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Ambassadors Celebrate Africa's Achievements and Address Security Challenges
African ambassadors, members of the diplomatic corps, U.S. officials, and other guests gathered at the Embassy of the Republic of Ghana in Washington on April 24, 2008, in support of a more secure and peaceful Africa. <br /> <br />With music from
African ambassadors, members of the diplomatic corps, U.S. officials, and other guests gathered at the Embassy of the Republic of Ghana in Washington on April 24, 2008, in support of a more secure and peaceful Africa.

With music from a live African band playing in the background, the ambassadors and guests mingled with one another and enjoyed the tastes of traditional African appetizers. "Tonight's event offers us an opportunity to celebrate African achievements and reflect on the magnitude of the task ahead for African initiatives for a more prosperous and peaceful future," said Keynote speaker Ambassador Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Hosted by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS), the 3rd annual African Ambassadors dinner featured five guest speakers, including General Kip Ward, Commander of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).

The phrase "a better tomorrow than today" set the tone for Ward's remarks. He addressed the challenges facing African nations and Africa Command's role in helping them achieve peace and stability.

Describing himself as a "pauper to the nations of Africa," Ward assured the ambassadors that Africa Command will work with international partners for the stated goals of Africans and the international community in a joint effort to achieve stability on the continent. He also noted the importance of partnering with African leaders and focusing on the issues most important to them. "We are here not to dictate, not to direct, but to listen; to identify those things that we can do in increasing your capacity to provide for your long term stability," said Ward.

The U.N.'s Migiro called on the United States and the international community to take on some of Africa's most pressing challenges, including the conflicts in Darfur and Somalia and the widespread outbreak of preventable diseases.
"The Pandemic of AIDS and malaria is growing, and continues to claim many lives, particularly among women in the most dynamic and productive categories of society," Migiro said. "This has detrimental consequences on the economy."

Ward also recognized the severe impact that health and security crises have on Africa's economy and expressed the long-term commitment of the U.S. military, in support of U.S. government programs, to address current health issues and help preventing future.

"This is not a sprint, it's a marathon," Ward said. "This decision by the president of the U.S. to create this command reinforces our commitment to partner with you and work together in our mutual interests."

The event concluded with the presentation of the 2008 ACSS Visionary award to General Lamine Cisse of Senegal, the officer in charge of the United Nations Office for West Africa, for his achievement in promoting security, good governance, and democracy in Africa.

"Peace and stability are requirements for any long-term prosperity, which is in turn a requirement for democracy," Cisse said.

The Africa Center for Strategic Studies is a U.S. Defense Department research cent that supports the Department of Defense and other U.S. agencies to foster regional cooperation on security issues, promote democracy and assist African nations in improving their security and strengthening their defense establishments. There are also similar research centers for Europe, the Pacific region, and Latin America. For more information on the ACSS, visit www.africacenter.org.
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