Word from the President – Fall 2015

Kajunju Award profileDear Friends,

In New York City, the crisp weather and changing colors of the tree leaves signals the start of the fall season. AAI has entered into this season with a chock full of new initiatives and possibilities!

In early-September, educators and innovators from Africa and the U.S. gathered in Lagos, Nigeria for our 2nd Annual State of Education in Africa conference to assess the progress of education at all levels and identify opportunities and challenges in education in Africa. The daylong education conference, which was co-sponsored by The Ford Foundation and with support from the World Bank, generated spirited discussions on topics ranging from teacher training, early childhood education, science and technology, as participants heard from experts in the field on practical approaches to transforming Africa’s educational system. Attendees left the conference energized and inspired to apply the knowledge gained into their local educational context.

Our Awards Gala with the newly minted name “Future Leaders Legacy Fund Awards Gala” was, once again, one of the most high profile events celebrating African achievement during the U.N. General Assembly. Some 300 distinguished U.S. and African leaders and top diplomats gathered to raise funds for the Legacy Fund and recognize 2015 Honorees H.E. Hage Geingob, president of the Republic of Namibia and AAI alumnus, who received the AAI Lifetime Achievement and Distinguished Alumnus Award; Dr. Strive Masiyiwa, Zimbabwean technology entrepreneur and philanthropist with the AAI 2015 Business Leaders Award; and IBM with the AAI 2015 Corporate Responsibility Award. Read highlights from the gala here.

We have officially launched the Future Leaders Legacy Fund. This is a new scholarship fund which provides Africa’s smart, yet under-resourced, students with scholarships to study in high-performing African universities and technical colleges. Our inaugural partners are Ashesi University in Accra, Ghana; United States International University (USIU-Africa) in Nairobi, Kenya; and UNISA – The University of South Africa in Pretoria, South Africa.

The Legacy Fund seeks to raise $2.5 million to enable 300 students to receive an excellent university education in Africa. Our Scholars are motivated, high-achieving students, who are the first in their family to attend university. We have selected our first cohort of scholars for this school year. Meet a selection of our Legacy Fund Scholars, who are now embarking on their future paths with confidence and commitment. Please join us in supporting Legacy Fund! Learn more here.

Last year at this time, West African countries were still grappling with the fast spreading scourge of the Ebola virus. For the #GivingTuesday campaign in the month of November 2014, we made a call for help to rebuild Liberia’s health care system by providing scholarship funds for William V.S. Tubman University’s Nursing Program, which is located in Harper, Maryland County in Liberia. You heard our call and raised $5300 to pay for full tuition and fees plus room and board for a four-year nursing degree student at Tubman University. There is a spotlight on our scholarship recipient in this newsletter and you can view his video thanking us for supporting his college education.

AAI is participating in the 2015 #GivingTuesday campaign to encourage people to give back during the holiday shopping season. Stay tuned for more details on the campaign.

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,

Kajunju signature

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

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