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The City Café

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Mayor Yeah Samake and ULCT's Cameron Diehl

SALT LAKE CITY – A delegation of mayors from one of the poorest countries in the world is looking to Utah to learn skills for efficient governmental leadership.  The group is led by a Mali mayor with strong Utah ties… in fact; he is now running an impressive campaign to become Mali’s new President.

Yeah Samake, who was born in Mali and was one of few in the country able to pursue an education as a youth and then abroad.  He received his Master’s Degree from Brigham Young University and then returned to his hometown of Ouelessebougou to teach English and help increase literacy in his own country.  In Mali fewer than 20 percent of adults can read and write.

Ouelessebougou is actually one of the most advanced cities in Mali, yet it has no water treatment facility, no public safety, poor transportation systems and ongoing threats to public health.  The country of Mali is rich in its resources such as gold and cotton but has no practical and efficient processing methods.

As Mayor of Ouelessebougou, Samake is trying to improve conditions in his community and raise the level of ethics in his country’s government. His push for transparency in a developing democracy is building confidence among communities, improving programs and services, raising tax collection rates, and bringing people out of the shroud of illiteracy that has dominated Mali for generations.

Samake is Vice President of the Mali League of Mayors, an organization with a membership of 704 mayors throughout the nation. On December 4, Samake is bringing a delegation of mayors from Mali to Utah to learn how to efficiently run various divisions of public services and lead their cities.

The delegation is looking to Utah with its tradition of municipal efficiency and international humanitarian service, to provide hands on training in a variety of valuable services.  It’s also an opportunity to foster long-lasting relationships between Utah city officials and Malian leaders.

The ULCT Mali Summit, scheduled for December 5- 8, 2011, will provide informal training in various governmental operations including how to conduct public meetings, how to address infrastructure needs, and the ethical responsibilities of being an elected official.

If you’d like to get involved as a host family or as a French interpreter, contact Cameron Diehl @ the Utah League of Cities and Towns at 801.328.1601, or .

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