Melvin P. Foote
President

Melvin P. Foote

Melvin P. Foote

Mr. Melvin P. Foote is a pioneer in the field of African Affairs.  He  has over 35 years of experience and has worked in over 30 African countries.  And he is recognized as a leading expert on issues related to African policies and programs.

Mr. Foote founded the Constituency for Africa (CFA) in 1990, in order to establish a network of organizations, groups and individuals committed to the progress and empowerment of Africa and African people worldwide.  CFA’s mission is to build public and private support for Africa, and to help shape a progressive U.S. policy towards Africa.

Mr. Foote is also the founder of a dynamic CFA-related program called the African American Unity Caucus (AAUC).   The AAUC is a broad-based coalition of African-American and African leaders of Africa-focused organizations and groups, to promote pan-Africanism and to link Diaspora leaders in the Western Hemisphere with the African Union (AU), the coordinating forum of the nations of Africa.  Further, Mr. Foote serves as an advisor to the African Union’s Ambassador to Washington and as a consultant to the World Bank on African Diaspora issues.

Mr. Foote has participated in numerous high-level missions to Africa, including as a participant on a White House delegation to assess the genocide in Rwanda in 1994; as part of a high profiled team that sought to end the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea in 1998; as a member of a Presidential mission to five African countries in 1998 to promote U.S. trade with Africa and the African Growth and Opportunity Act; as the leader of a mission to reach a comprehensive peace agreement in Sudan in 2001; and as the leader of a delegation to South Africa in 2003 to assess the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), a continent-wide initiative to promote economic integration and development.

Mr. Foote is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions that include the “Order of the Lion” Award in 1998, which is the highest public service honor of the Government of Senegal, and the Congressional Black Caucus 2001 Annual Legislative Conference’s Diggs Award for Foreign Affairs in recognition of his outstanding commitment and achievement on issues and concerns pertaining to Africa.  Mr. Foote is a regularly requested speaker on radio and television as well as a prolific writer of articles and editorials featured in newspapers and magazines across America.

Prior to founding CFA, Foote  served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer and teacher in Ethiopia and Eritrea from 1973-1976. From 1981-1984, he served as Africare’s Representative in Somalia. From 1984-1994, Mr. Foote worked in Africare’s Washington headquarters as their Director of Constituency Development, which led to the founding of CFA.  Mr. Foote can be reached at mfoote@cfanet.org or 202-371-0588.

David J. Saunders
Director of Administration & Management Services

David J. Saunders

David J. Saunders

David J. Saunders is the Director of Administration and Management Services for CFA and a Consultant to Students In Free Enterprises (SIFE) which is the largest college and university-based entrepreneurial training organization in the world.

He previously had a twenty year career with the U.S. Department of Defense as a supervisory program analyst and possesses twenty-five years of executive management and program management experience in federal government and major non-profit organizations.  His federal government experience encompassed supervisory and managerial responsibilities, administrative and facilities management, strategic planning and quality assurance, business development and proposal writing, entrepreneurial training and youth internship development initiatives (both academic and entrepreneurship). He also has extensive experience working with both non-profit organizations and start-up enterprises that are doing business on the African continent.

Mr. Saunders is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Venue International Professionals, Inc. (VIP) – a full service travel and tourism consulting firm that specializes on the Continent of Africa and has visited twenty-five African countries (at least once) over the past ten years.  In this capacity he is directly responsible for overall management advisory services as well as marketing and sales promotion of VIP’s travel and tourism products. VIP’s diverse range of clientele includes African Ministries of Tourism, African Tourist Boards, African Airline Carriers, African Hoteliers and Lodges, African Tour Operators as well as American-based travel agencies, institutions of higher education, churches, local chambers of commerce, families and independent tourists.

He was also a Member of the International Board of Directors of the Africa Travel Association (ATA) from 1999 to 2006 as well as the ATA Chapter President for the Washington Metropolitan Area from 1997 to 2002.  In 1999, he received the ATA’s Outstanding Leadership Award for exemplary service to the ATA organization and in 2005 received the ATA Founder’s Award in recognition of his substantial contributions to the professional growth and development of the ATA organization.  He has been recognized by many of his industry peers as a model of commitment and service to the promotion of travel and tourism opportunities to the Continent of Africa.  He is a prolific writer of newsworthy articles and papers for many trade publications (to include the Africa Travellers Journal, Africa Travel Magazine, ATA Website, and Black Meetings & Tourism Magazine) as well as a featured panelist of radio, cable television and other mediums on various topics of the travel and tourism industry as well as trade and investment related opportunities in Africa.

A native of Washington, D.C., he received a Congressional Appointment to all four U.S. military academies and attended U.S. Coast Guard Academy.  Mr. Saunders eceived a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from American University and he is an adjunct professor of International Trade and Entrepreneurship at Howard University.  He also serves on several advisory boards in Washington Metropolitan Area including the African American Unity Caucus (AAUC) and the American and African Business Women’s Alliance (AABWA).  Mr. Saunders formerly served on the following advisory boards: African-American Partnership for Global Economic Commerce (AAPGEC), and Africa Travel Association (ATA), Boy Scouts of America’s National Capitol Area Council, Blacks In Government (BIG), and U.S. Small Business Administration’s International Trade Advisory Council.

Mr. Saunders can be reached at:  dsaunders@cfanet.org or 202-371-0588.

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