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Sénégal, Pays de la Téranga     
Senegalese President to Address Journalists of Color in Chicago. President Wade to provide African perspectives to the climate change debate

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 13, 2008 - President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal will address how his country confronts climate change at the UNITY: Journalists of Color Convention in Chicago, Illinois.

His remarks on July 25 at the McCormick Place Convention Center will mark the first occasion for a visiting Head of State to address the world’s largest gathering of minority journalists.

President Wade will address Senegal's geographic position and the impact of climate changes on the African continent. With its coast at risk and agriculture affected by climate disruptions, including drought and floods, he will present a perspective to the climate change discussion not often addressed in U.S. media coverage.

President Abdoulaye Wade (pronounced "wahd") began his second term as leader of the West African country on April 3, 2007. He has emerged as a leading spokesperson for democracy and development. At the July 2007 African Union Summit in Accra, Ghana, President Wade supported the quick formation of the proposed United States of Africa, saying that “if we fail to unite, we will become weak, and if we live isolated in countries that are divided, we face the risk of collapsing in the face of stronger and united economies.”
The International League for Human Rights honored President Wade by conferring on him the 2004 Annual Award, recognizing him as “an African leader of great conviction and accomplishments whose tireless work to advance democratic values, multi-party elections and transparent governance has promoted human rights and economic development in Senegal and throughout Africa.”

National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) President Barbara Ciara led a delegation to Senegal in December 2007, which enabled the journalists to report on development initiatives, including a Protection Wall on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean to lessen the impact of climate change. Other journalists focused on projects to manage local eco-systems and restore lands affected by environmental degradation. They also covered the measures taken by Senegal in the fields of education, new infrastructure development, and the response to malaria and the HIV/AIDS pandemic, within the framework of the Millennium Development Goals. The journalists also shared their experiences on the visit through blog entries on the NABJ website, complete with stories and photos, in addition to their own print and broadcast media.

“President Wade brings a new and innovative perspective to the climate change debate,” Ciara said. “Journalists in attendance will enjoy hearing his efforts to find solutions to the climate change debate, despite the difficult odds.”

Through NABJ's partnership with the United Nations, black journalists have covered regional youth leadership summits held in Brazil, Senegal and an international gathering more recently in New York. The NABJ fellows get a chance to report on some of the issues and personalities impacting African countries and the broader global scene.
“Nowhere in the world does the media focus more upon crisis coverage than in Africa,” said Dr. Djibril Diallo, of the United Nations, who also co-chairs the NABJ World Affairs Task Force. “The stories about the economic resurgence of many African countries, of the resilience of African peoples in the face of enormous challenges, still need to be told. The result of this unbalanced coverage is far-reaching with dangerous distortion of Africa’s image in the eyes of the outside world. President Wade will demonstrate that, with the right policies and support, Africa can set itself on the path to true development.”
More than 6,500 journalists and media executives will meet to discuss timely issues affecting journalism and the media industry at the UNITY 08’ Convention.

UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc. is a coalition of the four alliances: the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association. Events include educational sessions, networking events, and special events including a live primetime forum with the U.S. Presidential candidates on CNN.

An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization of journalists of color in the nation with nearly 4,000 members and provides educational, career development and support to black journalists worldwide.

Source: NABJ Communications
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