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Department of Defense's Africa Center for Strategic Studies Hosts African Defense Attaches and Embassy Personnel
The closing ceremony of the annual African Defense Attache Seminar took place on November 25, 2008 at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies in Washington, D.C., following seven days of briefings, hands-on training, distance learning workshops and
The closing ceremony of the annual African Defense Attache Seminar took place on November 25, 2008 at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies in Washington, D.C., following seven days of briefings, hands-on training, distance learning workshops and discussions for its 15 participants.

The seminar was developed in 2004 as a means for helping newly-arrived African attachhs and other embassy personnel to more quickly understand how U.S. government policies, particularly those related to Africa, are developed and implemented. The goal is help participants to better fulfill their duties in their respective embassies by more effectively engaging U.S. policy makers. To reinforce participants' understanding of U.S. government agencies, they met with representatives from the Departments of Defense and State and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The seminar focused on the many factors that influence policy development towards Africa and on Africa's importance to the United States. Participants asked U.S. policy experts questions about the role of U.S. Africa Command and discussed a wide range of U.S. government security cooperation programs. The group also discussed the role that the U.S. Congress plays in the policy-making process.

Attending this year's seminar were military and civilian personnel from Angola, Botswana, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Tanzania, Tunisia and Uganda.

"This seminar is very good for a new diplomat," said Yves Bashonga, Vice Consul for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. When asked how the session might help him as Vice Consul, he replied, "There are many problems in the Congo. Now I know where to go and start working [on them]."

Mozambique's Antonio Tauzene described the seminar as "enlightening."

Colonel Walid Hany Eliwa, the Assistant Defense Attache at the Egyptian Embassy, also said he found the seminar helpful, adding, "I now have an understanding of how U.S. foreign policy works with the State Department."

The seminar wrapped up with discussions regarding the role of non-governmental organizations, think tanks and the news media in policy development and analysis.
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