Meet the people behind the scenes at AAI
President & CEO
A native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ms. Kajunju is the first African to ever serve at the helm of The Africa-America Institute (AAI), the oldest nonprofit organization of its kind in the United States.
Ms. Kajunju joined AAI in October 2012 from the New York-based Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO), a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate, train and inspire under-resourced entrepreneurs in the Tri-State Area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, where she served as executive director for 10 years. Under her leadership, she bolstered the organization’s programming and served more entrepreneurs than any other institution of a similar size in New York City.
Prior to WIBO, Ms. Kajunju served as a program manager at the International Executive Service Corps (IESC), an organization providing free consulting services to businesses in developing countries. At IESC, Ms. Kajunju recruited and managed U.S. volunteer experts who assisted small- to medium- businesses in the fisheries, clothing, and mining industries in Southern Africa.
An entrepreneurial leader with strategic, fiscal, organizational and mentoring skills, Kajunju interned at the Center for Humanitarian Outreach & Intercultural Exchange, and The Carter Presidential Center.
Kajunju is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Innovation Council, a trustee of Walnut Hill School of the Arts, and is a founding member and Vice-President of the Board of ANGELAFRICA, a nonprofit organization whose mission seeks to build a network of business and professional leaders and promote economic growth in Africa. She was honored as “Advocate of the Year” at Applause Africa’s African Diaspora Awards 2013 and was named Forbes’ 20 Young Power Women in Africa 2013.
She holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in International Relations with an emphasis on economic development from Brigham Young University and a Masters degree in Public Administration with a concentration in finance and management from New York University.
Ms. Kajunju assumed the role of AAI President and CEO on October 1, 2012.
Office of the President
Executive Assistant and Corporate Affairs Officer
Mikako Tai joined AAI as Executive Assistant in Fall 2011. She provides direct programmatic and administrative support to the President & CEO, and is involved in the planning, organization, and execution of “all things AAI.” As Corporate Affairs Officer, Mikako manages information and work flow, and effectively manages all requests from the Office of the President. Mikako is the go-to person for all AAI stakeholders, including the Board of Trustees, sponsors, partners, program beneficiaries, and staff in both Africa and the U.S.
Mikako graduated from Wesleyan University with honors in the College of Social Studies (CSS). Her childhood admiration for the African continent led Mikako to pursue a lifelong interest in working on African issues. She lived in Kenya for six months immersing herself in local cultures and conducting fieldwork in the rural parts of the Swahili coast. A native of Japan with extensive international experience, Mikako is a firm believer in the mission of AAI and enjoys working there with her globally-minded colleagues. She speaks Japanese, Kiswahili, and Mandarin and is open to learning other languages.
Omoy S. Lungange
Omoy S. Lungange is the Office Manager at the Africa-America Institute, with responsibility for research development, vendor relations and administrative duties assigned by the Office of the President. She also assists with organizing the digital archives and event planning activities. Creative and a passionate advocate for the growth of Africa within the global community with emphasis on sustainable development and educational betterment, one of her greatest assets is her ability to connect with people. Ms. Lungange possess a strong interest in strengthening human capacity, as well as, the patience, dedication, motivation, and multicultural sensitivity needed to achieve great results. Ms. Lungange earned an M.A. in International Affairs from Milano the New School for International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy.
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- Finance & Administration – Kiwi Partners Inc.
- Development and Strategy – Brian McGinley, Greenvale Strategies
- Transformational Leadership Program – Melissa Howell, Social Impact Design Studios
- Government Affairs Representative – Austin Cooper
- Communications and Media – Shanta Bryant Gyan, SBG Communications
- AAI Future Leaders Legacy Fund Gala – Dorothy Davis, Diasporan Touch
- AAI Future Leaders Legacy Fund Gala – Aaron Consulting
- State of Education in Africa conference – Vanessa Wakeman, The Wakeman Agency