Washington, DC - In an interview conducted at the ATN studios on K Street, Ambassador Dr. Erieka Bennett (left) Head of Mission for the African Union (AU) Diaspora African Forum (DAF) – Accra, Ghana and Dr. Arikana Chihombori, M.D. (right) – International Chair have shed light on a timely intercontinental initiative that is actively engaging the African Diaspora in the redevelopment of the African continent.
“… Our effort is to primarily encourage Diaspora participation, we are not saying everybody come back but we are saying everybody look back…There are two types of Diaspora, those of us taken from slavery and then continental Africans who move for work, study or greener pastures and this is an invitation to both groups…”
Dr. Bennett went on to explain how her mission is facilitating Africa’s social and economic redevelopment through youth development, educational programs, capacity development and infrastructural initiatives.
The Diaspora African Forum mission is the first of its kind in the world. It is accredited with diplomatic status by the Government of Ghana and supported by the African Union. The African Union recently charged her to establish 10 other missions in Africa. Currently it is the only diplomatic Diaspora mission that sits on the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the African Union. The Mission is based on the W. E. B. Du Bois Centre compound in Accra, Ghana. DAF’s partners include the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), The African Communication Agency, USAID, Plan International and the Japanese Entrepreneurs and Presidents Association.
Ambassador Dr. Erieka Bennett who founded the Mission in Ghana was in the United States to receive the Africa Leadership Congress Transformational Leader Award on September 21st, speak at the Leon H. Sullivan Forum in Atlanta and attend the DAF’s international board meeting that appointed Dr. Arikana Chihombori as the International Chair.
Dr. Arikana Chihombori, M.D.
In her interview the newly appointed International Chair for the Diaspora African Forum Dr. Arikana Chihombori, M.D. expressed her concerns about fragmentations in the African Diaspora community and described them as counterproductive to development. She promised to work to foster strategic collaborations between various Diaspora groups and address ignorance that exists between both Americans and Africans about each other. Zimbabwean-born Dr. Chihombori moved to the United States 33years ago with a U.S. funded educational scholarship. She is married to a Ghanaian-born physician, owns 5 clinics between her and her husband and is a mother of 5 children. She is involved in family practice in Tennessee and is a good example of a successful emigration story.
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