Every day, Africans are creating music, films, and other forms of creative expression. The continent is pulsing with life. The Bureau of African Affairs would like to present examples of African culture, demonstrating that the continent is vibrant, that beauty is being created on a regular basis, and that there are good reasons to be optimistic about Africa's future.
An understanding of art and culture is also helpful for Americans representing this nation abroad; it complements knowledge of local customs and traditions. For may Washington-area residents - including State Department staff - their familiarity with Africa is limited to media accounts of hardship. While there has been suffering on the continent, that is an incomplete picture. Assistant Secretary has a positive vision for the continent and regularly cites Africa's many encouraging developments, when he/she speaks to groups at home and abroad.
New regions are rising in strategic importance, like Africa. For many Americans, including those in the State Department, Africa is largely an unknown, but that need not remain the case.
Transformational diplomacy relies on collaboration, as the best method for accomplishing shared goals with American allies. As the Secretary explained, "we seek to use America's diplomatic power to help foreign citizens better their own lives, to build their own nations, and to transform their own futures."
In order to support American foreign policy in the years ahead, the State Department will be engaged in global repositioning. Foreign Service officers will be redeployed to areas of increasing strategic importance, including the continent of Africa. In order to engage effectively with local populations, those officers will need to have an understanding of the local language.
It is important for more Americans to be familiar not only with the languages, but also with the various cultures of the African continent. By showcasing African art and creative talent, the Bureau of African Affairs hopes to increase familiarity and facilitate additional opportunities for partnership with civil society groups and African citizens generally.
The African continent is vibrant and pulsing with possibility. Africa is alive. Come experience it for yourself.
March 2010 - U.S. Embassy Lusaka Sports Clinics - Photo Gallery
April 2009 - Movie Viewing and Panel Discussion - Photo Gallery
March 2009 - Women's History Month Event
Past and present recipients of the Vital Voices Global Partnership Awards at a March 20th briefing/reception in the Department.
January 2009 - AF/PDPA Media Chief Bill Strassberger briefing students from the D.C. Public High School, The School Without Walls, about U.S. policy in Africa.
Swearing-In Ceremony: Assistant Secretary Carson - Photo Gallery