Tony Blair to Join President Ernest Koroma at Africa-America Institute Celebration of Sierra Leone

September 16, 2011

(NEW YORK, NY) September 16, 2011 – The Africa America Institute will bestow its AAI African National Reconciliation and Peace Award on the People of The Republic of Sierra Leone at its 27th annual Awards Dinner Gala. The event will take place this coming Tuesday, September 20th, 2011 at 7 pm at The Light House at Chelsea Piers.

The award recognizes the remarkable strides that Sierra Leone has made in the almost 10 years since the end of the 11-year civil war that killed and maimed thousands and all but destroyed its formal economy. Sierra Leone has gone from being considered “the worst place on earth” to becoming an exemplar in the region for post conflict transition. In particular, Sierra Leone has made revolutionary strides improved its maternal health care services, reducing both maternal and infant mortality rates.

His Excellency, President Ernest Bai Koroma will attend the dinner in person to accept the award on behalf of his fellow citizens. Former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair will also be in attendance. Mr. Blair has strong ties to Sierra Leone and his Africa Governance Initiative is heavily engaged in promoting good governance and sustainable economic development across the Continent.

Critically acclaimed actor Jeffrey Wright, who stars with George Clooney and Ryan Gosling in the upcoming film The Ides of March, will serve as the Chairman of AAI’s Awards Gala Sierra Leone Business Investors Committee. Mr. Wright is the co founder of Taia Lion Resources, a mining company promoting responsible investment practices, notably in Sierra Leone.

In addition and in keeping with its theme of “Generations of Positive Leadership, Giving Back to Africa”, AAI will honor Sierra Leone’s Minister of Health and Sanitation, the Honorable Mrs. Zainab Hawa Bangura, with the AAI Distinguished Alumna Award. Mrs. Bangura, who also served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2007 to 2010, is well known for her commitment to democratic governance and transparency.

The event will be emceed by Femi Oke, the New York Public Radio special correspondent and former CNN International anchor. This year’s corporate sponsors include Chevron and Tiffany & Co. Entertainment will be provided by Bajah + The Dry Eye Crew, known for standing-room only performances at the Sierra Leone National Stadium and for contributing music to the Academy Award–nominated film Blood Diamond,

For further information and reservations for AAI’s 27th Annual Awards Dinner Gala contact AAI at (888)483-0653 or aai@benefitoffice.org or visit benefitoffice.org/aai

For press inquiries contact Shanta Bryant Gyan at  (646) 290 8211 or shanta@sbgcommunications.com

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