Vice President Joseph N. Boakai has urged business institutions in the United States partnering with Liberia to give first preference to agriculture and agri-businesses to enhance sustainable progress.Speaking to a cross section of Liberians and American entrepreneurs on September 16 in New York at the US-Liberia Trade and Investment Forum, VP Boakai said, “We come to seek strategic partnership especially in areas of agri-business and agriculture value chains.”He said intervention in agriculture and agri-business will engender diversification of Liberia’s economy from overreliance on and extractive sector that has made the country susceptible to “exogenous shocks” such as fluctuation in global commodity prices.He stressed that Liberia is interested in natural resource development, mainly in areas of mining, oil and gas, as well as manufacturing and processing.He added that Liberia is also seeking collaboration in other non-trade sectors, such as infrastructure development in energy, road construction, seaport development, health, education and Information Communication Technology (ICT), noting that strategic public-private partnerships in such areas will have the greatest impact in raising the living standard of the people.“Liberia’s resilience in building democratic institutions and ensuring peace and stability over the last decade is the greatest guarantee for the security of foreign direct investment and capital flow,” the VP said.“This assumption has been backed by critical reforms of Liberia’s public institutions, including reform in the security apparatus and judiciary; the passage of critical legislations such as the Freedom of Information Act, Anti-Corruption Act; and Land Reform.”The Vice President encouraged American and Liberian private sectors to become catalysts for stimulating and spreading entrepreneurial spirit of Liberia and join in helping to open opportunities for job skills development and youth employment. “I need not remind anyone that Liberia is always a welcome place for Americans. Our people will be waiting with outstretched arms to warmly welcome and embrace you,” VP Boakai assured.For her part, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ambassador Bisa Williams, delivering a special statement, urged American investors to be a part of Liberia’s prosperous future by investing in the country. She said now is the time to be thinking about Liberia, grow American businesses in Liberia and by extension grow Liberia and its people; indicating that the American Government and people believe in Liberia, its leaders and people and the prosperity of the country. Other speakers at the forum were UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Ebola David Nabarro; Riva Levinson of the Ebola Private Sector mobilization Group; NIC’s Executive Director Gyude Wisner; Henry Saamoi of the International Bank Liberia Limited; and Anna Rogers of GROW Liberia, among others. Several panel discussions and roundtable meetings focused on Liberia’s economic outlook; agriculture and agribusiness; investment in infrastructure; investing in extractives, amongst others, were held. The forum, organized by the Liberia’s National Investment Commission in collaboration with the America-based Developing Markets Associates (DMA), was sponsored by several groups including ExxonMobil, APM Terminals, Firestone-Liberia, Dawnus, KOSMOS, SunERGY, SoENERGY, International Bank Liberia Limited, among others.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Share This!This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We Love Universal’s Royal Pacific Resort. Currently the Universal Orlando Resort has six on-site hotels, with a seventh (Endless Summer) opening later this summer. Disney has three classifications for their resorts: Value (including Art of Animation), Moderate (Port Orleans Riverside), and Deluxe (Wilderness Lodge). Currently, Universal also has three levels: Prime Value (Cabana Bay Beach Resort and Aventura Hotel), Preferred (Sapphire Falls), and Premier (Hard Rock, Portofino Bay, and Royal Pacific).Loews Royal Pacific Resort. (photo by Brandon Glover)While Disney runs its on-site resorts, Universal partners with a luxury hospitality company in Loews Hotels. Because of this partnership, the level of service at all of Universal’s hotels is extremely high. Now, I understand the arguments of staying off-site, but for my family, staying on-site is one of our favorite parts of a theme park vacation, especially at Universal. Today we’re going to look at one of my personal favorite on-site hotels in Orlando, and let’s kick off the countdown with….# 6 – Location, Location, Location!Disney has several resort areas where location is king. Who doesn’t want to stay at one of the monorail resorts and enjoy a quick ride over to the Magic Kingdom? A stay at Disney’s BoardWalk is a hop, skip, and a jump away from both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Because of the compactness of Universal, a room at the Royal Pacific is within walking distance to everything at the Universal Orlando Resort. You’re less than 10 minutes door to door from your room to Toothsome or Voodoo Doughnut. Unlike the Contemporary, where your walk to the Magic Kingdom includes a stoplight and waiting for traffic, your walk from the Royal Pacific is along a gorgeous garden walkway filled with lush landscaping. One of my favorite things in Orlando is walking from Royal Pacific to the parks, because as you venture further towards CityWalk, the Ocean Trader Market background music from Islands of Adventure’s Port of Entry begins to get louder and louder. It truly is magical.You don’t have to walk if you don’t want to, as Universal provides complimentary water taxis to CityWalk and there is almost always a pedi-cab more than willing to take you as well (they work solely on tips). Considering every guest who stays at Royal Pacific gets Unlimited Universal Express and early morning entry to the Wizarding World, being so close to the parks allows you to maximize your park time without having to get up at the crack of dawn. It’s also worth noting that the water taxis service only their home resort, so you don’t have to wait long for one or have to sit as they make multiple stops like Disney’s resort watercraft.Shot from inside a room at Royal Pacific. Among other things in the background, you can see the Hulk Coaster, Doom’s Fear Fall, and Hogwarts Castle. That’s how close you are. (photo by Brandon Glover)A water taxi taking guests from Royal Pacific to CityWalk. In the background is IOA’s lighthouse park icon. (photo by Brandon Glover)A water taxi brings guest back to Royal Pacific. In the background is Sapphire Falls, which also has water taxi service. (photo by Brandon Glover)Royal Pacific Resort. (photo by Brandon Glover)Guests have a themed walkway to the parks, but can also walk to the neighboring Sapphire Falls. This is helpful because unlike some theme parks in Orlando, guests at any on-site hotel at Universal can “pool hop” to any other hotel on property and enjoy their amenities. Royal Pacific guests can also walk (or take a free shuttle) to Volcano Bay.Garden Walk. (photo by Brandon Glover)Now THIS is how you walk to a park! (photo by Brandon Glover)Theme park icon @DrunkAtDisney marvels at how close Royal Pacific is to the Universal parks. # 1 – The PoolThe lagoon-style pool at the Royal Pacific Resort is massive. While it is the only Premier resort pool at Universal without a slide, it does feature the gigantic Royal Bali Sea interactive water play area connected to the pool. This play area is themed to a ship, features water cannons, and seemingly dumps about a million gallons of water on the people playing around it. When I was a kid all the pools were the same shape: a rectangle. If pools and play areas existed like this, I’m not even sure my parents would have been able to drag me away to go to the theme parks.For adults, there is plenty of seating, a white sand beach, zero entry, cabanas, two hot tubs, an ice cream place, and the Bula Bar & Grille. The pool area offers towels, magazines and newspapers to read while laying out in the sun, and games such as ping pong. While there is plenty of covered seating at the Bula Bar, servers will come out to the pool area to deliver drinks and food. Our recommendation: Shipwrecked Loaded Nachos (but you can’t go wrong with the Char Siu pork lettuce wraps either).A look down at the massive pool area at the Royal Pacific. Having Dr. Doom’s Fear Fall and The Incredible Hulk Coaster in the background show exactly how close to the parks you really are!Zero entry area of pool. (photo by Brandon Glover)Royal Pacific pool. (photo by Brandon Glover)Royal Pacific pool. (photo by Brandon Glover)RPR pool water feature. (photo by Brandon Glover)RPR pool water feature. (photo by Brandon Glover)When weather gets hot, what’s better than ice cream to cool down? (photo by Brandon Glover)The Bula Bar. (photo by Brandon Glover)Big Bula. (photo by Brandon Glover)Shipwrecked Loaded Nachos, possibly the best value in all of Orlando’s theme parks. (photo by Brandon Glover)Char Siu pork lettuce wraps. (photo by Brandon Glover)Local organic mix greens salad with tofu. (photo by Brandon Glover)Right outside the Royal Pacific pool are some lovely beaches.Royal Pacific Resort beach area. (photo by Brandon Glover) # 4 – Jake’s American BarLocated on the ground floor of Royal Pacific is Jake’s American Bar, a deceptively large table service that has a lot seating both inside, outside, and at the bar. The original bar themed to a sea pilot (cough – we’re looking in your direction Jock Lindsey), Jake’s American Bar is inspired by the adventures of Captain Jake McNally, the South Seas pilot who – in storyline – disappeared in Southeast Asia. While we’ve always enjoyed the sit-down service at Jake’s, our best bet is walking up to the bar and ordering off the menu. For those not staying at the resort, it should be noted that parking will be validated by any on-site restaurant as long as you spend $25. Be sure to try the Fly Boy Beef & Cheese Fries along with a beer flight.Throughout the year Jake’s American Bar hosts a Beer Dinner that is well worth going out of your way to check out. A five-course meal paired with select ales and lagers–What’s not to like about that?Jake’s American Bar. (photo by Brandon Glover)Jake’s American Bar. (photo by Brandon Glover)Jake’s American Bar seating near the bar. (photo by Brandon Glover)Jake’s American Bar. (photo by Brandon Glover)Jake’s American Red Lager. (photo by Brandon Glover)Crooked Can. One of the many draught beers available, many from local beer makers. (photo by Brandon Glover)Beer flight. (photo by Brandon Glover)Crispy Calamari. (photo by Brandon Glover)Fly Boy Beef & Cheese Fries. (photo by Brandon Glover)Cheese Pizza. (photo by Brandon Glover)Burgers are a favorite at Jake’s. (photo by Brandon Glover)Churro Bread Pudding with a Chocolate Stout. (photo by Brandon Glover) Double Secret Honorable Mention – The GymnasiumFor the most part gyms at Disney resorts are relatively nondescript. Universal meanwhile has a gym at Cabana Bay that is probably bigger than the Planet Fitness in many towns and The Gymnasium at the Royal Pacific includes a spa pool straight out of a Hollywood movie. It also includes tons of cardio equipment, free weights, and Nautilus equipment – all complimentary – but while you’re working on those FitBit numbers we’ll be over at Jake’s sipping on a cold one.The Gymnasium. (photo by Brandon Glover)The Gymnasium. (photo by Brandon Glover)The Gymnasium. (photo by Brandon Glover)The Gymnasium. (photo by Brandon Glover)The Gymnasium. (photo by Brandon Glover)The Gymnasium. (photo by Brandon Glover) # 5 – Exotic ThemingOur family has vacationed in many areas of the world, but my absolute favorite place that we have visited was Hawaii. I love the tranquility and relaxing nature that you find there, and that feeling exists in Royal Pacific’s exotic theme. The entire resort is filled with ambiance in the form of landscaping, torches, and water elements. Fresh orchids are found throughout the resort, and the outdoor courtyard near the lobby is amazing with elephants playing in the water (along with a great sign asking guests not to disturb the elephants). The whole resort has an exotic Pacific-region theme that just draws you in, and is the perfect area for either a break during the afternoon after battling the Florida sun, or a great way to unwind after a hard day of hitting the parks.Whimsical frogs playing instruments line the bridge leading to Royal Pacific’s lobby.Royal Pacific signage. (photo by Brandon Glover)Statues are found throughout the resort. (photo by Brandon Glover)Statues. (photo by Brandon Glover)Courtyard area located directly next to Royal Pacific’s lobby. (photo by Brandon Glover)Courtyard theming. (photo by Brandon Glover)Courtyard theming. (photo by Brandon Glover)E-Ticket sign. (photo by Brandon Glover)Considering how many Americans can’t find America on a map it’s safe to say they don’t know where Indonesia is either. (photo by Brandon Glover) While the regular menu at Islands is top notch, the highlight of Islands Dining room is the legendary Wok Experience, which includes an all-you-care-to-eat soup and salad bar, along with an unlimited amount of trips to the wok station. Guests combine their choice of vegetables, proteins, and sauce (mixed with noodles or rice) to make a unique dish – cooked right in front of them – that just so happens to taste out of this world. I love ‘Ohana as much as the next person, but – for me – the Wok Experience is overall much better and you never feel like the restaurant is trying to get you out of there as quickly as possible in order to turn the table. The cost is just $25 per person, making it a tremendous value as well. The Wok Experience is available on Friday and Saturday nights from 6-9p.m. and gets our highest possible recommendation.When guests walk into Islands on a night when the Wok Experience is available, they will see the Wok station set up in the middle of the restaurant. (photo by Brandon Glover)Guests can start their meal with a trip to the salad bar. Like ‘Ohana’s bread service, I personally consider this to be fool’s gold as you don’t want to get full on this great salad bar right before an amazing meal. Our dining party included a vegan who thought everything was fresh and tasted great. Meanwhile the rest of us when straight to the Wok station…Wok Experience salad bar. (photo by Brandon Glover)Here is a step-by-step process of a Wok dish being prepared.The first step in creating your own Wok dish is to grab the amount of veggies you want mixed in. (photo by Brandon Glover)You can add as much, or as little, as you want. The vegan at our table added two full cups of vegetables to their Wok dish. (photo by Brandon Glover)The Wok chef working their magic. They make every dish to order, switching pans out for each dish. It is amazing to watch in person. (photo by Brandon Glover)Once you grab your veggies, the Wok chef will ask which protein you would like. Their is beef, chicken, shrimp, and tofu available. You can also mix proteins, such as this wok with beef and shrimp. The chef will also ask if you would like garlic or ginger added. (photo by Brandon Glover)The chef later adds in your already chosen vegetables. (photo by Brandon Glover)Noodles or rice is then added to the dish. You can ask for as much or as little as you prefer. (photo by Brandon Glover)Along with the rice or noodles, the chef will ask if you want a sauce added. There are six types avaliable including: coconut curry, teriyaki, Szechwan, sweet & sour, orange sauce, and my personal favorite Thai peanut. There are additional toppings you can ask for as well including soy sauce and sriracha. (photo by Brandon Glover)Lo-mein noodles added to the Wok. (photo by Brandon Glover)Wok chef mixes everything to perfection. (photo by Brandon Glover)Once poured into your dish, the Wok chef will ask if you would like it topped with cilantro or green onions. (photo by Brandon Glover)For those who travel with vegetarians or vegans, the Wok Experience is great for them as well.Wok dish featuring tofu as the protein. (photo by Brandon Glover)Wok dish with beef and chicken with almost no vegetables added.(photo by Brandon Glover)Across from the Wok station are tables set up with soups and desserts.Dessert and soup station. (photo by Brandon Glover)These strawberry cheesecake squares were wonderful. I found myself snacking on them while waiting for my Wok dish to cook. I was like Buddy the elf popping cotton balls into his mouth. Would have like to take a plate of these home.Cheesecake squares. (photo by Brandon Glover)The chocolate cake dessert was also very good.(photo by Brandon Glover) # 3 – Despicable Me Character BreakfastPreviously, Royal Pacific’s character breakfast was held at Jake’s American Bar and featured characters from Despicable Me and Hop. Being huge fans of character meals in general, our family had a great experience. The breakfast is now at the Tahitian dining room (former home of Emeril’s Tchoup Chop) and is completely based around the Despicable Me characters, having added a second Minion and Gru’s three daughters. Upon check-in, guests get their first photo op with Gru and Stuart (the one-eyed Minion). After being escorted to your table, guests are then released to visit the buffet to eat all that you desire. There are two buffet lines featuring a sweet and savory assortment of fruits, eggs, breakfast potatoes, meats, pancakes, sweet rolls, bagels, and cereals. Servers will bring orange juice, water, and coffee to the table at your request. Gluten free options are available.If you’ve dined at any Disney character meal, you will be accustomed to characters visiting each table around the dining room for photos. That is the same system in place here, with three sets of characters roaming throughout the meal. Gru & Stuart the Minion, Gru’s daughters (Margo, Edith, & Agnes), and Kevin the Minion. The characters were very playful, engaging in dancing games or playing tricks on each other. Another layer to the overall Minion theming is the soundtrack of popular music as performed by Minions playing throughout the meal. Universal has nowhere near the amount of character meals that Disney offers, but the ones they do have are a lot of fun and this is no exception.Despicable Me Character Breakfast. (photo by Brandon Glover)Inside the Tahitian dining room. (photo by “Corporal Confetti” @FelipeWWoHP)“Mom’s choice” fruit options. (photo by Brandon Glover)Cereal options. (photo by Brandon Glover)Bread and pastries. (photo by Brandon Glover)Mini-muffins. (photo by Brandon Glover)Bagels and bread. (photo by Brandon Glover)Hot food selections. (photo by Brandon Glover)Breakfast is served! (photo by @FelipeWWoHP)Gru and Stuart. (photo by Brandon Glover)Kevin. (photo by Brandon Glover)Agnes, Edith, and Margo. (photo by @FelipeWWoHP)Sisters having fun with each other. (photo by Brandon Glover)Smile! (photo by Brandon Glover)The Despicable Me Character Breakfast has three seatings every Saturday: 8:00 a.m. 9:30 a.m., and 11:00 a.m. The cost is $34.99 for adults, $20.99 for kids 3-9, and free for children under 3. To make a reservation go to www.LoewsCharacterBreakfast.tix.com. Honorable Mention – Royal Pacific is Pet FriendlyWhile Disney has only recently started to make some of its resorts pet friendly, many of Universal’s hotels – including Royal Pacific – have been welcoming pets for years. In fact, the Royal Pacific not only has an elaborately themed area dedicated just to pets, at check-in they are given their own gift bag filled with stuff and there’s even a gourmet room service menu for cats and dogs. (Sorry, I don’t care how long my Yorkshire Terrier gave me the cold shoulder, I had to draw the line somewhere!) There is one-time resort fee of $100 per stay for guests with pets (limit 2 pets per room).Royal Pet Resort. (photo by Brandon Glover)Royal Pet Resort. (photo by Brandon Glover)Royal Pet Resort. (photo by Brandon Glover)Walkway to the pet-friendly rooms. (photo by Brandon Glover) # 2 – Islands Dining Room and the WOK EXPERIENCEIslands Dining Room is the main table service restaurant for Royal Pacific. Despite being located directly next to the main pool area, inside you would have no idea as it is very quiet. In the mornings, Islands offers a large breakfast buffet along with an extensive a la carte menu that includes their signature Hawaiian pancakes and Tahitian French toast a l’orange. The dinner menu brings a Pan-Asian themed menu that does not disappoint with options such as General Tso’s chicken, Korean bulgogi ribeye, and tofu broccoli lo-mein. There is a children’s menu available, and in our experience the servers have no problem allowing guests to order off the Jake’s American Bar menu so that they can get a burger instead of something like shrimp pad thai. Our family also enjoyed the fact that there is a large room available which has a TV as well as toys for kids to play with. This allowed for the adults to relax and enjoy the meal while the kids could have fun.To book reservations at Islands Dining Room, use OpenTable.Islands Dining Room. (photo by Brandon Glover)Islands Dining Room. (photo by Brandon Glover)Thai Coconut Soup – sweet coconut, lemongrass, & ginger in a light broth. (photo by Brandon Glover)Pork Potstickers. (photo by Brandon Glover)Korean Bulgogi Ribeye. (photo by Brandon Glover)General Tso’s Chicken. (photo by Brandon Glover)Shrimp Pad Thai. (photo by Brandon Glover)Teriyaki Bowl Stir Fry. (photo by Brandon Glover)Yes, there is a children’s menu. (photo by Brandon Glover)Like Jake’s, Islands Dining Room has a large drink menu. (photo by Brandon Glover)Refreshing. (photo by Brandon Glover)Yin & Yang Chocolate Oreo Mousse. (photo by Brandon Glover)Be sure to finish your meal with Island’s signature dessert: the jumbo pineapple donut.Homemade Donut Filled with Pineapple Cream, Coconut Ice Cream. (photo by Brandon Glover) Triple Threat Honorable Mention – Royal ClubThe Royal Pacific Resort offers a Club Level experience as well, as guests can enjoy the amenities at the Royal Club. Inside is a large amount of seating, several TVs, computers, and board games. There is a continental breakfast in the morning, afternoon snacks, evening meal (themed to a different experience each night) and later a dessert offering. Throughout the day soda, coffee, and other drinks are available. Everything is complimentary, including the alcohol options.The Royal Club. (photo by Brandon Glover)The Royal Club. (photo by Brandon Glover)Royal Club. (photo by Brandon Glover)Kid’s area. (photo by Brandon Glover)Alcohol selections. (photo by Brandon Glover)Royal Club. (photo by Brandon Glover)Royal Club. (photo by Brandon Glover)Royal Club. (photo by Brandon Glover)Royal Club. (photo by Brandon Glover)Themed nights. (photo by Brandon Glover)Pork option for Mexican night. (photo by Brandon Glover)Themed nights. (photo by Brandon Glover)Vegan rigatoni. (photo by Brandon Glover)Royal Club. (photo by Brandon Glover)So there you have it: Six Reasons We Love Universal’s ROYAL PACIFIC RESORT! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following: SATURDAY SIX SPECIAL INVESTIGATION: An in-depth look at theme park photography6 Pieces of Disney Merchandise That Don’t Exists (But Totally Should)Are Disney’s Hotels Going To The Dogs? A Review.Walt Disney World Locations Used in Hulk Hogan’s THUNDER IN PARADISESATURDAY SIX Investigative Report: Disney PET PEEVESThe 5th Annual Theme Park TURKEYS of the Year6 Reasons We’ll NEVER FORGET 2018 (No Matter How Hard We Try!)Special Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, the Corporal of Confetti @FelipeWWoHP, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and Nick, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.FINAL PLUG! Did you know The 2019 Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando has a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX in it?That’s right, ANOTHER NEW ONE EXCLUSIVE TO THIS EDITION!Finally, someone came up with an actual reason to read a book. ORDER this baby now!We’re already looking forward to our next stay… (photo by Brandon Glover)
Share This!Exciting news Soarin’ Over California fans! The popular, original version of Soarin’ which was originally slated to be shown for a limited time, through June 30, will now be shown at Disney California Adventure through August 31!On their journey over California, Guests who visit this attraction will continue be able to view the sights on this virtual tour of the state while they fly over the Golden Gate Bridge, smell the orange trees, sail over Malibu, and more.The original version, Soarin’ Over California opened in 2001. The attraction was changed over to Soarin’ Around the World back in 2016.So if you miss the original version, and you weren’t going to the park only in the month of June, you’ll have a few more months to be able to experience it.Are you excited to hear that this version will continue to be offered at the Disneyland Resort over the summer?
The view from Imet Gogo near Geech camp, Semien Mountains near Ras Dashan. Bet Giyorgis, one of the mysterious cross-shaped churches hewn out of rock at Lalibela. A view of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital and largest city, from the Sheraton hotel. Crowds gather at the Fasiladas’ bath in Gondar, Ethiopia, to celebrate Timket – the Epiphany for the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. (Images: Wikipedia)Samson Mulugeta Still stuck on the image of Ethiopia as a land of war and famine? Think again.These are the little-known facts about this Horn of Africa nation: it is the third most populous country in Africa at 74 million, is twice the size of France, and the climate in the highland capital of Addis Ababa is more akin to Johannesburg than nearby sweltering Khartoum, Sudan.After the ousting of a military dictator nearly two decades ago, Ethiopia has been one of the most stable countries in an African region home to such failed states as Somalia or rogue states such as Sudan, with its crisis in Darfur.But the current Ethiopian government is functional and thriving only in comparison to others in its neighborhood. Its human rights record has been criticised by the US State Department and the nation’s last election, in 2005, was marred by violence and irregularities.Despite these setbacks, Ethiopia has shown steady economic improvement in the last decade, including in the tourism sector, and is one of the world’s least-explored gems.To travellers and students of history, Ethiopia is a magical and enchanting land because of its vivid, uninterrupted connection to antiquity and the larger canvas of recorded human history. Archeological finds have pointed to Ethiopia as the birth place of the oldest Homo sapiens. Pre-Christian Ethiopia was a major player during antiquity – the Old Testament mentions Ethiopia dozens of times. Ethiopia’s ancient empire extended on both sides of the Red Sea – Ethiopian kings frequently ruled over south Arabia. Around the time of the birth of Christ, Ethiopia was a centre of commerce and learning along with Egypt, Persia and Greece.“Ethiopia always had a special place in my imagination and the prospect of visiting Ethiopia attracted me more strongly than a trip to France, England, and America combined,” Nelson Mandela wrote in his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. “I felt I would be visiting my own genesis, unearthing the roots of what made me an African.”With Axum at its capital, in what is now Tigray Province, Ethiopia’s recorded history dates back to 1 000 years before the birth of Christ.Its founding mythology is still steadfastly held by many modern Ethiopians, that a union of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba begat a royal line that extended from Menelik I to Haile Selassie, whose reign was overthrown in 1974.Ethiopians believe that the Ark of the Covenant, containing the tablets of the 10 commandments, are kept at Mount Zion church in the ancient capital of Axum, guarded by a priest sworn never to leave the premises.Ethiopians have a unique alphabet dating back 2 000 years, rooted in the Gee’ez language which remains the language of the church while Amharic evolved into the people’s language, with a linguistic kinship akin to Latin and English. Ethiopians keep time in a unique manner, counting the start of the day with one at daybreak (or what would be 7am in Western timekeeping) and ending it with 12 at sundown and then starting with one again. The Coptic calendar is also different. Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar and is marked its second millennium this last year, seven-and-a-half years after the Western calendar.The only African nation to avoid colonisation, Ethiopia was an inspiration to South Africa’s ruling African National Congress, and the Rastafarians who idolized Ras Teferi, who was later crowned as Haile Selassie. Other intriguing aspects of Ethiopia’s heritage include it’s Jewish population (now almost entirely transplanted to Israel), its early acceptance of Christianity in 400 AD (before England, for example, became Christian) and its veneration by the Prophet Mohammad, who exempted it from jihad, leaving Ethiopia an island of Christianity in a sea of Islam.Ethiopia is even the birthplace of that morning picker-upper the world cannot do without, coffee, whose name derives from Kefa, the region where it was first discovered, according to legend, by a goatherd named Kaldi.The ancient capital Axum, with its towering obelisks and royal tombs anchors one of the three legs of Ethiopia’s northern “historic route.” After invading and occupying Ethiopia from 1935 to 1941, fascist leader Benito Mussolini broke one of the obelisks into three pieces and shipped it to Italy. It was returned to Ethiopia recently after decades of lobbying by the Ethiopian government.The castles of Gonder are the second stop of the historic tour. Gonder was Ethiopia’s capital from 1635 to 1855 and is home to castles built by Emperor Fasilidas, a network of stone structures featuring sauna baths and lion cages.The final and arguably most stunning example of Ethiopia’s former glory is Lalibela, a mountain village in the highlands of Wello Province that pays homage to a sophisticated civilisation that saw itself as the embodiment of a new holy land. King Lalibela, who had supposedly visited the holy land before he embarked on his building project, wanted to create a new Jerusalem. The stream flowing between the churches is named the River Jordan and the adjoining hill is known locally as Mount of Olives.Heading north from Addis Ababa, the capital, the first thing visitors see from the air as they approach the historic village is Lalibela’s most famous icon, the House of St George, the cross-shaped church.On a towering plateau formed by molten volcanic rock, St. George squats, carved into the rock as if by a giant hand wielding a laser-like surgical tool. It is in the shape of a cross, cut into the rock in a 12-by-12-metre trench, and is formed out of a single seamless rock. The engineering marvel of churches’ design remains a mystery to this day. The precision, sophistication and astounding scale of the building have defied easy explanation by archeologists and historians. Ethiopian legend has it they were built in 24 years with the help of angels. Modern historians believe the churches took about 100 years to build.Lalibela has remained a living monument, to this day used as a place of worship by thousands of pilgrims who arrive from near and far.The Lalibela churches are among the World Heritage List, a selection of manmade and natural attractions judged by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) to be of such universal value that they ”should be preserved for all time.”The Lalibela churches are, according to Unesco “a remarkable coupling of engineering and architecture and a unique artistic achievement.”It has astounded every visitor who came upon them, including Portuguese priest Francisco Alvares, the first European to visit Lalibela, in 1512.“I weary of writing more about these buildings,” he wrote. “Because it seems to me that I shall not be believed if I write more.”Several airlines, including Ethiopian Airlines, fly to Addis Ababa regularly from destinations around the world. There are daily flights from Addis Ababa to Lalibela. Flights on a fleet of turboprops from Addis Ababa-Gonder-Lalibela-Axum “historic route” costs US$400.Trips to Lalibela are best during the colorful festivals of Timkat (Epiphany, January 19) or Meskel Finding of the True Cross, September 27). However, flights and accommodation tend to be fully booked so planning ahead is essential during for visits during those events.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at firstname.lastname@example.orgRelated articlesMount Mabu yields hidden bounty A holiday – in Zimbabwe? The treasures of Afrika House Saving priceless African history Biggest nature park in the world Useful linksEthiopian Airlines Lonely Planet – Ethiopia Ethiopian Tourism MediaEthiopia CyberEthiopia
7 December 2011An important process that started three years ago will begin to move forward this week as the first round of negotiations to establish a free trade area covering 27 countries in east and southern Africa kicks off in Nairobi, Kenya on Thursday.It is envisaged that negotiations for the proposed free trade area (FTA), which promises to be an important instrument for the future of trade and industrialisation in Africa, will be completed in about 36 months.The three trade blocs involved – the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) – decided in Kampala, Uganda in October 2008 to move towards a free trade agreement.Boosting intra-regional trade, industrialisationThe intention is to boost intra-regional trade. Because the market will be much bigger, there will be more investment flows, enhanced competitiveness and the development of cross-regional infrastructure.At the same time, the FTA will act as a spur to industrialisation, as countries move from selling primary products to making goods to sell.Competition with older, established and also bigger emerging economies might be a stumbling block initially, but the huge new market may make it possible for locally manufactured goods to compete with those imported from outside the FTA.With close to 600-million people live within the FTA, and a combined gross domestic product of $1-trillion, the region could find itself competing in the same league as the likes of China, India, Russia, Brazil, the US and the EU.The next economic frontierAnd it is becoming easier to make the world believe this, because the continent is already being touted as the next economic frontier.A glance at some figures confirms this view:Africa’s combined consumer spending was US$860-billion in 2008, and will be an estimated $1.4-trillion in 2020. With 43% of Africans currently under the age of 15, by 2040 there will be 1.1-billion Africans of working age. Urbanisation enhances growth – Africa already has 52 cities with more than a million inhabitants, more than Europe. By 2030, around fifty percent of Africa’s populationi will be living in cities. Africa’s returns on foreign direct investment (FDI) are the highest in the world. South Africa well placed to benefitSouth Africa, with its advanced and sophisticated economy, is best suited to exploit the advantages offered by such an expanded market.Already, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has rated South Africa first in the world for the strength of its auditing and reporting standards and for the regulation of its securities exchanges. The soundness of the country’s banks – rated second in the world – is an important asset these days when banks everywhere else are shaky.Add the certainty offered by the government’s recently announced National Development Plan, which sets out the country’s path until 2030, and it is clear that South Africa’s competitiveness will only be enhanced by the establishment of an African FTA.South Africa’s fellow BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – all started their upward economic trend based on huge domestic markets. With the establishment of an FTA, South Africa will have access a market 12 times bigger than the 50-million domestic customers it now has.Tough negotiations expectedHowever, the road to setting up the FTA could be a rocky one. Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has warned that negotiations over industrial policy could be tough. South Africa has just set out to implement its Industrial Policy Action Plan, and talks around the trade in manufactured goods will be of particular concern.But South Africa does have an advantage. As Davies points out, unlike exports to the rest of the world, a high percentage of exports into Africa are already made up of value-added products.Other problems would be the levels of protectionism between African countries, restrictive trade permit needs, and very obvious economic disparities.Additionally, the fact that three existing trade blocs aim to merge into one is a stumbling block as they are at different levels of integration, with different rules and regulations.All of this will be part of the negotiations that start this week.The fact remains that economic growth in all participating countries will be boosted by increased intra-regional trade. For Africa as a whole, intra-regional trade currently stands at only 12% of all cross-border trade, whereas in Asia the figure is rising toward 50%, and in the European Union towards 80%.The FTA would also be an important building block towards achieving the vision of the founding fathers of the Organisation of African Unity in 1963 – a continent-wide African Economic Union.The December talks may be the first concrete sign of Africa rising to take its rightful place in the world.Source: Brand South Africa
EDITORS NOTE: Steven C. Millwee, CPP, is president and CEO of SecurTest, Inc., a national crisis management and applicant-screening firm based in Tampa, Florida. He is author of The SecurTest System, which consists of over 220 applicant and employment questionnaires that focus on workplace violence, theft, work performance, criminal history, and current illegal drug use. He is also coauthor with labor attorney John-Edward Alley of The Threat from Within: Workplace Violence.Millwee volunteers much of his time to industry-related activities. He is currently president of ASIS International, formerly the American Society for Industrial Security International. It is from this perspective that Millwee offers his insights into the challenges and opportunities facing the security and loss prevention industry.EDITOR: As president of ASIS, tell us what that organization is all about and what it means to you to be president?- Sponsor – MILLWEE: First, let me say that being president of ASIS International is probably the most humbling experience one could go through. To have your peers in the worlds largest security organization elect you to be their president through the board of directors is an awesome opportunity that gives a volunteer leader the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy.The second aspect of being president is that it really accentuates the absolute necessity of a leader to practice the daily art of collaboration and delegation.Within our headquarters, we have over seventy employees who are extremely well-trained, competent professionals, who know their jobs well. An effective leader doesnt have to micromanage the day-to-day process in his or her organization. He needs to tap into the talents and resources that the staff brings to the table.Also within ASIS we have over 200 chapters around the world with 32,000 members. I have to appoint about 140 volunteer leaders to head up councils, to be regional vice presidents, to serve on the Professional Certification Board Foundation, and other areas of responsibility. By the time its all done, I have an army of about 1,200 volunteer leaders around the world who are willing and able to step up to the plate to serve their members. By utilizing that army of resources, the president has a tremendous opportunity to do those things that have the greatest impact for the security industry.EDITOR: How would you describe the mission of ASIS?MILLWEE: ASIS was originally founded primarily for Department of Defense security managers back in the early 1950s. The core value has continually been to provide educational resources to its members. Since September 11, we have added several additional measures to our mission. The first is to become an advocacy group before Congress and other legislative bodies as well as businesses around the world. This is to allow us to take future-focused, forward-thinking positions on issues that impact a security professional today. Thats very unusual, quite frankly, for ASIS, having primarily been an educational-oriented professional society. But thats so important in the post-9/11 world, because government and industry are looking for true experts in loss prevention, security, and every function related to those areas.EDITOR: As you know, the readership of LossPrevention magazine is primarily the LP professional in the retail, grocery, and convenience store markets. ASIS is a very broad organization. How does ASIS serve those and other vertical segments of the industry?MILLWEE: Within the structure of ASIS, we have over thirty councils that have particular areas of focus or expertise. For instance, we have a retail security council whose mission is to provide educational sessions for the retail loss prevention professional at our annual convention and throughout the year. There are also other disciplines, such as lodging, resort and hospitality, gaming and casinos, and a whole host of other councils.EDITOR: Tell us a little bit about the upcoming annual convention.MILLWEE: Our annual seminars and exhibits are September 10 13 this year in Philadelphia. It is the largest professional, educational event for security in the world today. Between exhibitors and registrants, the average attendance over the past five years is well over 15,000 and has been as high as almost 30,000. A person attending doesnt have to be a member of ASIS to take advantage of over 140 educational sessions along with other general sessions that will help that person go back to his or her constituency and begin to implement some new, innovative processes to help them in the functions of their day-to-day jobs.EDITOR: Apart from the educational sessions, what do you find valuable in attending the annual conference?MILLWEE: The second greatest value to me is that over the years, you develop a whole new network of resources where you can turn to help you in your job. A true professional doesnt have all the answers, but he does know where to find the answers. Whether its in ASIS or other similar organizations, one of the greatest values of being involved is that network of colleagues who give you that broad spectrum of outreach to find those solutions.To me, personally, I get a tremendous amount from the educational seminars, because they are conducted by the best and the brightest in our profession. We have a vetting process where we narrow down some 2,000 submissions to 140 or so sessions. We look for high-caliber speakers, who have proven expertise and new and innovative ideas that will keep the security practitioner fresh.In addition, the exhibit hall gives you an opportunity to see the latest offerings from a huge number of security manufacturers and service providers.EDITOR: Its interesting that your annual seminar this year is in Philadelphia, the birthplace of our country, and coincides with the one-year anniversary of September 11th. Has this drawn any questions or concerns?MILLWEE: Someone early on asked if we shouldnt move the convention to another week. Here was my reply. If ever theres a time for security practitioners and professionals from around the world to band together, its this week. On September 11th some thirty security officers, managers, and professionals were at their posts, doing their jobs at the World Trade Center. They were the true first responders to the acts of terrorism. They stood their ground and led thousands of people to safety while leading firefighters and police officers into all of the various facilities in the World Trade Center complex. It was by no accident that these security professionals shed their blood along with their brothers and sisters who wear uniforms. They did their jobs. They enacted their crisis management plans and as a result, saved thousands of lives that could have made a catastrophic event even worse. This will be a time in Philadelphia not only to pay respect to those who lost their lives, but also to bring a sense of camaraderie within our profession. We are truly the professionals charged with protection of people, places, and information around the globe.EDITOR: When youre not being the president of ASIS, how do you occupy your time?MILLWEE: That is probably the greatest challenge I have, because Im a basketball coach, Sunday school teacher, and chief executive officer for SecurTest,the company I founded 24 years ago. SecurTest is focused on developing biographical questionnaires to help employers screen applicants for work-related issues, such as violence in the workplace, theft, current drug use, work performance, sexual harassment, and a whole host of other bad behaviors. We have over 220 standardized questionnaires, which we also customize for our clients. In addition, I provide security consulting services, primarily in the area of workplace violence intervention or prevention.EDITOR: What is the breadth of your client base?MILLWEE: On the consulting side, we work with every type of industry segment, because workplace violence attacks everybody. A tremendous amount of the training is, of course, in the retail segment, because when you are dealing with customers, you not only have the internal threat of disgruntled employees, you have the external threat from robbery or other types of violent crimes crossing the threshold of your business.Within our testing marketplace, our core clientele falls within three primary groups convenience stores and fast foods, retail, and security officers.EDITOR: Take us back to when you first began your career and how you grew to be the CEO of your present company?MILLWEE: Well, I started out as a farm boy in Oklahoma, driving a tractor at age six. I left it running at age 17 and ran away. I think it took my dad two weeks to realize that I had abandoned the farm. Actually, I went to the FBI as a clerk right out of high school. I was with the FBI for two years before becoming an officer with the sheriff s department in Tampa. I quickly became a detective and eventually head of the unsolved murder unit working the cold-case squad and serial murder investigations.I had a tremendous friend in the sheriff s office, Walter Henrich, who along with my father were two significant mentors of my life. As a result of their encouragement, at the age of 25 I decided to start SecurTest. Initially, the firm was primarily an investigations and polygraph firm. But over the years, effective businesses have to find either a niche market or adapt to the trends in the marketplace, so that you can retool yourself to provide the types of service or products that customers will buy. Theres an old adage that if a customer is not willing to buy what you have to sell, perhaps youre not selling the right product. My father put it this way, Steve, you have to know where people itch in order to know where to scratch them. So, over the years weve evolved from the investigative organization to a more senior-level consulting firm and have carved out a nice niche for our products and testing services.EDITOR: In your view, what has been the impact of September 11 on the security industry?MILLWEE:The biggest impact Ive observed is that the highest levels of organizations, the senior executives and board of directors around the world,have a renewed focus on the security professionals job. When you talk to senior executives and ask them for their top five objectives of the year, safety and security of their employees, customers, and guests are certainly in that top five, if not number one. Those acts of terrorism that day and those ongoing acts of terrorism around the world since then, highlight one of the core needs of mankind, which is safety for ourselves and our families. Successful and effective organizations look at their employees and customers as their extended family. Providing a safe workplace has been accentuated by those acts. Executives today are now paying more attention, giving greater resources, and more opportunities for budgetary considerations to the security and loss prevention professional than, I think, has ever been seen in the history of the security industry. That requires the security professional to truly understand his or her function, and to be able to speak the language of business to maximize that opportunity.EDITOR:What about the effect of the more recent corporate accounting scandals and breaches of ethics?MILLWEE:One thing I see is that it has created the opportunity to have ethics and compliance reside where I think it should have always been, in the hands of the competent security professional. Most security professionals understand the need for a strict compliance to a code of ethics. The function of oversight has to start at the president, CEO, or chairman of an organization, but that person has to have a competent group of individuals to oversee how those ethical standards are going to be implemented down into the grass roots of an organization.We have lived for the past 10 years or so in a me generation, where society was focused on individual needs. I perceive we are now coming back to the moral principles of how we should conduct ourselves individually and as a business. The security professional has the opportunity to become more aware and educated on how to develop ethical compliance and oversight accountability within their organization. By taking on this responsibility, security executives will gain even greater visibility within their organization.EDITOR:How does anLP or security professional balance September 11 and these ethical issues with the current soft economy?MILLWEE: Its critical to know your time, talent, and resources. Within an organization of even a modest size, you have a tremendous amount of talent. The more you know about that talent base, the more you can utilize those people, not only to achieve buy-in for what you are trying to achieve, but to use them as messengers and advocates for your program. Once you have their buy-in, you can create accountability processes among your management team so that they help hold each other accountable.EDITOR: With the changes and opportunities evolving in our industry, what advice would you give young people about preparing themselves for a career in loss prevention or security?MILLWEE:There are two essential answers to that. First is find yourself a mentor. Be selective in who you let mentor you. Ive had three. First was my father. My second mentor, who had a tremendous impact on my law enforcement career, was Walter Henrich. He was very patient and would take the time to explain things to me when I was a relatively immature person in a very responsible position. The third person has had a significant influence in my ASIS leadership development. His name is Raymond Humphrey, CPP. Ray was past president two years ago and a tremendous mentor, not just of me, but to dozens of others in the industry. He possesses not only the skill sets of leadership and understanding human behavior, but he has the ability to cut through the weeds and get to the strategic level.Everybody needs mentors, whether they are coming right out of college or entering the industry as a second career. But theres a responsibility that comes with mentoring. If you are being mentored, that means you are a protge. And at some point, the protge has to take the reins and become someone elses mentor.EDITOR: Whats the second piece of advice?MILLWEE: The second is education, education, education. A true leader is not defined by what he or she knows. The true leader is defined by their desire to be on the continuum of educational development. Real leaders continually seek out educational opportunities to improve what they may already know, or to refresh their memory of what they’ve already learned. To learn new innovative ideas that help them grow. Thats the mark of a leader. If a person right out of college follows that track, they will go far.EDITOR: One of the major educational offerings of ASIS is the certified protection professional (CPP) designation. How did that come about and what does it mean for a loss prevention or security professional?MILLWEE: We have just recently added to the designation of CPP to better explain the meaning of it. We now brand it as CPP, Board Certified in Security Management. What does that mean to the average security professional? One, it demonstrates to themselves and their colleagues that they have a level of experience and proven level of competency to address the general landscape of security questions today. It demonstrates that they have devoted the time and resources to study for a very extensive and exhaustive examination. Thats very important in todays world, because there are more and more people in the marketplace who are holding themselves up as experts in security or loss prevention, but simply do not have the expertise. They are attempting to seize an opportunity because of the growth of security, and they want to jump on the bandwagon.EDITOR: Is CPP the only certification offered by ASIS?MILLWEE:Later this year or early next year, youll see two additional certifications that ASIS will introduce. One is a certification in physical security and the other is a certification in investigations.EDITOR: For those who are unfamiliar with CPP, what does it take to earn this certification?MILLWEE: You can go online to www.ASISonline.org to see the exact requirements, but you have to have a certain number of years experience in the field, which can be reduced by your higher education. Once you have the minimum amount of education and/or experience, you can sit for the exam. The test consists of roughly 200 core questions on a broad range of security and legal issues.EDITOR: Who should consider getting their CPP certification?MILLWEE:When people ask me if they should even try for the CPP, I use myself as an example. I became a member of ASIS in 1979. I did not take the CPP test until 1995. As a CEO of a corporation, I always considered the CPP something for those practitioners who have security as part of their day-to-day job. Then in 1995, I became the chairman of the Tampa ASIS chapter and found myself standing up in front of people promoting the CPP program, and, as my dad would say, You ain’t one. That gave me the motivation to study for the test.What I did was commit six months of my spare time to study the core subject matter. Because the CPP demonstrates that you have a broad understanding of the whole spectrum of security, there were areas I knew well and other not so well. For example, when it came to loss prevention issues, I felt very comfortable with my knowledge. With interviewing and interrogation, I had a good understanding because of my past experience teaching that subject to law enforcement. On the other hand, with physical security, I was clueless. That was not my expertise. So I had to spend more time studying physical security. But at the end of the day, I not only had a new appreciation for those colleagues who are physical security experts, but I was also able to develop a tremendous amount of knowledge and resources to help me when those issues come up. And those issues do come up in the day-to-day lives of a loss prevention professional. If it only gives you the ability to go find the answers, that alone will raise your star in the eyes of the management in your organization.EDITOR: Would you recommend the CPP for the retail loss prevention professional?MILLWEE: Absolutely! The loss prevention manager today really has to be a multifaceted security professional, versus just solely focused on loss prevention. An entry-level or mid-level LP professional may be mainly tasked with the day-to-day preventive aspects of implementing a loss prevention program. But certainly the upper- and senior-level professionals need to be fully versed on every aspect of security, whether it is personnel security for your employees, customers, and guests or understanding the physical security of the entire infrastructure of your organization. At least in my experience, in the boardrooms today, the senior loss prevention executive needs to not only understand the value of the apprehension side of LP, but also have a holistic understanding of securing the entire corporate organization.EDITOR: Any last thoughts before we close?MILLWEE:I just want to emphasize and encourage everyone to give back to their profession. Its easy for someone to sit in the bleachers and watch the game, either to be content with the way the game is being played or to argue with the officials, players, or coaches on the field. I would invite all loss prevention and security professionals to get into the game. We dont need spectators, we need players. We need people who are willing to give up their time, talents, and resources, as well as companies who are willing to support their security and loss prevention professionals in this endeavor. Get involved in helping make our industry better each and every day. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now
July and August is the time for a vacation. I am either at the beach or mountains, on the golf course, reading a book, or watching television. I am not thinking about writing this column. But I need to fill up the back page, so here goes with some of my favorite thoughts that may or may not have appeared before in this column.In a perfect world, life would be fair. But that is not relevant given the reality that the world we live in is not always fair. You should expect things to go your way because you have that right, but when something happens in your life that you do not like, fairness has nothing to do with it. No one is guaranteed a life of health and constant happiness. We all know of books that tell us that bad things really do happen to good people. Bad things also happen to bad people. And what is worse yet, really good things happen to really bad people. Things and people you like and don’t like are all a part of being alive.Have you ever had to face major change in your personal or professional life? Did you feel fear? A “yes” answer means you are pretty normal and in the big basket with the rest of us. I have known many really tough people I could not imagine ever being fearful of any situation, but they are. Regardless of how tough or good you are, fear is natural. I suspect that if you aren’t feeling a little fear, you are probably playing it too safe, and that should be enough right there to scare you. L’audace, l’audace, toujours l’audace.- Sponsor – Did I mention golf? Golf is a game of personal integrity and self-improvement. So much of what the loss prevention professional faces in his or her career also revolves around personal integrity and a commitment to self-improvement.The best vendor account manager I ever had was a person who was interested in my success and not just selling something. He would ask me now I was doing personally. He said “please” and “thank you.” He shared his company’s agenda and future product plans. He introduced me to others in his company, especially the bosses. He always returned my calls quickly and responded to my needs. The bottom line is there is often just a “dimes difference” in competitive products, but the little things can mean a lot in being the best.Have you ever wondered why some people just seem to get a lot of pats on the back? How do some people get a reputation for being a person who knows how to get things done? There are many LP executives who fit these descriptions. Hopefully you are one of them.It is true that your whole career will be shaped by your surroundings, by the character of the people with whom you come in contact every day. But how do you know you are with the “right” people? I use a very simple rule—they make me feel good, positive, and upbeat, and I have no fear of what they might do in our relationship. I trust them.“One piece of advice that I believe will contribute more to making you a better leader, will provide you with greater happiness and self-esteem, and at the same time advance your career more than any other advice I can provide to you. And it doesn’t call for any certain chemistry. Any of you can do it. And that advice is that you must care.” Advice from US Army General Melvin Zais of the 101st Airborne.“Making a difference in someone else’s life can be as simple as a smile, lifting a hand to help, or lending an ear to listen, especially when it might be easier to ignore the opportunity. Each day is a new day and a new chance to use what you’ve worked for and been given to light someone else’s load. It’s never too late to choose to move beyond success to significance.” Thoughts from retired US Army General Becky Halstead.Growing up, my mother would sometimes say to my brother and me, “I am sick and tired of your behavior.” She put such emphasis on sick and tired that it was disturbing and frightening, and often led to some type of punishment. There were other occasions—not as many—where she would say, “I am pleased as punch with you two.” To this day I am not sure what punch had to do with anything, but I knew it was good stuff, and she was proud of us. There is much going on in our world of loss prevention and asset protection. For me, I am sick and tired of some of it, and I am pleased as punch with other things. Overall, I think I am more pleased as punch than sick and tired. That is a good feeling.Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”Okay, I’m done. Back to vacation. I will see many of you at the upcoming Loss Prevention Foundation (LPF) Learning Day September 30th in Gainesville the day prior to the LPRC’s Impact conference or at the magazine annual meeting with RILA and LPF in beautiful Hilton Head Island, SC, October 23–25. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now