WASHINGTON, D.C.–Last weekend’s 50th Anniversary of the Independence of Senegal is scheduled to be one of the most internationally observed ceremonies by the African nation. And the leader of America’s largest minority journalism organization was in the nation on a mission.
National Association of Black Journalists President Kathy Times was in the ranks with African presidents and prime ministers as well as representatives of the NAACP, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, and many other U.S. organizations in the capital city of Dakar for the independence celebration ceremonies. Some of the festivities include symposia, special exhibitions, parades, performances, and the dedication of the 150-foot-tall African Renaissance Monument. Tens of thousands of spectators are expected to gather in Dakar on April 3-4 for the anniversary observances.
It will be President Times’ first visit to Africa.
“This is an incredible opportunity to further the goals of NABJ, and meet individuals who can help NABJ pursue unique global partnerships,” said Times.
While overseas. Times plans to meet with Senegalese and other West African journalists to discuss ways that NABJ could help support journalists and advance journalism on the continent.
NABJ has a long history of working in Africa. Through its partnership with the United Nations, NABJ’s World Affairs Task Force has organized reporting trips to Africa, and elsewhere, over the past two decades for hundreds of NABJ members.
Under the auspices of President Abdoulaye Wade, the events in Senegal focused on the future of Africa and place particular emphasis on how all African states can work together to foster support the economic, cultural, social and political well-being of the entire continent.
The commemoration began for the American delegation on Friday, April 2, with a visit to Goree Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its historic link to the slave trade.
The African Renaissance Monument was dedicated on Saturday, April 3, in an event focusing on the theme of a United States of Africa, an objective endorsed by the African Union for realization in 2017. The man, woman and child depicted in the monument symbolize the strength and promise of an Africa that will grow, flourish and experience a renaissance of culture, economic prowess, innovation and achievement.
During the celebration, President Wade took part in a three-way dialogue that touched on the African Diaspora, engaging in conversation with North America and Europe. Representing the Americas will be NAACP CEO and President Benjamin Todd Jealous. Europe will be represented by Alain Jakubowicz, President of the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism.
At the heart of this vision are the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs offer a platform for progress in ending poverty and hunger, reaching universal education and gender equality, improving child and maternal health, ensuring environmental sustainability, drastically reducing the impact of HIV/AIDS and creating a global partnership for development – all by 2015.
“I am sure that the historic visit by this prestigious American delegation will strengthen ties between the United States and Africa, and reinforce African efforts for sustainable human development, bearing in mind the efforts of UNAIDS and its partners in working to reverse the AIDS epidemic,” said Dr. Djibril Diallo, Chair of the U.S. Leadership Committee for the World Festival of Black Arts (FESMAN) 2010. Along with chairing this Committee, Diallo organized the U.S. delegation, is Senior Advisor to the Executive Director of UNAIDS, and co-chairs the NABJ World Affairs Task Force along with John Yearwood, World Editor, The Miami Herald.