A delegation of activists, government officials and professionals from French-speaking Africa dropped by The Skanner's offices in North Portland March 20 to discuss the role of investigative journalism in transparent societies. While the group -- whose visit was sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and facilitated by the World Affairs Council of Oregon -- was forced to cut its visit short due to a scheduling conflict, they nonetheless got to take a look around The Skanner's offices and hear about the paper's purpose and readership.
The visitors included:
• From Benin: Mr. Jean B.O.R. Alladatin, vice chair of the Beninese Network for Nonviolent and Transparent Elections, a non-governmental organization.
• From Burundi: Mr. Melchiade Nzopfabarushe, deputy chief of staff, Office of the Presidency.
• From Cameroon: Mr. Martin Nkeng Badjang, editor-in-chief, Cameroon Tribune
• From Chad: Mr. Ngrabe Rodou Ndoh, civil administrator, Ministry of Territorial Administration
• From Congo: Mrs. Brigitte Andree Nzingoula, secretary, Human Rights, Bongui du Pool, a non-governmental organization.
• From Cote d'Ivoire: Mr. Ehounou Kan Laurent Manlan, president, Transparency and Justice, a non-governmental organization.
• From Gabon: Mr. Anaclé Bissielo, head of the Sociology Department, Omar Bongo Ondimba University
• From Guinea: Mr. Thierno Amadou Bah, treasury inspector, Ministry of Economy and Finance
• From Madagascar: Mr. Bruno Rakotoarison, secretary general, National Committee for Election Observation
• From Mali: Mr. Sikoro Keita, economist, General Auditor's Office
• From Mauritania: Dr. Ahmed Youra Ould Haye, coordinator, National Program for Good Governance
• From Niger: Mr. Mano Aghali, president, HED-TAMTAT, a non-governmental organization
• From Senegal: Mr. Boubacar Ba, deputy mayor, City of Pikine
• From Togo: Mr. Ata Messan Ajavon, spokesman, Coalition of Civil Society
Each year, 4,500 foreign visitors identified by United States embassies as the future leaders in their countries, participate in U.S. Department of State-sponsored study tours to the United States. The visitors, representing over 100 countries and a wide range of professional interests, meet Americans of different ages and backgrounds, and learn about the traditions and ideas which characterize the United States and make it unique.
Each visitor spends approximately 22 days in the country and visits 4 or 5 different states. Nearly 500 visitors come to Oregon each year. The World Affairs Council of Oregon arranges personalized itineraries for each visitor including professional meetings, sightseeing tours and home hospitality. This person-to-person program builds international friendships and promotes international understanding.