerging Issues in Darfur and Southern Sudan

Learn from US and Sudanese policy experts about the current political and humanitarian situation in Darfur and the faltering peace agreement between the north/south of Sudan. What should the international community be doing to help create peace in Sudan? How can you as an activist encourage policymakers to push for peace?


  • Angelos Agok, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services;
  • Suliman Giddo, President, Darfur Peace and Development;
  • Gayle Smith , Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

Facilitator: Gretchen King (LWR)


Vulture Funds- Protecting Africa from Poverty Predators
(Hosted by the Africa Track and co-sponsored by the Economic Justice Track)

Winning full debt cancellation for fourteen countries in Africa was a powerful recent victory in work for economic justice. Now that victory has to be protected from “vulture funds” – the companies that attempt to make exorbitant profits by suing impoverished countries that are awarded debt cancellation. Vulture funds have already claimed $15 million from Zambia – constricting the impoverished nation’s ability to channel lifesaving resources to poverty reduction. Join us and learn how to engage in a new campaign to protect debt cancellation from these corporate scavengers.


  • Roxanne Lawson, Africa Policy Director, TransAfrica Forum

Facilitator: Marie Clarke Brill , Deputy Director, Africa Action


Scarce Resources – Triggers of Conflict: Finding Alternative Paths to Peace and Security.

The tensions caused by foreign and domestic resource grabbing, longstanding divisions between the haves and have nots, the role of the State. Seeking ways forward.


  • Members of the Niger Delta Women’s Project invited


The DRC – an Ongoing Struggle for Progress

Come get some perspective on the complex forces engaged, understand the rich prizes still coveted by foreign corporations, find connections to men and women determined to build a secure, peaceful future and seek ways to walk with them, helping overcome the barriers and celebrating each hard won achievement.


  • Bahati Ntama Jacques, Policy Analyst, Africa Faith and Justice Network;
  • Marie Rose Sirikari, President, African Women Council, Inc;
  • Roxanne Lawson, Africa Policy Director, TransAfrica Forum

Moderator/Facilitator: John Kleiderer, Policy Director, Office of Social and Iinternational Ministries, U.S. Jesuit Conference


HIV/AIDS: Breaking the Political Myths and Mobilizing Action

Passing the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals halfway point to the 2015 goal of halting and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS was an important milestone, but there are many questions still being asked. As the 2015 mark approaches, what’s needed now? Are we on the right track? What threatens to derail the progress made? How well is the President’s AIDS Initiative (PEPFAR) working? Why is responding to AIDS still urgent?

Collectively, this interactive workshop will work to dispel some of the political myths and offer suggestions for mobilizing action in your home community or congregation on HIV/AIDS.


  • Marie Clarke Brill , Deputy Director, Africa Action;
  • Francis Ng’ambi, Project Officer for Economic Dimensions. Economic Jusice Network, SA – African perspectives


Swords into Plowshares: Drawing back U.S. Military Presence in Africa
(Hosted by the Global Security Track and co-sponsored by the Africa Track)

Review of U.S. military bases and military assistance programs in Africa, the new African Command, and alternative ways to help Africans achieve true security.


  • Daniel Volman, Ph.D., Director of the African Security Research Project; Others TBA


The Green Revolution Comes to Africa – Implications.
(Hosted by the Africa Track and co-sponsored by the Economic Justice Track)

In 2005, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller foundation announced their “Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa” or AGRA. The initiative proposes to use improved varieties of seeds (including genetically modified varieties), and wider access to chemical fertilizers and pesticides to “help millions of small farmers out of poverty.” But in places where such technologies are already widespread, small farmers have often been the victims of the rising agribusiness industry. India, considered a Green Revolution success story, has seen 150,000 small farmer suicides since 1997 alone as a direct result of changes in the economy brought about by green revolution policies. In Africa, evidence suggests that it is not a failure to produce, but rather trade liberalization policies that are largely to blame for rural poverty.

Is the “Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa” a cause for hope and celebration as its backers believe, or another empty promise disguising the advance of U.S. biotech and agribusiness in Africa?


  • Sameer Dossani, Director, 50 Years is Enough;
  • Joyce Tembenu, Salima (Malawi) Women’s Network on Gender Food Security Volunteer

Facilitator: Sameer Dossani


Seeking Participatory Governance in Africa : The Democracy Divide in U.S. – Africa Policy

The crisis in Kenya early this year came as a big surprise to many. U.S. commentators had projected Kenya as a beacon of democracy, growth and stability after the successful 2002 elections, yet the December 2007 elections were wrought with flaws, sparking shocking violence across the nation. Several important elections are scheduled in Africa in 2008 and 2009, including elections in Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, Angola, Sudan, South Africa… Please join us for a discussion that analyzes the democratic process in Africa in the light of the situation in Kenya, examines the nature of ethnic tensions and the choices presented where all parties represent only the elites, and comments on links between tribe and politics in Africa. Is US policy supporting or subverting the democratic process on the continent?


  • David Kaulemu, Executive Director, Africa Forum on Catholic Social Teaching, Zimb – progress, problems and challenges – the democratic process in Africa;
  • Marie Clarke Brill, Deputy Director, Africa Action – U.S. policy historically – preaching democracy, patronizing dictators – some thoughts on an alternative policy;
  • Bahati Ntama Jacques, Policy Analyst, Africa Faith and Justice Network – an update on the complex interactions of tribe and politics in Africa

Discussant: Horace G..Campbell, Professor of African-American Studies and Political Science, Syracuse University, invited


Taking Our Message onto the Hill and Back Home – making ourselves heard and memorable

An an interactive session we will unpack ways to express our opposition to the increasing militarization of aid funding to Africa and to the role of Africom.

Marie Clarke Brill and Marie Dennis will review key elements in our “Ask” to Congress that expresses opposition to the militarization of US policy towards Africa, and the development of AFRICOM, calls alternatively for funding just security initiatives such as the Global HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008

Participants will exchange ideas and experiences on best practices and how to streamline Monday’s lobby day effort.

Moderator: Sameer Dossani, Director, 50 Years is Enough


Debt, Conflict and the Journey to Justice: The Cases of Liberia and the DRC
(Hosted by the Economic Justice Track and co-sponsored by the Africa Track)

Countries in conflict or recently recovering from conflict face long journeys to justice and right relationship. Adding to the challenge is that the “resource curse” in which natural resources help to fuel conflict and injustice. Many countries in conflict or recovering from conflict often face massive economic challenges as well, such as large burdens of odious debt and massive unemployment. This workshop will consider the cases of Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, looking at the nexus between conflict, natural resources, and large and unjust debt burdens. Come learn about the challenges but also to hear stories of hope including ongoing campaigning to clear the debts of Liberia and the DRC to help these nations move forward on a path towards justice and reconciliation.


  • Emira Woods, Co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus, Institute for Policy Studies;
  • Reese Warne, Catholic Relief Services (invited);
  • Neil Watkins, National Coordinator, Jubilee USA Network;
  • Dr. Benjamin Lartey, General Secretary, Liberian Council of Churches

Contributing Sponsors & Partner Organizations