Foote, who did graduate work at the University of Colorado at Denver, will be on hand. But his organization, which is funded by grants from American philanthropic foundations, isn't able to pick up the tab to fly many other people to the event. Jesse Jackson and Jack Kemp have been invited, but Foote says it's only about a fifty-fifty shot that either of them will show up. "We're hoping to get at least one heavy hitter so all the media will pay more attention," he adds.
Foote says having the town hall the week before the Summit of the Eight begins will allow his group to exert influence on the Summit players, who, among other things, are scheduled to discuss the feasibility of investing more heavily in Africa. "We're tired of having folks talking about Africa without anybody who represents Africa sitting at the table," Foote says.
So far, though, it's not certain that anybody who actually represents Africa will be there. Foote says he's invited the Washington-based ambassadors to seven African nations. But because he's asking them to pay for their own flights, he can't be sure they're going to make it. Foote says he has also invited a number of non-governmental organizations such as the African Development Foundation and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. He says he has promised to put their brochures out for them in the lobby of the meeting room if they don't show up.
It's uncertain whether McDermott, whose bill is the reason for having the meeting in the first place, will show up, either. "He plans to," says his aide Crider. "Schedule permitting.