Event: Conferences

Fall 2014 Conference

The Council of American Ambassadors' Fall Conference

took place from October 19 to 22.

View the Conference Website by clicking on the link.


On Sunday, October 19, Council members and conference presenters visited the Price Museum of Speed and received a VIP tour of the museum's classic car collection. Following the museum tour, Ambassador John Price and Mrs. Marcia Price welcomed guests to their exquisite Salt Lake City residence, formerly the Utah Governor's Mansion, where CAA members participated in an art and garden tour followed by a reception and dinner.

On Monday, October 20, Ambassador Timothy A. Chorba, President of the Council of American Ambassadors, welcomed Conference attendees, and Mr. Kirk Jowers, Director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics, introduced Governor of Utah Gary Herbert, who pointed out that a number of Utah businesses have increased their trade with Africa. Following Governor Herbert's remarks, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield took the stage. Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield presented a tour d'horizon of Africa and outlined US priorities for the continent.

Next, former Ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell provided valuable insight into the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria. He was followed by Colonel John C. Garrett, USMC (Ret.), who gave an overview of the security challenges facing the continent.

After the morning session, former Governor of Utah and US Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt served as the keynote luncheon speaker. Referencing the Ebola crisis, he stressed the importance of providing US health care assistance to nations grappling with disease and epidemics.

Dr. Daniel Bausch, an Ebola expert recently returned from West Africa, opened the afternoon session. Dr. Bausch's informative presentation clarified the causes and transmission of Ebola and underscored that the long-term solution to the crisis in Africa is better health care infrastructure and improved access to clean water. Next, Ms. Rosa Whitaker, who served as Assistant US Trade Representative for Africa in the Clinton and Bush administrations, discussed the importance of AGOA, which provides duty-free market access to the United States for qualifying Sub-Saharan African countries. She emphasized the importance of trade to Africa's future development, noting that trade is worth five times more than aid, and advocated for the permanent extension of AGOA.

Dr. Joshua Eisenman was the final conference presenter on October 20. He analyzed China's role in Africa as well as perceptions of Chinese businesses in Africa. CAA member Ambassador Donald T. Bliss provided closing remarks. The day concluded with a reception and dinner at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, at which University of Utah President Dr. David Pershing was the keynote speaker. 
On Tuesday, October 21, Ambassador John Price, Chairman of the Africa Conference Host Committee, opened the Conference's second day and introduced former US Senator Robert Bennett.
Following Senator Bennett's remarks, Mr. Stephen Hayes, President and CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa, discussed infrastructure development in Africa. He advocated for increased US business investment in Africa and called on the US Government to promote investment opportunities in African nations.
Next, CAA member Ambassador Delano E. Lewis, Sr. (Ambassador to South Africa, 1999-2001) moderated a panel discussion entitled, "Investing in Africa's Future," featuring businessman and investor James Sorenson, investment manager Laura Geritz and Director of Business Development for the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development Marshall N. Wright. The Conference concluded with a luncheon, at which US Senator Orrin Hatch was the keynote speaker.
Following the Conference, Council members and guests traveled to Park City. Dartmouth alumnus Tiger Shaw, Olympian and President of the US Ski and Snowboard Association, conducted a private tour of the ski jump venue at the Utah Olympic Park and of the US Ski and Snowboard Association's Center of Excellence training center. At the training center, Olympic ski jumper Mac Bohonnon, who competed in the Sochi games, met with members and performed a series of aerial tricks.
The program concluded with a reception and dinner at Ambassador John Price and Mrs. Marcia Price's residence in Deer Valley. Stein Eriksen, legendary alpine ski racer and Olympic gold medalist, attended the dinner, as did US Olympians Eric Heiden, Tiger Shaw, Jimmy Shea, Mac Bohonnon and Sarah Hendrickson.