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|Africa Reshaping Global Agenda: Africa Day in New York City|
|Tuesday, May 25, 2010|
New York, United States - In a speech delivered at the New York City celebrations of Africa Day, May 25, 2010, hosted by the African Union in partnership with the Universal Peace Federation, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that peace and sustainable development in Africa was one of the world body’s top priorities, and he outlined a major personal effort that takes him to the continent no less than three times in the coming weeks.
“By consistently reminding the international community of its responsibility to the most vulnerable, and affirming that we are all members of a global family of nations, Africa has helped to reshape the global agenda,” he said. “That partnership continues, and every UN entity is working closely with African partners to tackle internal strife, attempts at unconstitutional changes of power, violence against civilians—especially women and children, the challenges of youth unemployment, and the burdens of disease, climate change, and food insecurity.”
In June, the Secretary-General visits a Millennium Village in Malawi to assess first-hand progress being made towards the Millennium Development Goals. “The evidence is encouraging,” he said, “and suggests that when we make real efforts, we can succeed. But if we don’t, we fail. We must do more, and we will.”
A message was read on behalf of the President of the UN General Assembly by H.E. Mr. Michel Tommo Monthe, Ambassador of Cameroon, Vice-President of the General Assembly and Chair of the Africa Group for the month of May. “Africa is moving to the center stage of efforts for peace,” he said.
Next to speak was H.E. Mr. Téte António, Permanent Representative of the African Union. “As we join with the nations celebrating their 50th Anniversary of Independence,” Ambassador António said, “it is also time to strategically assess the challenges and opportunities facing our continent, especially with regard to the twin issues of peace and security.”
Mr. Taj Hamad, Secretary General of the Universal Peace Federation, spoke about the role of the family in creating a world of peace. “Some look for happiness through wealth and fame, others through fun and parties,” he said. "But if we learn in our families to live our lives in service to others, we will see the face of God in each other, and live happily and peacefully.”
After the celebration cake was cut, the more than 600 guests in attendance turned their attention to an amazing and festive banquet featuring food from all 53 African nations, prepared with a great deal of care and attention by respective members of the UN African Ambassadors' Spouses Group, whose President, Mme. Désirée Juliette Tendeng Badji, also addressed the gathering.
The growing role of Africa as a sporting power was another theme of the evening, with several speakers looking forward to the upcoming FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Africa has an unprecedented six teams competing in the world’s biggest sporting event.
“By presenting sport as a powerful instrument for peace promotion, we would like to reassert our faith in the values inherent to sports which are consonant with universal values," said AU Chairperson Jean Ping, in written remarks read by Ambassador António.
Later, the Hestiun Group announced a donation of 53,000 of its OXYPEN portable water-purifying systems, 1,000 units to each nation in Africa in support of its World Water Day commitment to help the UN bring clean water to families all over the world.
As the evening continued, the Manhattan Center resonated with the sounds of a musical journey across Africa with songs from Senegal, rhythmical drum beats of Nigeria and Ghana, dances from Egypt, Rai music from Algeria, griot singers from Mali, and and many, many more. It was a worthy celebration of the contributions that Africa has made and is making to the world.
UPF Worldwide Africa Day Celebrations: In Moscow, UPF joined the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Africa in a conference on “Africa Day – 50 years of Freedom.” In partnership with one of the largest Russian interethnic NGOs, the Assembly of the Peoples of Russia, UPF then celebrated Africa Day in the House of the Peoples of Russia in a joyful program attended by many African ambassadors. Other UPF celebrations took place in Washington DC, and as far afield as London, Montreal, Stockholm, Delhi, and Kathmandu.
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