Sierra Leone: Diamonds and the Struggle for Democracy

Sierra Leone: Diamonds and the Struggle for Democracy

Sierra Leone: Diamonds and the Struggle for Democracy

Sierra Leone: Diamonds and the Struggle for Democracy


Hirsch traces Sierra Leone's downward spiral, detailing more than three decades of progressive collapse.


David Malone

The publication of this volume affords great pride to the International Peace Academy. IPA Occasional Papers have, over the years, examined a number of challenges to international peace and the ways in which they have been or could have been addressed. In most cases, the authors were primarily distinguished scholars and analysts.

John Hirsch, IPA vice-president, brings to this examination of the current crisis in Sierra Leone not only superb academic credentials but also the unrivaled vantage point of his tenure as Ambassador of the United States of America in Freetown from 1995 to 1998, during which a number of the events chronicled in the ensuing pages unfolded. His previous assignments in Africa prepared him well for the challenges he faced in Sierra Leone. Nothing prepared him so well as his love for the continent, which, in due course, also fostered great affection for Sierra Leone and its inhabitants.

Those who read this volume in draft all encouraged Ambassador Hirsch to provide it with a more personal flavor than is mostly the case with scholarly work. His deeply held convictions and thoughtful conclusions on this continuing crisis, it seemed to us, would be of significant interest to all those who are committed to the resolution of Africa's ongoing conflicts. That he obliged us is a source of great satisfaction.

In this volume, Hirsch surveys the recent history of Sierra Leone and successive diplomatic initiatives that have failed to bring lasting peace to the country. He casts the crisis as regional rather than merely internal to Sierra Leone. He concludes with a number of policy and practical recommendations for a more convincing approach by regional and international actors, aimed at providing a stable framework for peacebuilding in Sierra Leone. The volume draws not only on recent developments on the ground but also on the latest policy developments at the UN and elsewhere. This volume will be of great value to practitioners and scholars alike, in Africa, key capitals, centers of learning, and at the United Nations.

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