AAI Washington Wire: Spring 2015

News from AAI’s Washington, DC Office

By Austin Cooper

Austin Cooper croppedSince 1953, AAI has monitored and helped to shape the political, social and economic developments across Africa. The recent peaceful presidential election in the Federal Republic of Nigeria demonstrated the strength of that country’s commitment to democratic principles. By turning out in large numbers and sometimes waiting all day to cast their votes, Nigerians came together to decide the future of their country peacefully.

AAI commends President Goodluck Jonathan and President-Elect Muhammadu Buhari for their public commitments to non-violence throughout the campaign. Indeed, President Jonathan placed his country’s interests first by conceding the election and congratulating President-Elect Buhari on his victory.

Our Government Relations office is expanding its presence in Washington, D.C. to keep a pulse on the continent’s development progress and to influence U.S.-Africa policy. On Wednesday, March 25, 2015, close to 80 African Ambassadors, African embassy representatives, officials of the U.S. government, and friends and supporters of AAI gathered at the law firm of Norton Rose Fulbright in downtown Washington for the “Meet & Greet” Reception. The purpose of the Washington reception was to: meet AAI CEO Amini Kajunju and AAI Trustees; learn about AAI priorities; make connections; and to find out how to support AAI and become part of its network.

Guests at AAI's Washington "Meet & Greet" reception.

Guests at AAI’s Washington “Meet & Greet” reception.

All had a good time. Attendees were particularly excited to learn more about the Future Leaders Legacy Fund. However, what was especially exciting about the gathering was the opportunity for AAI President Kajunju, AAI Trustee Steve Pfeiffer and other AAI representatives to reconnect with former AAI alumni and supporters who traveled to the event from as far away as New York and Pennsylvania. With over 23,000 alumni worldwide, many now hold senior level positions in government in Africa. The newly-elected President of the Republic of Namibia, His Excellency Dr. Hage Geingob, is an AAI alumnus, and an example of how AAI continues to shape leadership on the continent. AAI extends heartfelt congratulations to President Geingob and wishes him much success!

AAI would also like to commend President Obama on his recently announced plans to travel to this summer to the Republic of Kenya. The President will travel to Kenya in July to co-host a forum on entrepreneurship as part of an effort to support economic development in Africa. It is also expected to build on last year’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, held in Washington, D.C.

Finally, please note that AAI’s Conversations on Africa (COA) Series will be held on Wednesday, April 29. The forum, entitled Financial Aid for African Students: Challenges, Risks and Solutions,” will take place from 8:30-10:00AM in B-339 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Register Now! Plans are also underway for another COA that will take place in July 2015 in Los Angeles, California, on “Reforming Science and Technology Education in Africa: Is Africa the Next Tech Success?” Stay tuned!

Stay in touch! In Washington, I can be reached at (202) 550-1149 or email, austinrcooper@gmail.com.


Austin R. Cooper, Jr. is AAI’s Government Affairs Representative



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