Discussion on American Diplomacy in the Final Days of the Liberian Civil War

On Wednesday, October 12, the Africa Center hosted a panel discussion with Dante Paradiso, US Foreign Service officer and author of the just-published book The Embassy: A Story of War and Diplomacy, and Ambassador John W. Blaney, former US Ambassador to Liberia (2002 to 2005).

After a welcome and introduction by Africa Center Director Dr. J. Peter Pham, Paradiso, who served at the US Embassy in Liberia during the period, gave an overview of his book, which follows efforts during the conclusive phase of the Liberian civil wars and the efforts to broker a peace between the rebels and President Charles Taylor.

Following his overview, Blaney recalled his decision to keep the US Embassy open when all others had shuttered their doors. In the discussion that ensued, Blaney and Paradiso discussed the difficulty of navigating the fluid and dynamic political and security situation in Monrovia while also reconciling concerns over Embassy staff safety, drawing out lessons for similar complex situations elsewhere.

Image: Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham with Dante Paradiso and Ambassador John Blaney.