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T.I. Hamad: Statement at the Celebration of Africa Day

Statement at the celebration of Africa Day in New York, June 26, 2013

Tageldin Ibrahim Hamad

Thank you for coming to this special celebration of Africa Day and the 50th anniversary of the Organization of the African Unity/ African Union, with a theme dedicated to Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance. Your presence brings great dignity and value to tonight's celebration.

It is my high honor to have this opportunity to share a few words with you this evening.

I have only the greatest admiration for all those who serve the African Union, especially Ambassador Téte António. Moreover, my great respect to the Permanent Representatives of all African Member States to the United Nations. My sincere appreciation to the United Nations African Ambassadors Spouses Group, who helped assure the success of tonight's program, particularly in the preparation of the delicious African cuisine. 

On behalf of the Universal Peace Federation's Co-Founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, and President, Dr. Thomas Walsh, let me say that UPF is deeply committed to our ongoing work in Africa and proud to work with the African Union for the celebration of Africa Day. This is the third year of our partnership. It is a relationship that has been meaningful, uplifting and productive.

The work of UPF is dedicated to the promotion of peace. We understand peace very broadly, as including not only the cessation of conflict between nations but also the establishment of positive, harmonious relationships on all levels of human society. Thus we seek to create peace within the family, the community, the society, the nation, and the world, and among governments, religions, cultures, and civilizations. Moreover, peace is not the exclusive responsibility of governments; after all, each one of us has a role to play, in our families, our neighborhoods, our places of work and worship, our nations, and the world.

We Africans are a unique people, and we have our own proud history. African peoples have known times of unbearable suffering and times of triumph and victory. One of our greatest strengths is our unity. This is why the African Union is so important. It represents the pan-African vision of our being one family, sharing a common destiny. At the same time we recognize that we are all members of the whole human family as one global human family under one God.

I want to mention three areas that I believe are of special importance to our theme of Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance. These are education, the family, and interfaith dialogue.

I believe that education of the heart and intellect, the strengthening of marriage and family, and interfaith dialogue and cooperation are essential in developing an African Renaissance. Renaissance means rebirth. This concept of rebirth has been used to describe a new outburst of intellectual and artistic creativity, and, at the same time, it is commonly used as a term to describe a spiritual awakening. I believe both are necessary and equal parts of an African Renaissance.

As Africans we face a time of great opportunity. The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Dr. Nkosozana Dlamini Zuma, declared at the 50th Anniversary Celebration in Addis Ababa that, "This is Africa's time." 

Today US President Barack Obama is scheduled to be in Africa. Also former US President George W. Bush is going to be in Africa this week. Last month the Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China, H.E. Wang Yang, was in Africa.

This month a $32 billion budget was announced at the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development. Forbes magazine reported in the June special issue that Julian Robertson, the billionaire and founder of the most successful hedge funds ever, said, “If I were younger, I would be investing in Africa.” It seems that the whole world is coming to Africa. 

This is a very positive development. 

Tonight, allow me to say to all my African brothers and sisters congratulations! We have come a long way, but we have only just begun. Let us work together to make sure this moment of unprecedented opportunity leads to the peace and development we all desire.

I thank you for your participation in this program, and look forward to our ongoing collaboration for peace and human development throughout all of Africa and the entire world.