Melvin P. Foote (Ethiopia 1973-76) has worked on African issues for more than 40 years! He is well known across Africa, and is highly respected by opinion-makers and decision-makers in Washington, D.C. for his work with Africa over many decades.
Mr. Foote is the Founder and President of the Constituency for Africa, (CFA), a 32-years old Washington, D.C. based not-for-profit organization that advocates for Africa in the United States and throughout the Diaspora. The mission of CFA is to educate the public about Africa and African development issues, and help to shape U.S. policies towards Africa. Mr. Foote also is the founder of the African American Unity Caucus (AAUC), which was established in 2002. The AAUC is a network of African-Americans, African immigrants, and others of African descent, who are leaders of Africa-focused organization or who are leaders in mainstream organizations with interest in Africa. The AAUC promotes Pan African cooperation, and works to directly link with the African Union as part of the AU’s Sixth Region.
Mr. Foote also operates a private consulting practice, Africa Advisory Services, LLC, which works with clients to support a range of business initiatives in Africa, and helps African clients to address issues in the United States.
Mr. Foote has worked and traveled extensively in more than 40 African countries. To begin his career, from 1973-76, he went to Eritrea and Ethiopia as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer and teacher. From 1981-84, he served as the Country Director for Africare, a relief and development organization, in Somalia, where he designed and managed a range of projects and programs that addressed the needs of refugees from neighboring Ethiopia, and rural development projects in Somalia.
After three years in Somalia, in 1984 Mr. Foote was reassigned by Africare to the Washington headquarters as the Director of Development Education and Constituency Development, and to lead a new Africare initiative to educate Americans about Africa and about the work that Africare has done to provide development assistance across the continent. It was this work that led to the founding of the Constituency for Africa (CFA), as an independent organization 501-C3 organization in 1994.
Mr. Foote has participated in numerous high-level missions to Africa, including in 1994 as a participant on a White House delegation to assess the impact of the genocide in Rwanda; in 1998 as a member of a White House mission to five African countries to promote U.S. trade with Africa and the new African Growth and Opportunity Act; in 2001 as the leader of a mission to reach a comprehensive peace agreement in Sudan; in 2003 as the leader of a delegation to South Africa, to assess the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), a continental initiative to promote economic integration and development; to Ethiopia and Eritrea in 2010, as a member of a high profiled delegation of former U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers that sought an end to the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea; and also in 2010, to Senegal and Gambia to promote President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative, an initiative that Mr. Foote had proposed to President Obama following his election in 2008.