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Sen. Obama Turns Attention to Africa

There is an interesting article in a Sauk Valley, IL newspaper this week about Sen. Barack Obama’s upcoming trip to Africa.  His new found political celebrity status and position as the only African-American in the Senate will attract attention to his trip and in turn raise consciousness about issues in Africa.

Sen. Obama is doing what other famous people, like Bono, Brad Pitt, and others are doing.  He’s using his status and power to make issues in the developing world a major priority for Americans.  He may be a different kind of celebrity than Bono, but as a young, popular, and influential U.S. Senator, he wields significantly more power.  As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s subcommittee on Africa, he is able to be an advocate for U.S. policies that will benefit both Africa and the United States.

According to the article, Sen. Obama hopes to highlight the issues of AIDS, avian flu, the genocide in Darfur, climate change, and possibility of Africa as a haven for terrorists.  He believes that underlying all of these issues is the need for good governance and rule of law in African countries.  “Ultimately, a new generation of Africans have to recognize the international community, the international relief organizations or the United States can't help Africa if its own leaders are undermining the possibilities of progress,” he said.

Illinois’ other Senator, Dick Durbin, believes that Sen. Obama’s visit will “open up the possibility of a new conversation about that continent, and it's long overdue."

How did Illinois get two so outstanding Senators?   


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