U.S. Africa Command wraps-up second academic conference with closing ceremony
Professor Mohammed Benhammou, Moroccan Centre d' Etudes Strategiques; Dr. Khalid Medani, Ethiopia Center for Policy and Research - Addis Ababa University; Dr. Gani Yoroms, Nigeria African Center for Strategic Studies - National Defense College in Nigeria; and Dr. Assis Maloquias lead discussions during the U.S. Africa Command Academic Symposium, Aug. 20, 2009. More than 30 academics from Africa, Europe, and the United States came together to share their views on U.S. Africa Command and how it can best support peace and stability efforts in Africa. The event was co-hosted by U.S. Africa Command and the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS).

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (Sept. 3, 2009) -- U.S. Africa Command hosted 36 academic professionals from 17 different African nations during its second annual academic symposium at the Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Aug. 21, 2009.

During daily discussion groups, academic professionals and U.S. Africa Command representatives shared key insights about African politics and economics. The purpose of the event was to help command personnel gain a better understanding of the African continent and how the command can best support peace and stability efforts in Africa.

At the closing ceremony for the symposium, Gen. William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command said, "This is an essential, credible forum for the global leaders to address the fundamental defense and security challenges that we are facing here in Africa."

The academic symposium was co-hosted by U.S. Africa Command and the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS), one of five U.S. Department of Defense regional centers which provides strategic-level education to international civilian and military personnel through a combination of multi-week courses, short-term conferences, seminars and workshops, and outreach.

During his remarks, Kassahun Dender, State Minister of Defense for Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, said, "The symposium touched upon issues that are important to building security capacity which will help promote peace and stability, which I believe are of significant importance to U.S. Africa Command and its partner nations."

Over the past year, U.S. Africa Command has been working with African nations and U.S. government agencies to conduct a variety of military-to-military programs and activities on the African continent.

"We seek to build partner capacity that enhances performance of maritime, land, and air security forces. We strive to add value to those activities to help make them more effective in building the capacity that Africans desire. We see a stronger African security sector as a vital element towards preventing conflict," said Ward.

The academic symposium took place shortly after visits to Africa by U.S. President Barrack Obama, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. During her visit to Africa Clinton said, "Progress in Africa requires partnership built on shared responsibility."

"I think we learned a lot from each other, this will create a positive influence on the continent of Africa," said Dr. Calestous Juma, Harvard Kennnedy School, Professor of International Development.

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