One could literally witness the degree of enthusiasm and hopefulness trend up sharply in the assembly of pan-african enthusiasts who were addressed by H.E. Dr. Arikana Chihombori Quao at the African Union Town Hall in Atlanta on April 23rd, 2019.
The tone for the evening was set with the vibrant sounds of African drums followed by soaring renditions of the African Union anthem and the Negro National anthem.
In his welcome remarks, Kwabena Boateng, Founder/Co-President Of African Diaspora Nation - organizers of the African Union Town Hall - and Georgia State Co-Chair of the African Union Diaspora Health Initiative said the evening was an epoch in pan-African history.. “this visit of Ambassador Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao is happening 400
years after the first enslaved Africans arrived in English America..it is happening in the
middle of the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent(2015-2024), and in a year - 2019 - in which all 55 nations in the African Union have passed a resolution recognizing 400 years and encouraging African governments to adopt policies to facilitate re-integration of the African diaspora in Africa's drive for development.”
Mr. Boateng also mentioned that Ambassador Quao’s life journey thus far has prepared her for such a time as this..“she is the first HBCU graduate to serve as African Union Ambassador to the United States and Caribbean; she is firmly rooted in the core of African culture..she has had an immersion experience in the HBCU culture of Fisk University and Meharry Medical College; she has thrived as a successful healthcare entrepreneur in the capitalist economic system of America..she possesses the ethos of a mindful caring physician; these experiences have given her a crystal clear synthesis of thought that makes for the compelling voice needed to galvanize the African Diaspora."
H.E. Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao took the podium a little after that and immediately run through a list of historic African Union achievements in the last couple of years including the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, progress on The Protocol for the Free Movement of people and the appointment of an African Union Special Envoy for Infrastructure, Mr Raila Odinga. She highlighted that these achievements are indicative of an African Union awakened to it’s mission and thus deserving to be taken seriously by all stakeholders - especially the African Diaspora. Perhaps the most impactful moment of her presentation was when she asserted that the diaspora in the US was key to African integration and development: “you know integration in the USA..bring that integration back home ..to put it simply.. I was sent here to bring you back home...organize for opportunity and development in Africa or else the vacuum you leave will be filled by other interests who are strategizing and circling to make the most of your inheritance.”
Rodney J. Littles was one of those who came to the event pessimistic about what will come out of the Town Hall, but at the end of the night his comments.. “was very moving... I felt like history was being made at this event; the African Diaspora is building a bridge across the middle passage back home; I always wanted to play a part but felt overwhelmed as to where to begin..now there is clarity with Ambassador Quao’s Initiative.”
Ambassador Dr.Arikana Chihombori-Quao together with Dr. Joe Beasley — an icon in the Civil Rights Movemen—inaugurated a Georgia State Interim Steering Committee to
further the mandate to organize and structure the African Diaspora within the state; it is Co-chaired by Amirah Ansaar, President of the African National Chamber of Commerce and Mr. Kwabena Boateng, Founder/Co-President of African Diaspora Nation.
In the next few days and weeks running up to Africa Day on May 25th, Africa stakeholders in Georgia can expect to be invited to webinars and zoom meetings geared to inform, engage and mobilize in one of the most ambitious outreach efforts by Africa to harness the human and intellectual capital of the African Diaspora for development.