Word from the President – Fall 2014

Amini_Reflections_10_01_2012Dear Friends,

After a whirlwind month of September with two major events, the changing of seasons from summer to fall presents us with a tremendous opportunity to reflect on and assess all of our events and training programs, to date, and begin planning for 2015.

In September, we hosted our inaugural State of Education in Africa conference and 30th Annual Awards Gala in New York City.

Nearly 120 educators and innovators gathered at the Ford Foundation for AAI’s inaugural Annual State of Education in Africa conference where engaging panels discussed the progress of education at all levels in Africa and explored innovative approaches to strengthening the capacity of Africans and educational institutions. We heard a keynote speech from Patrick G. Awuah Jr., Founder & President of Ashesi University College in Ghana, who challenged attendees to think deeply about the concepts of scholarship, leadership and citizenship as key pillars to transform the education system on the continent. I had the privilege of interviewing Tade Akin Aina, program director of Higher Education and Libraries in Africa at Carnegie Corporation of New York, for a 15-minute fireside chat on emerging issues in the education pipeline in Africa.

Once again, we celebrated African achievement and were inspired by honorees at our 30th Annual Awards Gala, held on September 22 at Gotham Hall in New York. AAI’s Awards Gala continues to be one of the most high-profile Africa-focused events in New York during the UN General Assembly. The 2014 honorees were H.E. Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire; Vivienne Yeda, Director-General of the East African Development Bank (EADB); AAI Alumnus Thandika Mkandawire, a leading scholar and researcher on African development and Chair of African Development at the London School of Economics; and General Electric. Read highlights from the gala here.

Yet, as we celebrate our successes, the scourge of the Ebola virus continues to ravage West Africa at a quickening pace. While there’s good reason for fear and uncertainty, African nations are working in partnership with the global health community to respond to this emergency and build better and more efficient healthcare system in the countries affected. We can only hope that a strengthened health care system will lead to improved quality of care, so future pandemics will be stopped in their tracks. Trained health care professionals and community health workers are needed more than ever. AAI will submit a proposal to the Nippon Foundation to train frontline health workers and administrators on epidemic prevention and management in Liberia. We will keep you updated on our efforts.

We hope you will stay engaged with AAI. Be sure to become a fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.


All the best,

Amini Kajunju, President and CEO of The Africa-America Institute


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