For two days, the African Ambassador Group hosted the 2016 African Day Celebrations in Washington, DC. This year’s event, themed “African Year of Human Rights with Emphasis on the Rights of Women,” brought together over 900 guests, representing 54 African member states at a gala evening of food and entertainment, co-chaired by H.E. Omar Arouna, Ambassador of the Republic of Benin and H.E. Professor Hassana Alidou, Ambassador of the Republic of Niger. Video link of gala- https://youtu.be/N0_FoFAPTS8
For the attendees, the spectacular gathering of African states, which celebrated the establishment of the Organization of African Unity, proved to be a long-time dream come true. After years of hard work, they have achieved what Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it is done.”
“Our dream for unity in Africa for our 1.2 billion people is finally being realized,” Ambassador Arouna and Alidou said. “What is happening today, by bringing together the huge continent of Africa, after considerable hard work, is the dream which our forefathers once had when they first began to seek African unity and lead the continent into the global world. We have made enormous strides and Africa today is home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world.”
According to Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr., the dream must not end there. “We must move to make the world more secure and aware of the crimes against humanity. Like the French, we must have a slavery day,” he went on to say. “It is only through truth that we will be set free.”
The two-day event began with a panel discussion on Wednesday May 25th at the Woodrow Wilson Center and ended with a Gala Friday evening, May 27th at the JW Marriott hotel. The spectacular gala was emceed by Fox 5 Anchor Maureen Umeh and Voice of America Africa 54 Anchor Vincent Makori.
Rousing remarks were delivered by special guests, including the Rev Jesse Jackson, Sr., Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and Mamadou Samba, DC Mayor Office of African Affairs. Attendees had the opportunity to sample the gastronomic flavors from across Africa, prepared by award-winning Cameroonian chef Jean Chrysostome Olama Mballa, the Executive Chef for the IMF. Anna Mwalagho, “Mama Africa,” an internationally recognized actress, comedian and storyteller, received a standing ovation. Guests enjoyed the excellent music of Jomion & the Uklos of Benin and jumped to their feet to dance with Meiway, a flamboyant exhuberant singer from Cote D’Ivoire.
Representatives from the 54 African Union member states were in attendance to promote their countries. Many were dressed in colorful and traditional dress to add to the festive and celebratory ambiance of the event.
This event was sponsored by Chevron, DDFS of New York, Coca-Cola, Wilson Center, Exxon/Mobil, Sahouri, and Charles Collin Champagne. H.E. Serge Mombouli, The Ambassador of the Republic of Congo and the Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps to the United States presented videos highlighting the development, progress, and opportunities available today in Africa.
SOURCE African Ambassador Group