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Africa Day

Africa Day 2011 Celebrated Around the World

UPF chapters around the world organized celebrations of Africa Day, May 25, 2011.

New York, USA

More than 600 top dignitaries from the African Union (AU) and the United Nations, NGOs, their families and friends gathered for the 48th celebration of Africa Day at the Manhattan Center in New York on May 31, with the innovative theme “Africa and the Diaspora” recognizing the contributions of tens of millions of Africans now living outside their native homeland.

“Our celebration is a special one as we also celebrate the Year of People of African Descent,” said AU Ambassador to the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Téte António, host of the event. “We have joined in a very exemplary partnership with UPF to draw attention to what we at the African Union call the ‘Sixth Region’ of Africa, the African Diaspora.”

A statement from the Chair of the African Union H.E. Mr. Obiang Nguema Mbasogo was presented by Amb. Anatolio Ndong Mba of Equatorial Guinea. “It is my greatest hope that Africa as a whole utilizes rationally the enormous natural resources which it has been endowed by God Almighty for the benefit of all the people, and that this wealth be shared,” he said.

“Africa represents a real force at the United Nations,” said H. E. Mr. Joseph Deiss, the President of the UN General Assembly. “My recent visits tell me that Africa is not only reshaping our global agenda, Africa is indeed at the heart of our global agenda, our challenge as well as our hope for a better tomorrow.” The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was represented at the event by his Chef de Cabinet, Mr. Vijay Nambiar.

“We are proud of the deliverables from our partnership with the AU,” said Taj Hamad, UPF Secretary General. “UPF has introduced groups of donors who traveled to Africa and pledged their support for the eradication of sleeping sickness, and pledged to build one thousand schools throughout Africa. Construction of several schools is already underway.”

H.E. Mr. Raymond Wolfe, Ambassador of Jamaica and Chair of the Permanent Memorial Committee to Honor Victims of Slavery, spoke about the transatlantic slave trade, one of the defining episodes in the history of the African Diaspora, and the plans for a slavery memorial at the UN. Wolfe said that it would honor the millions who lost their lives and would be a visible symbol of the world’s resolve that nothing like that should ever happen again.

After all the speeches and ceremonies were concluded, Mrs. Mirriam Omala-Gauvin of the AU, the emcee for the evening, invited the expectant crowd to enjoy a feast of food and entertainment. “Africa is known for its diversity,” she said, “and this is definitely true for its cuisine and culture as well!” Following the meal, the evening was given over to celebration, with performers Africa and the Caribbean warming up the audience for an evening of dance.

Kathmandu, Nepal

The College of Journalism and Mass Communication organized the first-ever African Film Festival in Nepal beginning May 23, running for three days and ending on the African Union’s Africa Day program. UPF Nepal supported the festival along with the International Association for Women in Radio and Television, the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt, and the Honorary Consul of South Africa.

An interesting cross-section of Ambassadors, members of the Nepalese government, filmmakers, journalists, and students of journalism and film attended the inauguration held at the Russian Cultural Center in the capital and as many as 400 people came to see different films.

Nine films from six African nations were selected: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia. The Nepal Francophonie Society supported by sending many of the films. There was also one film from Nepal.

Hon. Agni Sapkota, the Minister for Information and Communication, was the chief guest at the program. He noted that films have the ability to bring about powerful social changes, more often than economic and political factors.

Hon. Ek Nath Dhakal, a Member of Parliament, explained how this festival relates to his nation’s current political situation: “We are going through a very critical transitional period in our nation,” he said. “There is something we can learn about the quest for peace from these films from Africa.”

Although there are less than 100 Africans living in Nepal, nevertheless, this three-day program brought Africans together to celebrate the culture of their continent.

Accra, Ghana

A rally at the Labone Senior High School in Accra explored causes of conflict and stimulated interest among the school’s diverse Christian, Muslim, and Hindu students.

Tbilisi, Georgia

Young people from Cote d’Ivoire worked with local students to clean up an area along the Black Sea and afterwards shared about the problems of racism that they have experienced. The Georgians were interested in African culture, and the Africans expressed interest in working on social projects together with Georgians in hopes that it will increase mutual understanding.

Pesaro, Italy

People supporting projects in Africa talked to students at the Scientific Lyceum in Pesaro about strategies for achieving the Millennium Development Goals in nations of Africa.

Moscow, Russia

The First Youth Festival of National Cultures, organized by the Moscow State Construction University and the Moscow State University of Culture and Art, took place on May 26, to promote a “culture of goodness and the policy of unity and harmony.” International students from African countries won second prize for their native costumes and dances.

Biel, Switzerland

Diaspora Africans living in Switzerland organized a forum in Biel on ways they could contribute to peace in their native nations. People from 12 African nations planned the event, brought traditional food and dress, and sang and danced. This event stimulated better understanding and collaboration among African people who might not otherwise meet and learn to know each other.

Quito, Ecuador

A delegate of the National Secretariat of Peoples, Social Movements and Citizenship of the Cabinet of the Republic of Ecuador addressed a gathering in Quito about the social challenges faced by Afro-Ecuadorians. Lic. Catherine Cholá Angulo encouraged everyone to make efforts to eliminate discrimination and share with Ecuadorians the beauties and diversity of Africa’s cultures.

Tel Aviv, Israel

Certificates were given to ambassadors from African nations recognizing their efforts to work for reconciliation in their nations.

Brazzaville, Congo

UPF-Congo organized a forum on Africa Day; speakers included a former official of the African Union.

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