PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Congressman David N. Cicilline is heading to Liberia on Saturday night for a four-day trip to assess the United Nation’s work in the West African nation, which is still recovering from a brutal, years-long civil war.
The Providence Democrat is expected to land in Monrovia, the nation’s capital, on Sunday.
Cicilline, in his first trip to Africa, said he plans to meet with officials from U.N., the U.S. Embassy, as well as Liberian legislators, the heads of the Liberian armed forces and national police and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, whom he met during her May visit to D.C.
The trip is being organized and paid for by the United Nations Foundation, which is a private nonprofit organization that supports the UN’s work and was established by CNN founder Ted Turner.
Congressman Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, will also be taking part in the trip.
“It’s a really packed agenda. They fit a lot in,” Cicilline said in an interview in his Pawtucket office earlier this week. “It’s an opportunity to learn about the country of Liberia, its relationship to the United States and to understand specifically the UN mission in Liberia.”
The United Nations Mission in Liberia is one of the organization’s longest-running peacekeeping operations, and was established in 2003, at the end of Liberia’s 14 years of conflict.
Rhode Island, at one point, had one of the largest concentrations of Liberians in the country. As of 2012, there were roughly 15,000 out of a total state population of around one million.
“Rebuilding Liberia: The Rhode Island Connection,” a print and online project by The Providence Journal, recently examined how the nation is recovering a decade after its civil war, in which more than 250,000 died.