Global Health Chronicles

Alexander Laskaris

David J. Sencer CDC Museum, Global Health Chronicles


Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:01:17 - Early life/Growing up cross-culturally

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Backing up, could you tell me when and where you were born?

Keywords: Cold War; Greek Civil War; US Navy; US military; West Coast; anthropology; cross-cultural; culture; diplomacy; immigrants; immigration; interpretation; parents; translation; travel; violence; war; youth

Subjects: United States. Navy

00:05:20 - Reflections on effecting change across cultures

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Last night we were having dinner with the Peace Corps volunteers, and they learned this at the village level.

Keywords: AFRICOM; T. Waldhauser; immigration; migration; military intervention; refugees; regime change

Subjects: Middle East; Peace Corps (U.S.); United States. Africa Command

00:08:37 - Education/The importance of moral leadership

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Did you go through all of secondary school in Greece?

Keywords: A. Fugard; Apartheid; Central America; Cold War; Latin America; N. Mandela; South Africa; Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC); campus activism; civil war; high school; moral leadership; religion; student protest; teaching

Subjects: Georgetown University. School of Foreign Service

00:14:05 - Entry into US Foreign Service/Liberia/Botswana, early 1990s

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So you were in South Africa from ’89 to ’90. What did you do after that?

Keywords: Apartheid; HIV/AIDS; K. Masire; Liberian Civil War; Tswana; epidemic; foreign service; guinea; religion; risk communication; sexual transmission; stigma; stigmatization; violence

Subjects: AIDS (Disease)--Africa; Botswana; Guinea; HIV (Viruses); Liberia; Peace Corps (U.S.); United States. Department of State; United States. Foreign Service

00:24:12 - Egypt/Washington/Angola, mid-late 1990s

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What happened after Botswana?

Keywords: AFRICOM; Cold War; J. Savimbi; R. Nixon; Rwandan genocide; US military; Y. Arafat; Y. Rabin; ethnic conflict; peace; peace process; violence; war

Subjects: Angola; Angola--History--Civil War, 1975-2002; Burundi; Burundi--History--Civil War, 1993-2005; Egypt; Israel; Middle East; Rwanda; Rwanda--History--Civil War, 1994--Atrocities; Sinai (Egypt); Somalia; South Sudan; United States. Africa Command

00:29:53 - Work on African affairs in the United Nations Security Council, early 2000s

Play segment

Partial Transcript: And then after Angola?

Keywords: C. Taylor; Cold War; G. Garibaldi; L. Kabila; Leopold II; M. Sese Seko; R. Holbrooke; S. Touré; atrocities; borders; civil war; diamonds; dictators; human rights; peace process; peacekeeping; trial; tribunal; tyrants; violence

Subjects: Congo (Democratic Republic); Congo (Democratic Republic)--History--1997-; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Liberia; Liberia--History--Civil War, 1999-2003; Sierra Leone; Sierra Leone--History--Civil War, 1991-2002; United Nations

00:36:46 - September 11th, 2001/ State Department Policy Planning Staff

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Okay, so 2002, what happens then?

Keywords: C. Powell; Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); Manhattan; R. Haass; Taliban; Twin Towers; World Trade Center; civil-military divide; diplomacy; hijacking; terrorism; terrorists; witness

Subjects: 9/11 Terrorists Attacks, 2001; Afghanistan; Iraq; New York (N.Y.); Saudi Arabia; United States. Department of Defense

00:44:08 - Burundi/Kosovo, early-mid 2000s

Play segment

Partial Transcript: This was 2002, 2003.

Keywords: Albanian; J. Yellin; P. Nkurunziza; T. Kaidanow; US embassy; children; deputy chief of mission (DCM); ethnic conflict; hunger; independence; poverty

Subjects: Albanian language; Burundi; Kosovo (Republic)

00:49:11 - Iraq, late 2000s-early 2010s

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So Kosovo 2006, 2008. And then I decided it was time to go to Iraq.

Keywords: D. Petraeus; G. Volesky; Iraq war; R. Crocker; anthropology; brokering; culture; diverse; diversity; ethnic conflict; federalism; history; insurgency; language; leadership; multi-ethnic; nation building; peace process; peacemaking; persecution; politics; power; religion; violence

Subjects: Iraq; Kurdish language; Kurdistan; Mosul (Iraq)

00:58:44 - Becoming ambassador to Guinea, 2012

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So when did you leave Iraq?

Keywords: US Embassy; anthropology; communities; culture; diaspora; history; language; migration; refugees

Subjects: French language; Guinea

01:03:28 - Ensuring peace at the polls

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Can you tell me about the early days of being ambassador?

Keywords: A. Condé; M. Camara; brokering; democracy; elections; legislature; politics; transfer of power; voting

Subjects: Guinea

01:05:04 - Beginning of 2013-16 Ebola epidemic in Guinea

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So we inaugurated the national assembly in January of 2013 and my deputy and I were at the ceremony like, okay, what are we going to do now?

Keywords: B. Dahl; Doctors without Borders; Forest region; Guinea Forestier; M. Kinzer; MSF; P. Lindland; P. Rollin; R. Lamah; Viral Special Pathogens Branch (VSPB); advising; advisory role; beginning; borders; conspiracy theories; corruption; fear; meetings; ministry of health; nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); outbreaks; rumors; start; technical advisors

Subjects: Catholic Relief Services; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.); Médecins sans frontières (Association); United States. Agency for International Development

01:10:07 - Advising President Condé on relationship with international NGOs

Play segment

Partial Transcript: But he was very hostile to the idea of civil society, of NGOs, and we actually had a couple of shouting matches, which is not a career move for an ambassador

Keywords: B. Kouchner; Doctors without Borders; Ebola treatment units (ETUs); MSF; R. Shah; T. Frieden; clinical care; government; influence; local control; sovereignty

Subjects: Catholic Church. National Conference of Catholic Bishops; Catholic Relief Services; Médecins sans frontières (Association); United States. Agency for International Development. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance

01:13:49 - Working with CDC to advise President Condé on Ebola response

Play segment

Partial Transcript: But Ben and Pierre and Mike were critical in this because unlike the Liberians, Guinea never went the security-based route of forced quarantine

Keywords: A. Condé; B. Dahl; Guinean military; I. Balde; M. Kinzer; P. Rollin; S. Keita; advice; behavior change; criminalization; economic effects; education; hand washing; hardline; hygiene; infection prevention and control (IPC); influence; isolation; markets; quarantine; schools; screening; supplies; temperature; thermometers

Subjects: Guinea. Armée guinéenne

01:18:24 - Promoting a non-militaristic quarantine strategy/Advising President Condé

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What finally ended up sort of working was the encerclage.

Keywords: A. Condé; B. Dahl; Guinean military; I. Balde; L. Martel; P. Rollin; S. Keita; T. Frieden; ambulances; cerclage; coercive; encerclage; fear; frankness; honesty; isolation; negotiation; patient transport; police; quarantine; screening; travel; unrest; violence

Subjects: Guinea. Armée guinéenne

01:24:18 - The capacity of the Guinean government

Play segment

Partial Transcript: When you describe how President Condé advocated for the government to do more, for the state to do more and was kind of distrustful of all these other organizations

Keywords: development; health sector

01:25:46 - Entry into Guinean communities as a foreigner

Play segment

Partial Transcript: You send white Land Cruisers into Liberia and Sierra Leone, people know that they’re bringing food or relief supplies or medicine, and they know that good things, protection, lifesaving support

Keywords: A. Condé; Basse Côte; Islam; M. Tchecola; Muslim; T. Frieden; anthropology; burials; capacity building; clerics; culture; economics; faith leaders; farming; fear; funerals; history; imams; land; language; leadership; left-wing; messaging; moral leadership; ownership; rapprochement; religion; respect; rites; rituals; socialist; trust; understanding

Subjects: Peace Corps (U.S.); Susu language

01:40:19 - Visiting rural Guinean villages/The importance of engaging with local leadership

Play segment

Partial Transcript: When you look back, is there a certain village that you remember going to that you can describe for me, one that stands out to you?

Keywords: B. Dahl; Benty; S. Keita; T. Frieden; Télimélé; clerics; communications; community outreach; culture; deference; gender; health promotion; imams; language; messages; messaging; moral leadership; radio; religion; respect; social mobilization; trust

Subjects: Mali

01:48:23 - National leadership structure of Guinea’s Ebola response

Play segment

Partial Transcript: You mentioned the importance in your previous work before becoming ambassador to Guinea of getting the right people a seat on the table.

Keywords: A. Condé; A. Keita; diplomacy; hierarchy

01:50:10 - The many parties to the Ebola response in Guinea

Play segment

Partial Transcript: One thing the government didn’t do and I pushed on, they never got the survivors into the game.

Keywords: P. Graaff; civil society; fieldwork; reflections; regrets; survivors; viral persistence

Subjects: Cuba; France; Peace Corps (U.S.)