Monday, May 29, 2006

[Guinean news] Major cabinet reshuffle in Guinea

The BBC World Service and Guineenews both report that ailing Gen. Lansana Conté has announced a major cabinet reshuffle. A number of former ministers have been brought back into the government. Most notably the controversial former interior ministers Alseny René Gomez and Moussa Solano.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

[Clarification] American Friends of Guinea is not part of FOG

Newsletter editor Woody Collahan noticed this article about the founding of a new non-profit group called American Friends of Guinea (AFG).

AFG was chartered by the CEO of Hyperdynamics Corp. which, according to Business Wire, has a very large oil and gas concession offshore the Republic of Guinea... The goal of the new non-profit is to fund medical aid and infrastructure to help improve the quality of medical care for the people living in Guinea.

The board of Friends of Guinea (FOG) would like to issue the following clarification to eliminate any confusion. American Friends of Guinea is in no way linked to or affiliated with FOG, nor have any members of AFG been in contact with us. The two organizations are completely separate.

-Brian Farenell
FOG Communications Director

Saturday, May 27, 2006

[Guinean news] Ailing Conté refuses return visit to Switzerland

A few months ago, this blog reported on the very ailing Gen. Lansana Conté's visit to Switzerland for medical treatment.

Recently, the magazine Jeune Afrique reported that Conté refused a follow up visit to Switzerland, despite the pleas of the two most powerful members of his entourage.

The pan-African weekly has also reported on serious divisions within the Guinean armed forces.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

[NPCA news] Advocacy -- international affairs budget

From the National Peace Corps Association's advocacy wing:

As part of the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign, the NPCA is involved in a collaborative effort to increase support for the International Affairs Budget. Senators DeWine, Feinstein, Santorum, and Durbin are asking their colleagues to sign onto a letter supporting robust funding of the International Affairs Budget, which includes Peace Corps funding. We are close to having a majority of the Senate sign onto this important letter!

Follow this link to see if your Senator has already signed on.


Please email a message following instructions in the link above, or call the Senate switchboard (202-224-3121) as soon as possible. Ask to be connected to your Senator's office, identify yourself as a constituent and leave the following message:

"I am calling to urge Senator _____ to sign onto the DeWine-Feinstein-Santorum-Durbin letter which supports a full appropriation of the President's international affairs budget request."

Additional Notes:

--The current deadline for signing on (May 12) will be slightly extended. Action through the weekend and early next week is needed and acceptable.

--As Senators Cochran (R-MS) and Byrd (D-WV) will be the recipients of the letter, rather than asking them to sign on, constituents should express support for the DeWine-Feinstein international affairs letter and ask these Senators to give the letter their full consideration.

Thanks for taking action. Have a great weekend.

Jonathan Pearson (Micronesia 87 - 89)
Advocacy Coordinator
National Peace Corps Association

Friday, May 12, 2006

[Web sites] Blogs by Guinea PCVs and RPCVs

Below are some blogs of note that might be of interest to FOG members...


-Lisa in Guinea, a PCV in Dinguaraiye.

-Ramblings from My Two Years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guinea, West Africa, by PCV Amy.

-The Tasty Bits, by PCV Fai in Forecariah.

-Andrea Experiences Africa, by a PCV.

-Amy's Adventures in Africa, by a PCV in Dubreka.

-Living in "The Layers", by PCV Bonnie.

-Emerged from a Meerkat colony in Kalahari Desert, by PCV Melinda.

-Guinea!, by future PCV Frank McGowan.


-Mr. Vickstrom's Class, by the brother of an RPCV who served in Dinguaraiye.

-Black Star Journal, commentary on African current events by RPCV Brian who served in Beindou Centre, near Kissidougou.

-My Life in Guinea, a site by Urska, an RPCV who served in Siguiri

-Stephanie Chasteen's website, an RPCV who served Baguinet, near Fria.

-Mike in Guinea: 1999-2001, a site by RPCV Mike Manske.

If you know any more blogs by Guinea PCV or RPCV (not necessarily about the Guinea-Peace Corps experience), please email them to me at

A great big thanks to Gambia RPCV Mike Shepard, who provided many of these.

-Brian Farenell
FOG Communications Director

Thursday, May 11, 2006

[Guinean news] Newspaper suspended; Guinea near top of 'failed state' index

The Guinean government has been heavily criticized for suspending publication of the newspaper L'Enquêteur.

The twice-monthly paper published an article criticizing Gen. Lansana Conté's regime. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the article spoke of divisions among senior government leaders, corruption, and a lack of political dialogue which have virtually paralyzed the Guinean state.

The paper was suspended by the country's National Communications Council (CNC). Ironically, the CNC is chaired by Boubacar Yacine Diallo... who was the founder of L'Enquêteur.

This is hardly the first attack on press freedom as most of the major independent newspapers have been raided or otherwise harassed at some point in the last decade. Private radio and television broadcasters do not exist, despite a 2005 decree legalizing them.


Recently, Foreign Policy magazine issued its annual Failed States Index. The index ranks countries' stability via such factors as economy, human rights, uneven development and nine other spheres.

Guinea ranked as the 11th most unstable state in the world, 3rd worst among countries not at war.

Black Star Journal* blog has an analysis of what the numbers mean and what it augers for Guinea's future.

*-Note: Black Star Journal is the personal blog of FOG's Communications Director.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

[Peace Corps news] Who wants to be a country director?

The Peace Corps is searching for country directors.

This challenging and rewarding position calls for people who are able to use their talent and experience to provide management and direction for the Peace Corps program in their country of assignment. Successful country directors have well-run, productive programs that fully engage Volunteers; they also achieve significant personal and professional growth and satisfaction for themselves.


The Peace Corps uses the following seven criteria to evaluate applications to determine the suitability of candidates:


-Management and administrative skills

-International development experience

-Communication skills

-Cross-cultural experience

-Human resource management and support skills

-Country representational capability

If you're interested, visit the Peace Corps website for more info.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

[FOG news] Thanks to Woody Collahan and Stephanie Chasteen

FOG membership director Stephanie Chasteen wanted thank newsletter editor Woody Collahan on the occassion of the fourth anniversary of the first Ca va newsleter.

She wrote: I just wanted to send an impromptu and heartfelt THANKS to Woody for coordinating our newsletter for all these years. He's put out our newsletter four times a year reliably for, gosh, 4 years or so? I was suddenly struck by how important this is for our organization, and how different FOG would be without a newsletter. I know this is a time-consuming job, and I wanted to remercier him encore.

This was prompted by my observation of another organization that I have been involved with for years that hasn't had a newsletter for many years. Perhaps it's a chicken-and-egg problem, but that organization has very little sense of cohesiveness, no way to share important news around the community, no way no know who the board members are. Sure, there are listservs, but not everyone's on there and email is different. We at FOG have a place where information about the organization is supposed to go, isn't seen as email inbox clutter, and serves as a forum for those who would like to share stories or news.

Thank you thank you Woody. I hope you can keep it up when you're a daddy, but if you can't, know that we appreciate the contributions you've made.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank Steph herself. Prior to her yeomen efforts as membership director and secretary, she was the original website administrator. As such, she helped developed FOG's webpages into an award winning medium that is extremely informative for members and Guinea-philes alike. The newsletter and the website are the two most important elements in helping this virtual organization feel like a real community.

We value the efforts of all our volunteers. But we wanted to particularly salute Steph and Woody for their unparalleled service over the last several years in helping Friends of Guinea become the organization it is today.

-Brian Farenell
Communications Director