Cablegate: Request for Us Speaker for Black History Month


DE RUEHBO #0042/01 0062115
R 062114Z JAN 10



E.O. 12958: N/A

SUMMARY: Post requests IIP/S's assistance to recruit a US expert
on Afro-American history and the contributions of Afro-Americans in
building America, looking at their achievements in transforming
history, politics, economics and culture. Speaker would take part
in a five-day program February 22 through February 26 in Bogota,
Cali, and Medellin, co-sponsored by the Cali and Medellin BNCs, to
commemorate Black History Month. Drawing on US historical
experience, the program would address issues of significance to
Afro-Colombian populations including bridging diverse communities,
strengthening democracy through higher education access, economic
development and the fostering of minority entrepreneurship, and
political participation. The program will include presentations at
various venues for GOC officials, NGOs, special interest groups,
key university audiences and the Embassy's MLK Fellows program
participants in the three cities. Schedule will also include other
public affairs activities such as media encounters and
representational functions. Post's objective with this program is
to focus the attention of young and potentially influential
audiences on the contributions of diversity to democratic
development, as Colombia celebrates its independence bicentennial
in 2010. End summary.

BACKGROUND: Black History Month affords the opportunity to
underscore Afro-American achievements and contributions to the
historical and political transformation of contemporary U.S.
society. Afro-Colombians constitute 25 percent of the total
population of Colombia - the largest minority group in the country
- geographically distributed in the Pacific, Caribbean and
Northeastern regions. They have remained a neglected ethnic group
profoundly affected by disadvantaged socio-economic conditions
worsened with the long internal conflict. Although the GOC has made
some efforts to change these conditions, hopelessness persists.
Impoverished socio-economic conditions have deteriorated
institutional credibility and threatened democratic stability. This
program will use the US experience in promoting new narratives and
forms of interpretation of black history in America to highlight
the significance of advancing democratic principles, economic
empowerment, and promoting respect for civil rights of all
Colombians while underscoring the importance of encouraging
improved social conditions, educational opportunities and
containment of violence in areas of the country perceived as

US SPEAKER: The speaker should be prepared to address significant
achievements and contributions of Afro-Americans in the U.S. from a
historical perspective, focusing on strategies employed to attain
equality, economic opportunity, civil rights, and diversity within
U.S. democracy. We

would like to request that IIP recruit an academic, preferably an
historian or sociologist with significant knowledge of comparative
studies of slavery and ethno-racial relations, the history of
African Diaspora in the Americas or race issues in the Americas
prepared to draw comparisons on the role of black populations in
building nations in the Americas. We would like a recognized
scholar, ideally Afro-American, prepared to address these issues.


The speaker will take part in a mixed program of formal
presentations, representational functions and press encounters in
Bogot????, Cali and Medellin. In Bogot????, the speaker will
academic audiences at Universidad Nacional de Colombia and Los
Andes University; the Ministry of Culture, and major Afro-Colombian
NGO's as well as DOS Alumni including MLK Fellows nationwide. MLK
Fellows program is a USAID funded program to provide English
language training to economically disadvantaged Afro-Colombian
university students, to promote access opportunities to advanced
higher education in the US. In Cali, he/she will take part in a
series of presentations at Del Valle university and will
participate in a round-table session with MLK Fellows at the Cali
BNC. The program will also include a meeting with a select group of
local government representatives to discuss community issues and
share views on economic, cultural and political transformation and
impact on community development. In Medellin the program will
include presentations at Universidad de Antioquia, Universidad de
Medellin, encounters with city government authorities, and a
round-table discussion at the BNC with MLK Fellows. Press
interviews will be arranged in all cities. Please schedule the
speaker to arrive Bogot???? February 21 in the evening and return to
the US February 27 from Medellin. Spanish fluency is a requirement
for this program.

CONTROL OFFICER: Control Officer for this program is CAO Rex Moser.
Office phone: 571-315-2201. Home phone: 571-317-2079; Mobile:

Program Coordinator is CAS Pilar Cabrera. Office phone:
571-315-2201. Home phone: 571-627-0934. Mobile: 314-330-0948.

FUNDING SPECIFICS: Program fully funded out of I-Bucks

WAIVER: Mission requests waiver of the Department's policy not to
send speakers to countries to which the State Department advises US
citizens not to travel. All events in this program will take place
in Bogot????, Cali and Medellin which are not indicated in the State
Department travel advisory as particular areas of caution. RSO
concurs with proposed travel and program, and will arrange a
security briefing for the speaker. Speaker will be lodged in RSO
approved hotels and will be accompanied by a PAS officer and senior
FSN for all programs. Other than minor theft incidents no speakers
have encountered any problems or threats to their safety in either
of these cities.

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