U.S. involvement in Africa and the challenges and opportunities in Africa: Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh

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Broad strokes and assumptions do little to nuance the African mosaic, much less the complex connections between the United States and Africa’s 54 countries. Evolutions in technology, finance, health solutions, commerce, and governance continue to transform the continent from within, and geopolitical pressure and the ambitions of world powers are developing new dynamics for many countries in the community of nations. How does the United States see Africa, and what are its goals there? How responsive is the U.S. to a rapidly changing continent and the global realities that it represents?

The International Relations Council is proud to present a conversation with Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Associate and Regional Director for Central and West Africa Programs at the National Democratic Institute, who will help us understand the nature and extent of U.S. involvement in Africa and the challenges and opportunities that come with it. About the Speaker Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh is currently senior associate and regional director for Central and West Africa at NDI.

He has organized and advised international election observation missions to Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. He has also designed and supervised country specific democracy support programs with civic organizations, political parties and legislative bodies in Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Liberia, Mali, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and Togo. In the course of his work, Dr. Fomunyoh interacts regularly with heads of state and government, cabinet ministers, elected officials and political and civic leaders. He recently designed and helped launch the African Statesmen Initiative (ASI), a program aimed at facilitating political transitions in Africa by encouraging former democratic heads of state to stay engaged in humanitarian issues, conflict mediation, public health and other key sectors of political, economic and human development on the continent. As an expert on democratization in Africa, Dr. Fomunyoh makes frequent guest appearances on major radio and television networks including CNN, BBC, NewsHour, National Public Radio, Voice of America, and Radio France Internationale, and provides interviews for major national and international newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, Le Monde andThe International Herald Tribune. He has published a number of articles in academic journals on African politics and democratization. Dr. Fomunyoh has traveled extensively in Africa, Europe and North America, and is bilingual in English and French. He holds a Licence en Droit from Yaoundé University in Cameroon, a master’s degree (LL.M.) in international law from Harvard Law School; and a Ph.D. in political science from Boston University. Dr. Fomunyoh is an adjunct faculty at the African Center for Strategic Studies and a former adjunct professor of African politics and government at Georgetown University. He also is the founder of a nonprofit organization interested in supporting democracy and humanitarian causes in Cameroon.

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About the Speaker Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh is currently senior associate and regional director for Central and West Africa at NDI. He has organized and advised international election observation missions to Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. He has also designed and supervised country specific democracy support programs with civic organizations, political parties and legislative bodies in Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Liberia, Mali, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and Togo.

In the course of his work, Dr. Fomunyoh interacts regularly with heads of state and government, cabinet ministers, elected officials and political and civic leaders. He recently designed and helped launch the African Statesmen Initiative (ASI), a program aimed at facilitating political transitions in Africa by encouraging former democratic heads of state to stay engaged in humanitarian issues, conflict mediation, public health and other key sectors of political, economic and human development on the continent. As an expert on democratization in Africa, Dr. Fomunyoh makes frequent guest appearances on major radio and television networks including CNN, BBC, NewsHour, National Public Radio, Voice of America, and Radio France Internationale, and provides interviews for major national and international newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, Le Monde andThe International Herald Tribune. He has published a number of articles in academic journals on African politics and democratization.

Dr. Fomunyoh has traveled extensively in Africa, Europe and North America, and is bilingual in English and French. He holds a Licence en Droit from Yaoundé University in Cameroon, a master’s degree (LL.M.) in international law from Harvard Law School; and a Ph.D. in political science from Boston University. Dr. Fomunyoh is an adjunct faculty at the African Center for Strategic Studies and a former adjunct professor of African politics and government at Georgetown University. He also is the founder of a nonprofit organization interested in supporting democracy and humanitarian causes in Cameroon.

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About the Moderator

Michael Burke has 44 years of experience serving our nation in both the Departments of Defense and State. Michael Burke retired from Federal Service in January 2020 after teaching at the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. Before assuming that position, Mike managed a law enforcement training and equipment program for State Department and an African educational program for the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

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