March 14, 2007

HARRISONBURG—The Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University, in collaboration with the Institute for Infrastructure and Information Assurance (IIIA), have published a booklet explaining and highlighting the vital geopolitical interests at stake in Sub-Saharan Africa. The publication, America in Africa: Securing U.S. Interests and Promoting a Continent’s Development, is authored by Dr. J. Peter Pham, Director of the Nelson Institute.

The report argues that in Sub-Saharan Africa, “every challenge of the contemporary world exists, from terrorism and oil, through failed states and poverty.” Thus, after addressing the recent decision by the United States to establish a unified combatant command for Africa, it concludes: “Policy-makers, politicians, academics, and the general public need to be aware of the colossal implications related to U.S. foreign policy in Africa. Efforts to engage Africa and anticipate potential strategic threats and terrorist attacks, while strengthening Africa’s state institutions are well advised. The introduction of stability to the continent will allow many of these transnational threats and humanitarian tragedies to be marginalized and avoided. To this end, while America can help Africa secure its interests, Africa can help America remain true to her ideals.”

Dr. Pham was assisted in the preparation of the text by student Jeffrey D. Bean. The graphic design for the publication was done by Cheryl J. Elliott, Assistant Director for Marketing and External Relations at IIIA.

Founded in 1998, the Nelson Institute strives to meet both the educational needs of JMU students in a changing world and a public institution of higher education’s responsibility to respond to the “real world” challenges b y supporting scholarship in the social sciences and humanities and providing an environment that will encourages interdisciplinary discourse on contemporary public concerns. In particular the Nelson Institute seeks to foster research on and engagement with the global challenges that impact the overall strategic position of the United States and other responsible members of the international community with programming focused especially on terrorism and national security, Africa, religion and world politics, and international ethics and justice. The Institute draws upon and fosters the resources of the academic community to offer enhancement opportunities to faculty and students as well as initiatives aimed at policymakers, other scholars, and the public at large through a variety of public programs and ongoing research and analysis projects.

Established in 2002, IIIA facilitates development, coordination, integration, and funding of activities and capabilities of JMU academic community to enhance information and critical infrastructure assurance at the federal, state, and local levels. IIIA emphasizes collaboratively interdisciplinary research that focuses on developing technologies with student participation and that have potential for public benefit and possible commercialization. Further, the Institute focuses on the integrative, interdisciplinary nature of real-world problems and strives to bridge traditional academic departments to develop solutions to the critical security problems facing the nation. IIIA Vision is a society strengthened and enriched by increasingly dependable infrastructure fostered by a strong university role in leadership, interdisciplinary education, research, and problem-solving.

To download a copy of the booklet, click here.

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