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Here is an article I wrote detailing President Clintons historic trip to Africa. His first stop was the country of Ghana. Clinton stayed in Ghana for 8 hours and received what he labeled as "one of the warmest welcomes of his career" litterally and figuratively!

President Clinton Visits Ghana

At approximately 7:45 am on the 23rd of March 1998, President William Jefferson Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in Ghana. Accompanied by an entourage of over 700 delegates, congressmen, businessmen, and high ranking officials, the visit marked an historic event for the entire continent as Clinton became the first sitting American President to visit Ghana. President Clinton's 11-day, 6-nation African tour was designed to mark the beginnings of new US.- Africa policy which focuses on bilateral trade and investment, not economic aid. The visit was also designed to boost democracy, promote human rights, economic liberalization and to forge closer ties between the US and African states. President Clinton received an extravagant welcome characteristic of true Ghanaian hospitality. He was greeted by over 500,000 people at Independence Square where addresses were made by both Jerry John Rawlings, President of the Republic of Ghana and President Clinton. In his speech, President Rawlings stated "Ghana will always be grateful for the development assistance she receives from the United States and is willing to increase her cooperation with your country to the benefit of our two people." President Rawlings also assured President Clinton that Ghana was ready and able to do business in the liberalized and competitive world market and shared his hope that with the new US initiatives, sub-Saharan Africa could soon be integrated into the world economy. President Clinton also gave a very moving address, in which he challenged Americans and the world to put a "new African on our map." An Africa which is seen as a place of new beginnings and of ancient wisdom from which we have much to learn. President Clinton went on to praise Ghana for it's leadership in Africa in the spread of democracy. President Clinton revealed a four point plan outlining America's support of Africa, involving the nurturing of democracy, increased investment and trade, non-violence and protection of the environment. After the reception at independence Square and a luncheon at the Castle in Osu, President Rawlings and the First Lady accompanied President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton to the Technoserve compound for a tour of American self-help and management projects that make the country more self-sufficient and less dependent on foreign aid. Featured at this project fair were Technoserve, a non government organization (NGO) funded by US Aid and the US Peace Corps. Peace Corps Ghana was a major focal point in the Presidents visit. With his new Proposal to expand Peace Corps worldwide to 10,000 volunteers by the year 2000, President Clinton highlighted Peace Corps Ghana as it was the first country to ever receive Peace Corps Volunteers. During the project fair Peace Corps Ghana showcased selected volunteers from each of it's five sectors currently at work in the country (Small Enterprise and Development, Youth Development, Forestry, Water Sanitation and Health, and Education). The President was received by our Country Director Harriet Lancaster and led through the Peace Corps display with presentations being made by the following volunteers. Small Enterprise Development (SED) PCV Donna Broughton representing her work in the development of eco-tourism in Somanya, Eastern Region. SED PCV Felicia Burzell representing her work in the development of non-traditional exports with the Bolgatanga Basket Weavers Cooperative, Upper East Region. Youth Development PCV's Victoria and Earl Phillips and their work with inner city street children in Jamestown, Accra. Forestry PCV Stuart Levenbach and his work in Paga, Upper East Region. Wat-San-Health PCV K.C. Choe and her work in Sikaman, Ashanti Region. Education PCV Augustus Vogel teaching science at Abor SSS, Volta Region. I also was present to represent World Wise Schools and the third goal oriented cultural exchange this program promotes in Ghana and throughout the world. In addition to the project fair were the addresses made after the walk-through by President Rawlings, First Lady Hillary Clinton, PCV Alicia Diaz and President Clinton. Both Presidents commended self-help organizations such as Technoserve and the US Peace Corps and felt they have made a major contribution to US-Ghana relations. Art Education volunteer Alicia Diaz in her introduction of President Clinton made reference to the positive impact that her work in the Peace Corps and teaching her students at Cape Deaf has had on her life. President Clinton told the crowd of development workers gathered at the Technoserve compound that he could say two things about his visit to Ghana without fear of being wrong; that it was the largest reception he had received in a foreign country and that it was also the warmest! From the Project Fair at Technoserve President Clinton, the First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and the delegation of dignitaries were led back to Katoka International Airport where a meet and great ceremony had been planned for all other Americans living and working in Ghana. From Ghana President Clinton traveled to Uganda before completing his tour with visits to Rwanda, South Africa, Botswana and Senegal. Personally the Presidents visit to Ghana marked a historical moment in my life. I was swept up in the emotions and intensity that inevitably surround formal events of such significance and global importance. I felt proud to be a Peace Corps Volunteer, I felt proud to be an American, all of my Ghanaian counterparts were certainly proud to be Ghanaian. For me, for Ghana, for Africa and for the United States the visit was so much more than the limited media coverage portrayed. It was the start of something worthwhile and profound. The visit signified the disassemblence of the negative stereotypes which have weakened our understanding of Africa in the past. And further signified the initiation of bridges of partnership, mutual cultural respect, and of Global human understanding.

Written by Peace Corps Volunteer Leader James Houle (1995-1998)