USIP Regional Community-Police Lessons Learned Conference
Pullman Hotel – Thursday, October 12, 2017
Your Honors, Distinguished Members of Government of Senegal, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria
Civil society representatives from Tunisia
Representatives of the U.S. Institute of Peace
Good morning! I am honored to be here to open the Lessons Learned Conference of the Justice and Security Dialogue in the Sahel and Maghreb.
It is a great pleasure to be among such distinguished individuals, both from government and civil society, who are committed to improving security in their communities.
If you want evidence that the United States believes in your work, I am a good example. I participated in a workshop in my previous capacity, as United States Ambassador to Burkina Faso and now I am here today to support this vital work in my capacity as U.S. Ambassador to Senegal.
You should be proud. You have worked hard, and more importantly you have worked together, to make real improvements in security and trust in your communities. I want to congratulate all those involved; those who participated in the dialogues, the civil society organizations that guided this process, and the USIP team who worked tirelessly to accompany these groups.
I also want to express appreciation for the governments and security services of each country for the support you have given to this project and your dedication to the safety of your citizens.
You have all overcome misunderstandings, legacies of mistrust, limited resources, and extremely difficult security challenges to show that it is possible for law enforcement and citizens to work together to improve security. What you have achieved in these six communities will serve as an example to others across the region, demonstrating that when communities and security services join forces, they are stronger.
We are at an important moment in the history of this region. We face new challenges to peace, stability and the rule of law along with enduring threats to the security of individuals and families. Security services and governments cannot face these threats alone. Nor can communities protect themselves alone. Instead, communities and security services must collaborate and understand that you all play an important role in ensuring that your countries are just and secure.
You are here because you know this. But I urge you not to stop here. The joint work of governments and citizens is a continual one that will require commitment and dedication. As you continue this work, the United States Government will be beside you.
I wish you all the best as you reflect on what has been accomplished over the past three years. I look forward to seeing what this group will achieve in the future.