July 24, 2006

HARRISONBURG—Dr. J. Peter Pham, Director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University, is one of six distinguished panelists who will speak today at Capitol Hill briefing on “Côte d’Ivoire: Elections and the Way Forward,” sponsored by the Congressional Caucus for Côte d’Ivoire.

Once one of West Africa’s most prosperous and economically stable countries, Côte d’Ivoire now stands at a crossroads. Presidential elections are scheduled in late 2006, but many challenges remain before Ivorians head to the polls and seek a democratic and peaceful solution to the current crisis which began in September 2002 when a failed coup-turned-rebellion by disgruntled partisans of a failed military dictator plunged the country into civil war.

In addition to Dr. Pham, the other panelists are Ambassador Sarata Ottro Zirignon-Toure, Deputy Chief of State of the President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire; Ambassador Daouda Diabate, Ambassador of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire to the United States; Ambassador Philippe Djangoné-Bi, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire to the United Nations; Ms. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Deputy Assistant U.S. Secretary for African Affairs; and Mr. Nicolas Cook, Director of African Affairs of the Congressional Research Service.

The Congressional Caucus for Côte d’Ivoire is co-chaired Representative John Boozman (Republican of Arkansas) and Representative G.K. Butterfield (Democrat of North Carolina).

The briefing will be held in the Cannon House Office Building, Room 121, beginning at noon.