"I'm here to talk about Ghana's rise," said President of Ghana John Mahama to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council on Thursday, October 1st. "To your ears that might sound like a simple 15 minute speech," he said. "To my ears it's like being asked to provide a detailed synopsis of war and peace...I say this to be a bit cheeky." Unlike many of his neighboring countries who for long stretches of time have been engaged in civil war, Ghana has never experienced civil war - though there were periods of time when it appeared that, as Mahama said, "We were at war with our own purpose." He said that "in many ways it is easier to understand and appreciate Ghana's rise, if you know its fall."