Happy Holidays from AAI

Dear Friends of AAI,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and Staff of the Africa-America Institute, we would like to wish you a safe and healthy holiday season. As we wrap up the year, we wanted to share with you some highlights of what we have been able to accomplish with your support. Next year marks our 70th year of working to enrich the social fabric of humanity by connecting students and leaders across sectors, facilitating access to reliable information about Africa, and transforming the way we all understand Africa and its worldwide diaspora. 

We hope that you consider including us in your year-end giving and look forward to what 2023 brings and your continued engagement on this critically important journey. 

Yours in partnership,

Kofi Appenteng


2022 A Year in Review

AAI’s 38th Annual Awards Gala

Perhaps our proudest achievement was the return to an in-person annual awards gala for the first time since 2019. Taking place on the 20th of September at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City, the night was a wonderful celebration of the contributions and achievements of afro- descendants both on the continent and throughout the worldwide diaspora. We had the privilege to award the people of the Republic of Botswana with the National Achievement Award, presented to President Masisi on behalf of the People of Botswana. Furthermore, we were able to present Dr. Solomon Assefa with the Science and Technology Leadership Award, Mahen Bonetti with the Ambassador for African Cinema Award, and Betty Kibaara with our Distinguished Alumni Award.

School Services Program

This year we were also able to continue progress with our School Services Program, focusing on K-12 education in predominantly black schools across Southeast Michigan. The aim of this program is to provide students with the culturally rich education on Africa and its diaspora that has been severely lacking in the current US school syllabuses. Furthermore, we have been able to extend this program to include a summer program to further enrich the education of Detroit area students. This summer, we were able to accommodate 30 students in 5th, 6th, and 7th grade in our program. These students received a thoroughly enriching learning experience based on ancient and medieval Africa. In 2023 we look forward to continuing the expansion of the program across Southeast Michigan schools and summer school programs.

The Road to Ghana – Connecting the Diaspora

Aside from our programmatic and fundraising achievements, we have also had the privilege to host a series of salon dinners under the theme of Connecting the Diaspora. The dinners brought together a cross-sector of leaders interested in collaborating to advance solutions that address economic, education, and health disparities existing throughout Africa and its worldwide Diaspora. The theme of the series “Connecting the Diaspora” reflects AAI’s mission of serving as a bridge between Africa and the United States to promote enlightened engagement on issues of common concern to Africa and its worldwide Diaspora. Funded by a MacArthur Foundation grant as part of their Equitable Recovery Initiative, the salon dinners were being held across the United States in Houston, Los Angeles, and Detroit, culminating in a trip to Accra, Ghana.

The Global Circle for Reparations and Racial Healing

With the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and a cohort of grantees under the Equitable Recovery Initiative, AAI helped form the Global Circle for Reparations and Racial Healing. As part of the Global Circle we put together the Juneteenth National Forum: Building a Culture of Repair held in Washington D.C.. Additionally AAI’s President joined fellow cohort members at the Reparations & Racial Healing Convening hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center at Lake Como Italy with all of these events culminating in the Advancing Justice: Reparations and Racial Healing Summit held in Accra, Ghana in August of 2022. The Summit was co-hosted by the African Union, the Africa Transitional Justice Legacy Fund, AAI and Global Black, and was held to examine options for addressing gaps in the global discussions and interventions on reparations. Serving as an opportunity to leverage existing initiatives and to bring on board strategic conversations, the summit explored the possibility of harnessing various interests and aspirations from across the globe.

AAI’s Response to the Ukraine/Russia Conflict

Early in 2022 AAI, in partnership with the staff at the MacArthur Foundation, raised money for African Students who were caught up in the Russia/Ukraine conflict. Supported by a MacArthur Foundation matching grant, AAI raised money for People of African Descent Link (PADLink), an organization based in the Netherlands focused on addressing the needs of PAD communities. With the support of our partners, we are also laying the groundwork for a scholarship program to assist African students who have been displaced and unable to continue their studies due to the conflict.

The Intersection of Culture, Tech and Art

In early December, AAI partnered with Mosaic Genius for “Connecting the Diaspora: The Intersection of Art, Culture and Tech”. The brunch event, sponsored by Silicon Valley Bank, was held on the side-lines of Art Basel in Miami and brought together a multitude of African individuals from sectors such as art, finance and philanthropy. 
Hosted by Erik More of Vase Ventures and Tosh Ernest of Silicon Valley Bank, the event featured speakers, Barbara Lyayi, CEO and Founding Partner of Unicorn Growth Capital and Ike Echero, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Constant Ventures as we discussed the importance of ensuring inclusion in the global innovation economy.

2023 & Beyond

AAI’s 8th State of Education on Africa Conference

On January 20th AAI will virtually host our 8th State of Education on Africa Conference. Under the theme “Africa, the Global Climate Crisis, and Reparations” participants in this year’s conference will explore the scholarly integrity and pedagogical value of centering Africa and its worldwide Diaspora in K-12 educational materials, curricula, and instruction on the global climate crisis.  Register Now!

AAI’s 70th Anniversary Awards Gala

AAI will celebrate its 70th year of enriching the social fabric of humanity by connecting students and leaders across sectors, facilitating access to reliable information about Africa, and transforming the way we understand Africa and its worldwide diaspora. To mark this momentous occasion, AAI’s Annual Awards Gala will celebrate our 70th Anniversary and feature our most distinguished alumni including those who are currently serving as Head of State. To be held on Tuesday, September 26th, 2023, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York, we do hope that you will be able to join us. Sign up here for more information and to be notified when tickets and sponsorship become available.

Thank you again to all of those who have supported us over the last year. Whether sponsoring our Annual Awards Gala, attending our events or giving in support of AAI, we are proud to be on this journey with you and look forward to an exciting 2023. 

Stay in touch, sign up for our newsletter, join us on social media or reach out to Jourden Warren at jwarren@aaionline.org if you have any questions.


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