The United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo has appointed a Special Envoy for Great Lakes Region.
The appointment of Dr. J. Peter Pham, who has been serving as Vice President and Director at the Washington based Atlantic Council, was announced on Friday by Department of State (DOS).
“Secretary Pompeo is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. J. Peter Pham to serve as the United States Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa,” said part of the statement.
The African scholar, whose appointment comes at a time when the Great Lake’s most volatile nation, Democratic Republic of Congo is going for general elections and member states suspiciously watching the implementation of South Sudan second peace agreement, is expected to coordinate U.S policies on security, political and economic matters.
“Dr. Pham will be responsible for coordinating the implementation of U.S. policy on the cross-border security, political, and economic issues in the Great Lakes region, with an emphasis on strengthening democratic institutions and civil society, as well as the safe and voluntary return of the region’s refugees and internally displaced persons,” added the statement.
Dr. Pham formerly served as vice president of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA) and editor-in-chief of its quarterly Journal of the Middle East and Africa; an associate professor of Africana studies at James Madison University, where he was director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs; and on the Senior Advisory Group of the U.S. Africa Command.
He is expected to assume the work previously undertaken by Senior Coordinator for the Great Lakes, Ambassador Larry Wohlers.
The DOS statement noted that U.S. ambassadors in the region remain charged with the conduct of bilateral relations.