African Union Diaspora African Forum (AU DAF) Historical Liaison With Leading Women Of The African Diaspora
In a historical move, the African Union Diaspora African Forum (AU-DAF) hosted leading women representatives of the African Diaspora who are currently attending the various preparatory meetings, events and consultations being held in the wings of the 2016 AU Summit at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa.
The intergenerational Diaspora group, most of whom are attending the AU Summit and its various preparatory events for the very first time, were hosted by the Head AU-DAF Mission, Her Excellency Ambassador Dr. Erieka Bennett (USA/Ghana) and AU DAF Liaison to the AU, Dr. Desta Meghoo (Jamaica/Ethiopia). The group of African women based in various parts of the world, included Justina Mutale (Zambia/UK); Bokwey Burnley (Cameroon/USA); Dr Mimi Claudine Watt (Cameroon/Australia); Bwalya Mwali (Zambia/Belgium); Fatoumata Diallo (Guinea/UK); Tandi Pilani (Zimbabwea/UK); Rainatou Sow (Guinea/UK); and Juliette Nijimbere (Burundi/Belgium).
"This is a historical moment for us - to have women representatives of the African Diaspora participate in the AU Summit and for us to come together as a Diaspora group to support gender initiatives promoted by the AU", said Ambassador Dr. Erieka Bennett.
Ambassador Bennett hosted a dinner meeting with the Diaspora group at the Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa on Wednesday 20th January 2016, where it was agreed that AU-DAF and the participating Diaspora groups would form a coalition aimed at enhancing Diaspora contributions and involvement in the deliberations of the AU towards the development of the African Continent.
"As the African Diaspora, it is our duty and obligation to participate in the deliberations of the AU and its affiliated events, as well as the development of the Continent", said Justina Mutale, African Woman of the Year 2012 and Founder & President of the Justina Mutale Foundation for Leadership based in the United Kingdom.
The Diaspora groups have participated in the various Pre-Summit Events including the Gender Pre-Summit Meeting of African Ministers Responsible for Gender Affairs; the GIMAC (Gender Is My Agenda) Consultative Meeting; as well as the 6th Citizens Continental Conference; and the UN Women CSW60 Consultative Meeting, all of which are being held ahead of the Heads of Government 2016 AU Summit.
"In order for Africa to realise its aspirations of Agenda 2063, the input and contributions of the African Diaspora are critical. We have to be part of the equation", said Reverend Bokwey Burnley.
As a starting point, Ambassador Bennett and AU-DAF Mission have agreed to collaborate with Diaspora groups to host a Parallel Diaspora Summit during the AU Summit, which is scheduled to take place in June 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda.