World Food Prize Ambassador Quinn
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THE ARCHIVE OF AMBASSADOR KENNETH M. QUINN
FROM THE MISSISSIPPI TO THE MEKONG
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The First Ever Visit of a US Secretary of State to Sub-Saharan Africa

2/1/87

In January 1987 Amb. Quinn describes how, as Deputy Executive Secretary of the State Department, he planned and organized the visit of Secretary George Shultz to Africa, the first ever visit in history by a U.S. Secretary of State and Amb. Quinn's first visit to that region as well. He describes the powerful impact of standing on Goree Island in Senegal, the departure point for slaves being brought by ship to the Americas. It brought home the horrible reality of that unspeakably evil practice. Visits to Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Cameroon showed the great differences between the countries of West Africa. The final stop of the week-long trip was in Kenya where Amb. Quinn describes the cultural visit the secretary and his party made to the Masai Mara region and game preserve. Seeing giraffes loping along the side of the grass runway as their plane landed provided a glimpse of what the spectacular day would include. However, he was not prepared for the problems that would arise when the land rover carrying the secretary became stuck axel deep in the mud, nor the potential for disaster when the secretary's security detail began unsheathing their high-powered rifles as an endangered rhinoceros started charging the secretary's vehicle.

© 2020 World Food Prize Ambassador Quinn. All rights reserved.