Peacebuilding in West Africa


Mali, a former French colony, had long been considered a model for democracy, but that all changed last year in March. Soldiers angry about the government’s handling of a rebellion in the northern desert overthrew the country’s elected government during a coup in Bamako, the country’s capital. Since then, Mali has suffered political unrest, pushing the country to ask for help from the French government early this year. Even though the French have helped Mali’s government regain some control in the northern part of the country, conflict is far from over. According to the United Nations, fighting has displaced more than 430,000 people in the past 13 months in addition to countless reports of rape and human rights violations. This hour on Focus, guest host Chris Berube talks with Associate Professor of History at Columbia University Gregory Mann about what has happened in Mali, what lies ahead and what role the US should play moving forward.

Mann will be giving a lecture entitled “Peacebuilding in West Africa: Looking for Answers” March 11 in the Levis Faculty Center in Urbana at 9:00 a.m. Find more information here.

Do you have questions about conflict in Mali? Should the US step in and offer aid? Join our conversation. Find us on Facebook or Twitter @Focus580 or post in the comments section below.