The Foreign Service Journal - January/February 2018

12 JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2018 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL The Young African Leaders Initiative I would like to inform Journal read- ers about the Young African Leaders Initiative. This noble endeavor by the United States is a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. Nearly one in three Africans are between the ages of 10 and 24, and approximately 60 percent of Africa’s total population is below the age of 35. Former President Barack Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic gov- ernance, and enhance peace and secu- rity across the continent. Since then, the State Department has held numerous exchanges for young African leaders, and U.S. embassies have awarded small grants to YALI alumni groups support- ing youth development in Africa. The YALI program, along with the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initia- tive launched in 2013, could be emu- lated across the globe, especially in places where there is a lack of under- standing of basic governance and the rule of law. As a former reader for the YALI program, I have encountered many talented individuals who aspired to become leaders; but, sadly, due to a lack of resources and opportunities at home they were unable to develop their true potential. Programs like YALI and YSEALI are an investment in the future of those nations. They promote the values that we hold dear in our own nation: democ- racy, human rights and the rule of law. Krish Das Information Officer Consulate Karachi Déjà Vu Surely I am not alone in drawing a parallel between the “attacks” on U.S. diplomats in Havana resulting in hear- ing loss and traumatic brain injury and the microwave bombardment of U.S. Embassy Moscow from 1964 to 1979. The how or why of the Moscow microwave radiation scandal, “Opera- tion Pandora,” remains a mystery. This was the Cold War. The Soviets hoped either to alter the mental state of our personnel, activate embassy listening devices or jam our electronics. Hundreds of Americans were exposed, including my husband (as the Air and Defense attaché in about 1970), myself and our three children. Our quarters were on the sixth floor of the embassy. Johns Hopkins’ School of Hygiene and Public Health [now Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health] conducted a detailed biostatistical and epidemiological survey of medical records of concerned personnel. The results were never made available to me, but I recall reports of high white blood cell counts, incidences of leukemia and the deaths from cancer of two ambas- sadors. Imagine my shock and sense of betrayal to learn years later that our government had withheld information from us to avoid damaging chances for détente. Could another country operating in Cuba, namely Russia, be responsible for harassing our personnel? Diplomats and military officers serv- ing in foreign nations are state guests. It is loathsome to tolerate any affront to hospitality and courtesy. Lois Mansfield FS family member Fairfax, Va . n