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Ivory Coast judge Ehonou Manlan makes a stop in Colonie

Ivory Coast Judge Ehounou Manlan, Colonie Clerk of the Court Julie Gansle and Colonie Town Justice Andrew Sommers meet at the Colonie Public Safety Center on Thursday, Sept. 1.

Ivory Coast Judge Ehounou Manlan, Colonie Clerk of the Court Julie Gansle and Colonie Town Justice Andrew Sommers meet at the Colonie Public Safety Center on Thursday, Sept. 1. Photo by Andrew Beam.

— Ivory Coast Judge Ehounou Manlan was continuing his search to find more ways to fight corruption and governmental abuse in his second trip to the United States when he toured Colonie’s Public Safety Building on Thursday, Sept. 1.

Manlan met with Town of Colonie Town Justice Andrew Sommers as they discussed how things are run in the Colonie Town Court and how the judicial system works in Ivory Coast. Manlan’s first trip to the U.S. was in 2006 where he looked to learn more about governmental transparency and saw how the judicial system worked on both the federal and local level. This trip was meant to further his knowledge.

“There are abuses by authorities, but the underlying factor is the lack of education and knowledge on the part of people,” Manlan said, “especially in rural areas and with women. So we look to inform, educate, train and assist them.”

In 2006, he visited Washington D.C., Chicago, Portland, Oregon, and Houston, Texas. The first time he came over was with 4,500 other overseas future leaders as a part of the International Visitors Leadership Program headed by the United States Department of State. It’s a cultural exchange of citizen diplomats, and Manlan is in the U.S. as a representative of a French-speaking country in Africa. This year, the Department of State invited back 20 alumni from 2006 as “gold star” members who will to put to use what they had learned in the U.S. back in their native land.

Malan came from Chicago to Colonie where he sat through a small claims case, met with Supervisor Paula Mahan and even went to Cohoes and met with Mayor John McDonald.

Manlan is a judge presiding over real property cases in his country, but he appears more passionate about his work as the president of a non-governmental organization called Transparency Justice. The group fights against corruption and for educating citizens of their rights, which is what he is most interested in learning about in the U.S.

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