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!!!
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 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.