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African Roundtable to address post-election crisis in the Ivory Coast

CRAIG D. FRAZIER Special to the AmNews | 7/27/2011, 5:59 p.m.

On July 28, the African Roundtable is having a community forum on the Ivory Coast to examine the country's post-election crisis with local activists. The forum will be held at 146 W. 29th St., Suite 7E, at 7 p.m.

The Ivory Coast faces multiple challenges in emerging from its post-electoral crisis, but nothing is more critical than restoring law and order throughout the West African nation. After a long and deadly struggle between opposing political camps, the country, post-election, was expected to settle down and rebuild its democratic institutions and industries, smoothing the way for economic growth.

The political crisis ended when former President Laurent Gbagbo finally surrendered in mid-April, ending months of violence that began after he lost after the U.N.-certified presidential run-off election to Alassane Ouattara.

With the departure of U.N. peacekeepers, Ivorians have yet to see peace in its largest city, Abidjan. Street youth recruited into the urban militia are frustrated, jobless and unpaid. Illegal roadblocks and racketeering maintain in some areas.

Guest speakers and community members will come together for an evening of sociopolitical discourse. Speakers include Gnaka Lagoke, an independent journalist in the Ivory Coast, and Eric Edi, an Ivorian alumni Fulbright scholar and graduate of Temple University. Edi is a teacher, researcher and author on globalization and politics in the economic community of West African states. He holds three certificates in conflict resolution from the U.S. Institute of Peace and currently serves as the chairman of the Cte d'Ivoire Association in Philadelphia.

Sylvestre Kouadio, born and raised in the Ivory Coast, will also speak. Kouadio holds a law degree from the University of Abidjan and a master of laws degree from Philadelphia's Temple University.

The event is co-sponsored by the African Diaspora for Democracy and Development, Global Information Network and Sahara Reporters, and will be moderated by Sowore Omoyele of SaharaReporters.com.