- The Washington Times - Monday, September 21, 2009


The African Tourist Organization is an unlikely name for a Washington-based advocacy group that is battling to halt human trafficking from Africa. Its goal is to create a healthy tourism industry, says Lansana Kouyate, former prime minister of the West African nation of Guinea and an honorary director of the World Tourism Organization.

The group hopes to draw world leaders coming to the U.N. General Assembly in New York, to a second summit at the National Harbor in Washington’s Maryland suburbs on Sept. 18 and 19. Invitees to the event also include sub-Saharan African specialists and academics, as well as state and local officials, our correspondent, Helene Franchineau reports.

“How many times is tourism in Africa linked with unethical behaviors such as trafficking, pedophilia, but also environmental abuse?” Mr. Kouyate asked in a telephone interview.

“We want to raise awareness on the wrongdoings of a tourism where minors, women and men are not respected. We want more commitment from state officials at the highest level, because these issues, such as children trafficking, are not as high on the international agenda as they should be,” he said.

The African tourist group works with many international organizations and nongovernmental organizations like the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week:


President Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic, who delivers the keynote address on freedom and prosperity in Central and Eastern Europe in a forum at the Cato Institute. Other panelists include Andrei Illarionov, former economic adviser to President Vladimir Putin; Kakha Bendukidze, former minister for the economy and reform coordination of the Republic of Georgia; and Oleh Havrylyshyn, former deputy finance minister of Ukraine.

Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak of the Slovak Republic. He addresses the U.S. Institute of Peace and meets with officials from the State and Defense departments and the National Security Council.

Javier Ruperez, a former Spanish ambassador to the United States. He participates in a forum on Latin American security challenges from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the National Press Club.


Roberto Flores, former Honduran ambassador to the United States and a former foreign minister, and Eduardo Ulibarri, former editor-in-chief of the Nation, Costa Rica’s leading newspaper. They participate in a panel discussion on democracy in Center America at the Hudson Institute.

Masako Egawa, managing director of the University of Tokyo; Yukiko Fukagawa and Masahiko Gemma of Waseda University; Nobuhiko Hibara of Ritsumeikan University; Takatoshi Ito of the University of Tokyo; Katsuhiko Shirai, president of Waseda University; and Naoyuki Yoshino of Keio University. They participate in the U.S.-Japan Research Institute’s inaugural symposium.


Martti Ahtisaari, former president of Finland, and Albert Rohan, former secretary-general of foreign affairs of Austria. They discuss Turkey’s relationship with the European Union in a forum at the Brookings Institution.


President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson of Iceland, who addresses the National Energy Summit and International Dialogue, sponsored by the Council on Competitiveness.

Michael Leigh, director general for enlargement of the European Commission, who addresses the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.


Prime Minister Klaus Tschutscher of Liechtenstein, who addresses the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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