Ret. US Diplomat Calls For Mediation In Cameroon Crisis

Herman J. Cohen

Retired career US diplomat and specialist in African and European affairs, Herman J. Cohan has intimated that the “the time is now” for the government of Cameroon and seperatist fighters to sit on the negotiating table.

President of Cohen and Woods International (CWI). Established in 1998, the consulting firm provides strategic planning services to African governments, and multinational corporations doing business in Africa. CWI is the political risk adviser for Africa to the New York firm ContourGlobal, the leading US private investor in electric power generation in the continent.

Mr. Cohen retired from the US Foreign Service in November 1993. His last position prior to retirement was Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs under President George H. W. Bush (1989-1993).

During his 38-year career with the U.S. Foreign Service, he served in five African countries and twice in France. He was the American Ambassador to Senegal, with dual accreditation to the Gambia, from 1977 to 1980. He was Chief of Mission (Chargé d’affairs a.i.) in Zaire (Congo) in 1968-1969.

During assignments in Washington, Mr. Cohen also served as Special Assistant to President Reagan and Senior Director for Africa, on the National Security Council staff (1987-89), and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research (1980 to 1984).

From 1993 to 1998, Mr. Cohen was a Senior Advisor to the Global Coalition for Africa, an intergovernmental policy forum that worked to achieve consensus between donor and African governments on economic policy and good governance. He was an Adjunct Professor of African Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advance International Studies from 2000 to 2010.

Mr. Cohen’s honors and awards include the French Legion of Honor, the Belgian Order of Leopold II, the US Foreign Service distinction of Career Ambassador, and the Townsend Harris Distinguished Alumni Award of the City College of New York. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Diplomacy.

Mr. Cohen is the author of two books: “Intervening in Africa: Superpower Peacekeeping in a Troubled Continent”. Macmillan, New York, 2000 and “The Mind of the African Strong Man”

His comments are believed to carry heavy weight within US diplomatic circles in Africa due to his vast experience. Be comments also reflect the view of the current occupant of his former position, Tibor Naggy.