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Ambassador Herman Cohen Releases Book on African Leaders

June 23, 2015

Ambassador and former Assistant Secretary of State, Herman J. “Hank” Cohen, long-time Georgetown resident and author of Intervening in Africa: Superpower Peacemaking in a Troubled Continent, has published his second book on modern Africa.

In The Mind of the African Strongman, Ambassador Cohen offers insights into what has helped and what has hindered economic development and democracy in Africa since the end of colonialism.

(Photo by: Marc Cohen)

At a recent book-signing at DACOR (Diplomatic and Consular Officers Retired)-Bacon House, a club for professionals in the Foreign Service, Cohen was joined by family, friends and more than 100 guests including active State Department diplomats.

Reflecting on nearly four decades of work throughout the continent, in The Mind of the African Strongman, Cohen shares stories of his personal encounters with some of Africa's most legendary leaders. From Nelson Mandela to Muammar Gaddafi, Cohen gives readers a never-before-seen look at the men who defined modern Africa, as well as a behind-the-scenes account of dealing with U.S. Presidents, Secretaries of State, and other key leaders shaping U.S. foreign policy toward Africa in the the post-colonial / Cold War era.

Says Ambassador Cohen, "I spent most of my 38 years in the Foreign Service dealing with US relations with African nations. During that time, I had the opportunity to meet privately with many of the continent's first and second generation heads of state who came to power after the end of colonialism in the early 1960s. The highest priority for the United States during Africa's early days was to help the new nations achieve rapid economic development. A significant amount of resources was devoted to African development in the form of foreign aid and technical assistance."

Amb.Cohen signing books (Photo by: Marc Cohen) Amb.Cohen signing books

In Africa, Cohen was posted to five U.S. embassies and served as ambassador to Senegal. In Washington he was Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs under George H. W. Bush and Special Assistant for African Affairs to Ronald Reagan. Among other honors, he received the French Legion of Honor and the Belgian Order of Leopold II. Since 1994, Cohen has been active as president of Cohen and Woods, an international consulting firm specializing in assistance to American corporations doing business in Africa.

He went on to explain, "After the first half century of African independence, the results were disappointing. None of the African nations had made much progress toward lowering poverty and attracting investments. I believe that the disappointing results were due to poor leadership who made a number of bad decisions at the very beginning. Since I had known most of the leaders personally,  I decided that it might be useful to have them tell their own stories as a way of understanding why Africa is lagging behind. Basically, while we were encouraging new policies that could lead to rapid development, the early generation leaders had other priorities, such as preserving their national independence, gaining monopolies of political power, and favoring their own ethnic groups in distributing the fruits of low economic growth.

(Photo by: Marc Cohen)

Now, in retirement, I see the third generation of African leaders starting to adopt wise policies.  I am now more optimistic about Africa's prospects. The continent is also becoming a place for foreign investors to gain large yields on their investments."

Amb. and Mrs. Cohen, who moved to Georgetown in 1969, have lived in the same house on R Street since then, and enjoy dining and shopping in the neighborhood.

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Beasley's Reason To Celebrate

June 7, 2015

Beasley Real Estate scored a record sales increase during the first half of 2015 in the luxury real estate market, and continues to expand throughout Maryland and Virginia, Beasley’s office has announced.

The 2015 Washington Business Journal’s Book of Lists for Residential Real Estate Companies recently ranked Beasley No. 4 as an independent brokerage firm and No. 14 overall in the Washington region.

The rankings were based on 2014 metro-area sales.

This is a climb up from last year when the Beasley Real Estate brokerage firm was ranked No. 5 independently and No. 16 among all brokerages in the Washington region.

Beasley has offices in Washington, DC., Bethesda, Md., and Alexandria, Va.


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DC Jazz History at The Phillips Collection June 4th

May 26, 2015

Celebrate DC’s jazz history at The Phillips Collection June 4, 2015.

Experience original jazz compositions by pianist, composer, and vocalist Mark Meadows, complete a music-inspired scavenger hunt, see award-winning documentary Oxygen for the Ears: Living Jazz, and enjoy a tasting from One Eight Distillery. In collaboration with the DC Jazz Festival.

6:00, 6:30, 7:00, & 7:30 pm
15-minute focused discussions about works in museum’s permanent collection.

Purchase tickets here.

The Phillips Collection is located at 1600 21st Street NW.

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