The Leon H. Sullivan Foundation (Sullivan Foundation) is holding its IX Sullivan Summit, scheduled to take place in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, from August 20-24, in collaboration with President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
The selection of President Obiang as the host of the upcoming summit is controversial, particularly given the Sullivan Foundation’s mission of empowering underprivileged people and the event’s intended focus on economic and social development in Africa. We urge summit invitees to inform themselves about President Obiang’s governance record to have a more complete understanding of the context in which the summit will take place. Beyond the luxury conference hall and hotels that will stage the summit are harsh repression and widespread poverty that contrasts sharply with Equatorial Guinea’s enormous oil wealth.
Should individuals decide to participate in the event, we ask that they do so with a full understanding of the difficult reality faced by ordinary Equatoguineans, and that they make a concerted effort to bear witness to and ask serious questions about the daily struggles citizens face in their effort to secure a better quality of life while living under a repressive and corrupt government.
We also urge them to decline any honorarium or other payment for their participation, as has reportedly been offered to some invitees, if the payment is financed directly or indirectly by the government of Equatorial Guinea.
Finally, we hope that invitees will seek to encourage the many reforms that are needed in Equatorial Guinea to achieve the Sullivan Foundation’s worthy aim of “a just and fair society for all.” We believe that doing so would be a fitting tribute to the ideals of the late Reverend Leon H. Sullivan.
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