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Gerald LeMelle is the Executive Director of Africa Action.

He served as the Deputy Executive Director for Advocacy at Amnesty International USA. For twelve plus years, Gerald was responsible for the following programs: Business and Human Rights, National Campaigns, Casework, Country Specialists, the Domestic Human Rights Program, Government Relations, International Justice and Accountability, Just Earth!, OUTfront, the Program to Abolish the Death Penalty, Refugee Program, Urgent Actions, and the Women's Human Rights. Under his supervision the Advocacy Department produced over 1600 actions a year. Prior to working at Amnesty International USA, Gerald served as the Director of African Affairs with the PhelpsStrokes Fund. He is a member of the New York, District of Columbia, and Supreme Court Bar Associations, and, a member of the Council for Foreign Relations. He has appeared on radio and television numerous times and has been published in newspapers across the country. He lived in Africa for ten years, primarily in Kenya and Tunisia." M. Tayoba Ngenge is a professor at West Virginia State University with teaching assignments in African literature, English and logic. He is a member of the Middle States African Studies Association and of the Diopian Institute for Scholarly Advancement. His activism began in1966 at the Cameroon College of Arts, Science and Technology in Bambili in what was then West Cameroon. At the University of Texas at Austin he got seriously involved with the then anti-apartheid movement and the movement for the liberation of Namibia.

Unity 2.0 Conference

War, dictatorship, underdevelopment, famine… Despite the hopes and aspirations of the decolonisation era, the chances of Africa digging herself out of the economic abyss into which she has plunged in the last half century is practically zero. The Africa shown to us by the media does not evoke any optimism. However, a large group of Africans and nonAfricans who have tried to dig a bit deeper than the cliché media reporting refuses to accept this hopeless media picture of Africa, and the media conclusion that blames the plight of the continent on the inabilities of its citizens. The research of these activists reveals an Africa where a majority of the people has fought and continues to fight for their freedom and dignity, against pillage and muzzling of free speech.

Africa-Wants-To-Be-Free Panel
Friday August 7, 2009, 6:00-8:00PM The Youth Centre Church of the Resurrection, 3315 Greencastle Rd, Burtonsville, MD 20866 Telephones: 304-932-0077, 612-388-8861 or 240-988-3212 .Email: wfn@riseup.net

Way Forwards Network

An Africa that wants to be free!
Free from predatory multinationals and from almighty neo-colonial powers like France; free from questionable debt from financial institutions with questionable histories; free from international arms dealers, mercenaries "contractors", politico-Mafiosi networks like the French club 89. And let's not forget: free from the dictators who have killed the hopes of the millions who sacrificed themselves in the independence struggles; and free from the Western governments that have supported these dictators to ease the pillage of African resources. Reflecting some of this research, the Panel will discuss ways for pro-Africa advocates to breaking through the fatalistic US media caricature of Africa to reach out to ordinary Americans for political and moral support for African people. Panelists are Valentine Eben, Corinna Gilfillan, Bahati Ntama Jacques, Evelyn Joe, Gerald LeMelle and M. Tayoba Ngenge (moderator).

Panelists' Bios
Valentine Eben is a Formal Consensus (a non-violent social change organising method) trainer and an alternative media activist. He facilitated the creation of the Indymedia-Africa Working group (2000), organised the International AlternativeMedia/Indymedia Conference in Dakar-Senegal (2004) and organised the Convergence Media Center at the 2007 World Social Forum in Nairobi-Kenya. He was an Alternative Software Trainer with the Berlin-based SO36.NET for a while and is the Editor of the New Media Manual for Alternative/Community Reorganising "The IMC a New Model." Corinna Gilfillan is the director of the Washington DC office of Global Witness. Prior to working for Global Witnesses Corinna was a United Nations Environment Programme Associate Program Officer for several years. Bahati Ntama Jacques is a Policy Analyst at Africa Faith and Justice Network (AFJN) office in Washington. He has wide experience in pastoral ministry with youth in parishes and in jails in Chicago. Bataki is originally from Goma in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he witnessed the 1996-2000 invasion of the DRC by Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda, and he worked in the field of post-war relief. He is the co-founder of Association des vieullards Abondonnes (AVA) that addressed the increased number of elderly begging on the streets of Bukavu during the long war in DRC. Evelyn Joe is a freelance writer and a life-long political activist. She is the founder of Continental African Community, USA which focuses on the incorporation of African perspectives and contextual realities in US-Africa policies. Ms Joe is the chairperson of NAACP's Committee on African Affairs in Montgomery County Maryland.

Fiscal Sponsor: US-SCF Organized By: The Way Forwards Network