The End of a 30-Year Conflict May Be Near

Following tensions within the Movement of Democratic Forces in the Casamance as well as action by the armed forces of Guinea-Bissau, a young Senegalese boy waits by a tent and his family’s belongings in the Bourgadier camp for displaced populations and refugees, in Senegal, April 7, 2006. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Patricia M. Haslach serves as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations.

On the day after Christmas in 1982, the first shots were fired in Senegal’s Casamance rebellion. Thirty years later, the insurgency continues, making it one of the world’s longest-running conflicts. On Thursday, March 28, President Obama sat down with Senegalese President Macky Sall to discuss democracy, economic growth, and this conflict. 

Thanks largely to President Sall’s leadership, there is a chance that this will be their last conversation on the conflict. After his election last spring, the president immediately opened the door to negotiations with the Movement of Democratic Forces in the Casamance (MFDC), the insurgency rebel group. The State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs,… more »

President Obama Meets with Leaders of Sierra Leone, Senegal, Malawi, and Cape Verde

President Barack Obama speaks in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, March 28, 2013, after a meeting with, from left, Senegal President Macky Sall; Malawi President Joyce Banda; Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma; and Cape Verde Prime Minister José Maria Pereira Neves . [AP Photo]

About the Author: Grant T. Harris currently serves as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs on the National Security Staff of the White House.

Today, President Obama welcomed President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, President Macky Sall of Senegal, President Joyce Banda of Malawi, and Prime Minister Jose Maria Pereira Neves of Cape Verde to the White House. The United States has strong partnerships with these countries based on shared democratic values and shared interests. Each of these leaders has undertaken significant efforts to strengthen democratic institutions, protect and expand human rights and civil liberties, and increase economic opportunities for their people.

President Obama and the visiting leaders discussed how the United States can expand our partnership to support their efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and promote economic opportunity, both in their countries and across sub-Saharan Africa. A particular focus of the conversation was on the importance of transparency and respect… more »

Taking the Lessons of Title IX Global—On the Court and In Life

Jessica Mendoza, U.S. Olympian and member of the State Department Council to Empower Women and Girls, leads clinics in Nicaragua as part of the State Department's global efforts to empower women and girls through sports, February 4, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Ann Stock serves as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.

February 6 marks the 27th National Day of Women and Girls in Sports.

Today in Esteli, Nicaragua, girls from under-served areas are on the softball diamond, fielding grounders, running out base hits, and learning how sports can improve their health and their performance in the classroom.

In Donetsk, Ukraine, girls were on the basketball court, looking for the outlet pass, grabbing rebounds, and working as a team.

In Knoxville, Tennessee, 12 young, female basketball players from Senegal recently concluded a 10-day international exchange.… more »

Travel Diary: Secretary Clinton in Senegal

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the University of Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal, on August 1, 2012. [AP Photo]

More: Trip Page | Interactive Travel Map

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Dakar, Senegal on August 1, 2012. The Secretary met with President Macky Sall and other national leaders, as well as delivered a speech applauding the resilience of Senegal’s democratic institutions and highlighting America’s approach to partnership.

During her remarks, Secretary Clinton said, “…Throughout my trip across Africa this week, I will be talking about… a model of sustainable partnership that adds value rather than extracts it. That’s America’s commitment to Africa. The Obama… more »

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers remarks on building sustainable partnerships in Africa in Dakar, Senegal on August 2, 2012. [Go to for more video and text transcript.]

Travel Diary: Secretary Clinton Travels to Africa

Secretary Clinton boards plane in Beirut, Lebanon, April 26, 2009. [State Department Photo]

More: Trip Page | Interactive Travel Map

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Africa, July 31 through August 10, 2012. On her trip, she will make stops in Senegal, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa. Throughout the trip, Secretary Clinton will emphasize U.S. policy commitments outlined in the Presidential Policy Directive — to strengthen democratic institutions, spur economic growth, advance peace and security, as well as promote opportunity and development for all citizens.

In Senegal, Secretary Clinton will meet President Sall and other national leaders, as well as deliver a speech applauding the resilience of Senegal’s democratic institutions and…more »

American Quartet Hits All the Right Notes at Historic St. Louis Jazz Festival in Senegal

Devin Phillips Quartet performs at the 20th St. Louis Jazz Festival in Senegal, May 25, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Kristin M. Kane serves as Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal.

There is something special about seeing American jazz played in Africa: The audience responds in a unique way — as do the musicians performing the music.

Such was the case at the recent St. Louis Jazz Festival: St. Louis, Senegal, that is. The former capital of French Africa and a UNESCO world heritage site, the city is known for its crumbling but still-captivating architecture on the mile-long island on the border of Mauritania. The festival, the most important of its kind in Africa, celebrated its 20th year last week. The brand-new Minister of Culture, Youssou Ndour, otherwise known as one of Africa’s leading artists, declared for the first time that the festival’s tickets would be free.

During the opening ceremony, Ndour handed the U.S. Embassy an award to show the appreciation of our contributions to jazz over the years. In years past, jazz greats,…more »

Doing Business Differently: Fighting Global Hunger Through a Whole-of-Government Approach

A Peace Corps Volunteer works with a hospital in Senegal to grow gardens in order to provide vitamins to patients who cannot afford pills. [Peace Corps photo]

About the Author: Tjada McKenna serves as Deputy Coordinator for Development for Feed the Future, and Jonathan Shrier serves as Acting Special Representative for Global Food Security and Deputy Coordinator for Diplomacy for Feed the Future.

In Haiti, farmers are increasing their incomes and conserving the environment by improving their production of plantains.

In Guatemala, smallholder farmers — many of them women — are benefiting from increased access to loans, markets, training, and technology to advance food… more »

Senegal: The Path to Promise

MCC CEO Daniel Yohannes, second from right, meets with members of Senegalese civil society, March 2012. [MCC photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Daniel W. Yohannes serves as Chief Executive Officer ofMillennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

As Senegal today celebrates the 52nd anniversary of its independence, I just returned from the inauguration of the country’s new president, Macky Sall. Last Thursday, I was honored to receive a call from the White House asking me, on behalf of President Obama, to lead the official U.S. delegation attending his inauguration. Ambassador Johnnie Carson, the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and General Carter Ham, Commander of U.S. Africa Command, joined me on the delegation, which was rounded out on the ground by our U.S. Ambassador to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, Lewis Lukens.

The delegation represented agencies which carry out the three… more »

An Important Step Forward for Democracy in Africa

A woman votes at a polling station in Senegal, March 25, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Lewis Lukens serves as U.S. Ambassador to Senegal.

When I arrived in Senegal last August, I knew that it would be an exciting year for this nation’s democracy, but I don’t think anybody could have predicted the path that Senegalese took to get to where they are today. Much of the population rose up in protest to attempted changes to the constitution last year on June 23 (a date now immortalized by a civil society movement called Movement 23, or M23). 

Since last June, Senegal’s democracy has seemed more fragile than ever before during its 52-year history. Yet today, Senegal has a new President-elect, Macky Sall, after current President Abdoulaye Wade graciously conceded defeat last night. Senegal’s strong tradition of democracy and vibrant civil society shone through again. 

On February 26, I had the honor and privilege of accompanying Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson, as… more »