USC’s School of Law will hold an all-day conference Friday on the rebuilding of Sierra Leone, the struggling West African country with ties to the Palmetto State.
For years, the nation of 5.7 million has struggled to rebuild itself after a near-decade-long Civil War in the ’90s left the country shattered and with almost half its population displaced.
The conference — thought to be the first of its kind in the United States — will use an interdisciplinary approach to examine the issues that have hindered Sierra Leone’s redevelopment and look for ways the country can move forward.
Conference participants, each of whom have worked or studied in Sierra Leone, will discuss issues that have hindered the country’s development and examine ways to rebuild the state.
Among the event’s featured speakers will be June Carter Perry, scholar-in-residence at Howard University and former U.S. ambassador to Sierra Leone; Jim Hodes, an Atlanta attorney and former prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone; and Herb Frazier, marketing manager for Charleston’s Magnolia Plantation and author of the newly released “Behind God’s Back,” depicting the connection between South Carolina’s coastal Gullah culture and Sierra Leone. Frazier is a former reporter for The State and The (Charleston) Post and Courier.
The conference organizer is professor Joel Samuels, who practiced international law in Washington, D.C., before coming to USC. He also has worked at the World Bank in Washington and in Zimbabwe.