ACFA Board member moderates panel on Mali at African Union Mission
On March 10, 2018, the Malian Association of Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia organized the first of its kind conference organized by Malian citizens to address some of the major challenges that are currently facing their country. The event took place at the Africa Union Mission to the United States in Washington DC and was attended by the Malian civil society, friends of Mali, as well as Malian and Niger government officials. The topic addressed the peace process and the lingering insecurities, the upcoming regional and presidential elections and what measures need to be in place to ensure the elections are not affected by the current insecurities. The event was designed to encourage Malians living outside of the country to participate in the dialogue and help to come up with solutions to address the serious challenges facing their country since 2012. Among some of these challenges is the 2012 coup d’Etat, the difficulties in implementing the peace accord between Tuareg rebels and the Malian government, as well as the issue surrounding the terrorists attacks and their attempts to take over one of Mali’s most ethnically diverse and important regions, hoping to implement their Sharia laws.
The organizers of the conference wanted to use Malian citizens who are well versed in the subject as panelists. The three panelists were Dr. Amadou Cisse, advisor for the World Bank’s board of Directors; Dr. Papa Ntji Coulibaly, English professor at the Prince George’s County, Maryland board of education; and Ms. Kamissa Camara, Sahel Political Analyst and Sub-Saharan Africa Director at Partners Global. Ms. Camara is also Vice President of the Malian Association. ACFA’s own board member, Mrs. Aissatou Sow Thiam moderated the event. Mrs. Thiam is the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Muso, Senior Consultant International Development in Washington, DC. She has been involved in the dialogue through different groups, such as Mali Watch, Mali Moving Forward, and the current Mali Affinity group. These organizations give civil society an opportunity to have an open dialogue with Mali government officials in the United States and make suggestions about policies that could better the current climate in Mali. The event was also attended by ACFA Board member Fattima Ali.