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PRESS RELEASE (7-26-2017)

Announcing The Second Annual Kono Conference in Washington DC, 7am to 6pm, August 3-4, 2017

Thanks to all who made the Second Annual Kono Conference a huge success in Washington DC!!!

As we await the final words from our outgoing Chairman, Dr. Ndomaina, I would like to take this space to thank our wonderful leader for his commitment and dedication from the beginning of this process through to the very end! Our Conference Chairman never missed a subcommittee meeting I chaired and showed great evenhandedness in managing the most challenging moments during the conference. Of course, I would be remiss to not acknowledge the critical role of our moderator Professor Nemata Blyden who is a faculty member at GWU and secured the state of the art meeting room for us at the Elliott School of International Affairs.

A huge thank you to all our brilliant presenters. You took the time to organize your talks and to travel to the conference at your own expense; those who couldn't make it sent slides that we were able to present to the audience thanks to excellent technology at the George Washington University. We will make all these presentations available and accessible on this website as well as a comprehensive profile of all presenters.

We especially want to commend our Kono dignitaries who came from overseas specifically to attend and participate at the Conference. Once again, the Kono Conference is open to all descendants of Kono District, from all ethnic groups and whatever their political persuasion. We are all stakeholders in the development and advancement of Kono.

We are grateful for the financial contributions of individuals and organizations to the Conference. A detailed financial report with receipts will soon be made public and posted on our website and relevant forums.

To all our Kono brothers and sisters, we are thankful for the unity that was started at the Conference in speeches made by the keynote speaker Isata J. Kabba, followed by a live Skype address from our elected Vice President Alhaji Chief Sam Sumana and echoed on the following day by Hon. Diana Konomanyi. We, the Conference organizers join with our political leaders in the call for peace and unity in Kono!!

Thanks again! Until next year when we descend into Koidu City for the Third Annual Kono Conference!!

Fuambai S. Ahmadu, PhD
Chair, Content Committee






Dr. Aiah Ndomaina, Chairman


Thank You from Kono Union USA President and Vice President

Citizens, residents, descendants and friends of Kono District at home and in the Diaspora, the membership of Kono Union USA Inc. thanks all of you for the great success of our second annual Kono Conference August 3-4, 2017 in Washington DC. We hope you enjoyed the hospitality of the historic Kono Union and that you left with lasting, memorable experiences that will inspire you to continue your work in moving Kono forward. Contact us to join Kono Union USA or to take part in next year's Third Annual Kono Conference in Koidu City!



Sahr Pombor, President



Kono District

Kono District in the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone, West Africa, has faced a myriad of issues over the years in the areas of sustainable development and indigenous or minority human rights. In particular, the indigenous Kono minority group and other descendants of Kono District such as the Fula, Mandingo, and Kuranko continue to suffer victimization, discrimination, political/police suppression, endemic poverty, poor access to sustainable livelihoods, healthcare and education. Kono District, more than any other region in Sierra Leone, suffers severe environmental degradation resulting from decades of unbridled and mostly illegal diamond mining by major companies and individual traders. This phenomenon is known as the 'resource curse', as Kono is the main source of Sierra Leone’s diamonds, suffering the greatest negative impacts while receiving little of the benefit of its own mineral wealth.



The eleven-year war in Sierra Leone was fueled by the scramble for Kono's diamonds. The Sierra Leonean Government, Liberian rebels, various Sierra Leonean rebel groups, South African mercenaries, an Israeli billionaire, migrants from throughout West Africa and London based venture capitalists each tried to position themselves to reap as much as they could. From guns to machetes, diplomacy to subterfuge, massacres and intimidation, violence and destruction became an everyday lived reality for the inhabitants of Kono District. No longer reliant on the government of the day to solve the problems of Kono and its suffering people, Kono district descendants are standing up to take charge of our destiny. The annual Kono Conference is a historic effort by a broad range of Kono organizations and individual stakeholders within Sierra Leone and the Diaspora to come to grips with our horrific past of violence and socioeconomic exploitation and to begin harnessing our human and cultural assets to chart the way for sustainable development for future generations.