The scandal emerged when it was revealed that most of the 21 girls and 82 boys were from Chad, and had relatives who were still alive. During their trial in the Chadian capital N’Djamena last year, the aid workers said they had been tricked into thinking the children were from the troubled Sudanese province of Darfur.The six have since been returned to France to serve out their jail terms.

When, I wondered, was the last time this country was guided by such a leader? Someone whose moral center was un-embargoed? Someone with courage instead of mere ambition? Someone who truly thinks of his country's citizens as "we," not "they"? Someone who understands what it will take to help America realize the virtues it fancies about itself, what it desperately needs to become in the world?

"Choosing to use the United States as the stage to recognize these men and women and organizations who are working to bring the continent at par with the rest of the world is deliberate on our part since the world is given the opportunity each year to witness Africa's best and brightest showcased under the same roof. The African Times and our partners in painstakingly selecting these eminent persons who are not only Africans by birth but those who have contributed to the uplift of the continent's profile never forget that it is the responsibility of the Africans themselves to re-write their stories and change the Western media stereotype of their homeland."

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