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An Interview with Melvin P. Foote, President and Chief Executive Officer of Constituency for Africa

Many people who have worked to improve their country and the globe can be found among the Peace Corps Returned Volunteers from Ethiopia and Eritrea.  Melvin P. Foote served in Eritrea and Ethiopia from 1973 to 1976 and was moved from Eritrea to Ethiopia during that time, and like many volunteers, he had a life-changing encounter that continues to have a significant impact on both his personal and professional life.

Early life                                                                                                                                                               

Melvin P. Foote, President and CEO of Constituency for Africa (CFA). Photo courtesy of africabusinessportal.com

For more than 40 years, Melvin P. Foote had worked in Africa and on African concerns. He is the founder and president of the Constituency for Africa (CFA), a 25-year-old network of businesses, associations, and people in Washington, D.C., dedicated to the development and empowering of Africa and Africans everywhere. The goal of the Constituency for Africa (CFA) is to increase public and private support for Africa and to influence U.S. policy toward the continent. The President’s Emergency Response to HIV/AIDS in Africa (PEPFAR), African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) are a few of the US government programs focused on Africa that were directly established by Melvin Foote and Constituency for Africa.

Achievements

Melvin P. Foote worked as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer and instructor in Ethiopia and Eritrea from 1973 to 1976 before establishing CFA. He worked as Africare’s representative in Somalia from 1981 until 1984. He served as Director of Constituency Development at Africare’s Washington headquarters from 1984 to 1994, which resulted in the establishment of CFA. Melvin  Foote took part in several high-level missions to Africa, serving on a White House delegation in 1994 to ascertain the genocide in Rwanda, as the mission’s leader in 1994 to forge a comprehensive peace agreement, on a well-known team in 1998 that decided to seek to put an end to the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea and a member of a Presidential mission to five African nations in 1998 to endorse U.S. trade with Africa and the African Growth and Opportunity Act, as the mission’s leader to forge a comprehensive peace agreement in Sudan in 2001, and the head of a mission sent to South Africa in 2003 to evaluate the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), a continental program to advance economic ties and growth.

Awards and honors

The “Order of the Lion” Award, the highest honor for public service bestowed by the government of Senegal, was given to Melvin Foote in 1998. He also received the Diggs Award for Foreign Affairs from the Congressional Black Caucus’ 2001 Annual Legislative Conference in appreciation of his exceptional dedication to and success in addressing problems and concerns relating to Africa. In addition to being a prolific writer of essays and editorials that are published in newspapers and publications throughout America, Melvin Foote is an often-sought speaker on radio and television.

Impact

To put an end to the war that had claimed about ten thousand (10,000) lives, Melvin Foote traveled to Ethiopia and Eritrea in 2010 with a representative of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers which included Hon. John Garamendi, a current California member of congress, the late Michael McCaskey, whose family owns the Chicago Bears NFL team, and Circuit Court Judge Bill Canby. The delegation met with the leaders of both major parties and pushed them to think about a way to peace.

Constituency for Africa (CFA)

Melvin P. Foote. Source: nkafu.org

Melvin P. Foote who is the President and CEO of Constituency for Africa (CFA) has for many years pioneered a widely acclaimed series of Town Hall Meetings on Africa, which have taken place in several cities and towns across the United States. Constituency for Africa (CFA) organizes the Ronald H. Brown African Affairs Series and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Annual Legislative Conference, both of which take place in Washington, D.C., in September each year. The series has persevered in offering a particular platform for Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) officials and their staff to connect with entities with an African concentration, African diplomats and government policymakers, and grassroots community leaders.

The Ronald H. Brown African Affairs Series was held in mid-September 2020 by Constituency for Africa (CFA), and one session will be of interest to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and prospective recruits. The African American Peace Corps’ function in the post-pandemic Peace Corps. The collection bears the name of the late Ronald H. Brown, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and US Secretary of Commerce under the Clinton administration.

Along with Dr. Darlene Grant, who was recently hired by the Peace Corps as the Senior Advisor to the President to help with the strategic development and address issues of diversity in the institution, featured presenters scheduled for the event included Congresswoman Karen D. Bass (D-CA), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and Chair of the House Sub-committee on Africa and Global Health. Sadly, Hon. Bass had to leave for a crucial meeting, but he did attend the meeting on September 18 with Dr. John Nkengasong, the head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to review a briefing on the COVID-19 outbreak in Africa.

The discussion was timely despite being always pertinent, but it was especially so in light of recent occurrences like the worldwide evacuation of over 7,000 Peace Corps Volunteers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and the resultant Black Lives Matter demonstrations that took place in many different cities across the United States and the rest of the world. As a result of these incidents, issues of racism and diversity have come under scrutiny inside the Peace Corps as well as other branches of the United States government.

The speakers and panelists presented their thoughts and suggestions for policy reforms as the Peace Corps reemerges after the COVID-10 pandemic passes, reviewed strategies for expanding the recruitment of African Americans and other minorities and discussed ways for doing so.

Melvin P. Foote’s Interview in Ghana

On Dominion Television, Melvin P. Foote speaks with Ama K. Abebrese about his career life and journey within the Diaspora.

Visit our website www.dominiontv.net for more inspiring and empowering content.

Who Did Cain Marry?

” And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bore Enoch: and he built a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.” we read after Cain kills Abel and resides in Nod (Gen 4:17). Cain and Abel, according to the book of Genesis, were Adam and Eve’s sons. One would ask where Cain’s wife came from.

This question has been one of contention in the Christian community. There are many assumptions when it comes to this topic. A few being;

  1. God created a wife for Cain as He did for Adam
  2. There were other human beings in existence aside from Adam, Eve, Abel and Cain.
  3. Cain married his sister

We can all agree that Cain had a wife. The major question is where did she come from? Well, there were other people aside Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel, however, the bible does not explicitly make mention of them. In Genesis 4:14-15 when God banished Cain, Cain was worried about people killing him, making known the fact that there could be more people.

Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.” And the Lord said to him, “Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him – Genesis 4:14-15

God further acknowledges this remark by stating that He will put a mark on Cain so that no one would kill him. God also did not question who Cain would have feared hence no direct denial. So who could these be?

Genesis 5:3 makes it clear that Adam and Eve had other sons and daughters besides Cain, Abel and Seth. The people Cain referred to were sons and daughters of Adam and Eve.

And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth – Genesis 5:3

Therefore, Cain could have possibly married one of those people, which would be one of the daughters of Adam and Eve. Important to mention that Genesis covers events and personalities over thousands of years, and often delves into the lives of people who significantly contributed to the story of the Messiah.

Do you have any pressing questions about the bible and Christianity? Head over to our Social media platforms and ask a question under our ‘You Asked’ segment.

 

 

Seeking First the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness

“But seek first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to as well.” – Matthew. 6:33

Unlike Abraham Maslow’s theory of the hierarchy of needs, which places physical needs at the bottom of the triangle and self-actualization at the top, as Christians, we must place our need for God at the apex of the triangle, and the triangle must then be reversed so that our need for God becomes our most basic needs. All other requirements will be addressed later if this basic need is fulfilled.

The accomplishment of God’s will on Earth is hence the kingdom of God. Only by obeying God’s commandments as Christians can we fulfill God’s will on earth. God lives in us in this manner. “And when he was demanded o the Pharisees when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, the kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! for behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” -Luke. 17:20-21

It’s critical to remember that, as Christians, we must first seek God’s kingdom, not just when we are in trouble but because life is meaningless without God. The exceeding righteousness that comes from placing our trust in Him and emulating Him, Jesus makes clear, is required for the kingdom. When we perform religious devotions and obligations, our motives must be pure.

Furthermore, the Bible is dedicated to recounting the wonderful story of Jesus and how His followers can seek and find fulfillment in Him. The first and most important way we can seek the Lord is to read the Bible. Here are two other practical methods in which we can seek the Lord.

  • We must admit and repent of the other.

We are to worship only one God, according to the Bible. The command to cast off idols is repeated from beginning to end. If there is something in our lives that we value more than Christ, that item has become a lord and an idol, preventing us from finding satisfaction in the King.

  • Submit all our emotions and worries to the Lord.

We must not only repent of the sin that so easily arises in our hearts, but we must also bring our emotions to the Lord daily. We must make God the King of our emotions to seek first the kingdom of God.

Finally, it is expected of us as Christians to seek God’s kingship first in every matter and moment of our lives. We don’t need to be concerned about anything if we believe in our heavenly Father’s kingship.

One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple – Psalms 27:4 

How else can we actively seek God’s Kingdom and His righteousness? Let us know in the comments below

What is Confession?

“He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” – Proverbs. 28:13

All Christians strive to live their lives by the teachings of Jesus Christ. He calls us to imitate God, practice righteousness, and live a life that pleases Him. As humans, we stray, fall short, and succumb to sinful temptations. Christ introduced the mystery of confession to combat this sickness of the soul. As the sole creator of this world and the ultimate judge, we must show our regret to God through confessions whenever we disobey His commandments, just as we do when we hurt our family and friends. God is a forgiving God, therefore when we call on Him, He is always ready to listen.

What is Confession?

Confession, therefore, is the public or private acknowledgment of sinfulness, which is regarded as necessary to receive divine pardon. It is a way for us to encounter God in all His glory on our planet. When we sin, we end up alienating ourselves from God, our fellow humans, and our genuine selves, which damages our relationship with Him.

As a result, we should confess our transgressions to God whenever we sin, because He despises sin, which separates us from Him and leads to death as stated in Romans.6:23,

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23

How can we confess our Sins to God?

Here are some guidelines for confessing our sins.

  • Invest time in God’s presence.

To begin with, we should spend time with God and in His Word regularly. The Lord can make us aware of specific sins while we fellowship with Him in prayer. We do not have to examine ourselves or worry about whether we have made a mistake. God is light, and when we spend time with Him, He reveals our sins. We may see what we need to confess right away when He shines. We will become more sensitive to the Lord’s light shining on us as we allow Him to shine on us. This is one of the reasons why having daily time with the Lord is a good idea.

  • Confess everything the Lord puts His light on.

Whatever the Lord Jesus shines on us, we should confess it. We may believe that some things do not matter, that they are insignificant, but if we let what we think are little transgressions accumulate, we will find it is all too easy to let even a major transgression go unconfessed and suffer the repercussions in our relationship with the Lord.

  • Take considerable time in the presence of the Lord for extended lengths of time.

We can spend long periods with the Lord particularly to be under His glory, in addition to our daily time with Him. We can spend an additional thirty minutes or an hour with the Lord once a week to give Him more opportunity to reveal our hearts. We’ll have more time to respond to His instructions, revelations and to confess more profoundly and finely as well. We can start these moments by praying or singing a hymn to the Lord using Bible scriptures. Then we might simply beg the Lord to shine on us and confess whatever He shines upon us. By devoting extended periods to fellowship with the Lord, we not only restore our fellowship with the Lord but also strengthen it.

As Christians, we are expected to live righteous lives so that we may enjoy eternal life in Christ Jesus. As a result, living a moral life entails confessing our sins when necessary.

Remember, the bible promises to set us free when we confess.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness – 1 John 1:9

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