Saturday, October 9, 2010

African Union Diaspora African Forum

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…”

Ambassador Dr. Erieka Bennett

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.


Accra Mission
P.M.B 42 Kotoka International Airport
Accra, Ghana
Tel: +233 302 780923
Fax: +233 302 780218

U.S. Offices
519 Enon Springs Rd. E.
Smyrna, TN 37167
Tel: + 1 615 504 7177
Fax: + 1 615 895 6860

Monday, October 4, 2010

Historic Pictorial Book On U.S. - Nigeria Relations Launched

October 1, 2010 - Bolger, Center - Potomac, Maryland

Immediate Past U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria H.E. Robin R. Sanders (2007-2010) launched a book commemorating 50 years of U.S. and Nigeria relations in a ceremony marking Nigeria's 50th independence Anniversary. The Book " The United States & Nigeria: Celebrating 50 Years of Friendship & Progress In Pictures" was commissioned by Nigeria's Ambassador to the United States H.E. Prof Adebowale Adefuye (pictured below) and published by AMIP News. In his remarks AMIP News's Frederick Nnoma-Addison who authored and published the book stressed the importance of publishing a book that unveils the ties between the United States and one of Africa's greatest nations.

L-R: H.E. Robin Sanders, Frederick Nnoma-Addison (Author/Publisher), Beryl Nnoma-Addison (Editor)

The book's cover shares a historic 1961 photograph of President J.F. Kennedy with Nigeria's first Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. The book is available at

H.E. Prof. Adebowale Adefuye

The Foreword to the book (below) was written by Nigeria's Foreign Minister Honorable Odien Ajumogobia, SAN, OFR

Today October 1, 2010, Nigeria celebrates her 50th independence anniversary from the United Kingdom. As captured creatively and vividly in this book, it is amazing to reflect on the levels of collaboration and interaction between Nigeria and the United States since that 1st day of October in 1960. As Nigeria and the United States celebrate 50 years of friendship and progress, we also look forward into the next half century with experience, optimism and faith, hoping that our unique stories captured and presented in this medium will inform, educate and inspire similar triumphs around the world. Between a historical road map and a reference book for individuals or institutions with interest in Nigeria - U.S. relations, this book captures and shares 50 years of bilateral relations in a very refreshing and soft way and I am extremely proud of Nigeria’s role in this epic.

In April this year Nigeria signed a Bi-National Commission Agreement with the United States with special emphasis on Energy, the Niger Delta, Good Governance and Food Security. This new agreement is only symbolic of the current cordial relationship Nigeria shares with the United States and we cherish this new opportunity. While Nigeria is proud to have signed this agreement with President Obama’s administration, our relationship with the United States has not always been this good. You will soon find out that significant portions of our 50 years were characterized by high tensions, strained relationships and even uncertainty between numerous administrations. To the credit of both nations and their resilient citizens, we have jointly overcome major international stand-offs and are able to call each other friend and partner.

During my most recent official visit to the United States this year I had the opportunity to interact with thousands of Nigerian-Americans. I learned about their contributions to the world’s greatest economy and found several parallels between theirs and the contributions of American citizens and corporations in Nigeria. Since then I have become even more confident about the future of the relationship between not just our governments but our people. Nigeria is grateful for the partnership and friendship of the United States and looks forward to increased cooperation on all levels in the coming years and decades.

50 years in a nation’s life calls for both celebration and introspection and this book helps us achieve both. As we observe this milestone, my thanks goes especially to my staff here at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja, the Nigerian Embassy staff in the United States, Secretary Hillary Clinton and the U.S. State Department including U.S. Embassy staff in Abuja and Lagos for their tireless efforts in overseeing this relationship. On behalf of President Goodluck Jonathan, the Government and People of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I wish you a memorable viewing and reading experience. Long live Nigeria - U.S. relations!