AU Diaspora African Forum Hosts Leading Diaspora Women

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In a historical move, the African Union Diaspora African Forum (AU-DAF) has recently hosted leading women representatives of the African Diaspora who are currently attending the various preparatory meetings, events and consultations being held in the wings of the 2016 AU Summit at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa.
The inter generational Diaspora group, most of whom are attending the AU Summit and its various preparatory events for the very first time, were hosted by the Head AU-DAF Mission, Her Excellency Ambassador Dr. Erieka Bennett (USA/Ghana) and AU DAF Liaison to the AU, Dr. Desta Meghoo (Jamaica/Ethiopia).
According to the Ambassador, “This is an historical moment for us – to have women representatives of the African Diaspora participate in the AU Summit and for us to come together as a Diaspora group to support gender initiatives promoted by the AU”.
During the dinner meeting, it was agreed that AU-DAF and the participating Diaspora groups would form a coalition aimed at enhancing Diaspora contributions and involvement in the deliberations of the AU towards the development of the African Continent.
As a starting point, Ambassador Bennett and AU-DAF Mission have agreed to collaborate with Diaspora groups to host a Parallel Diaspora Summit during the AU Summit, which is scheduled to take place in June 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Diaspora groups have participated in the various Pre-Summit Events including the Gender Pre-Summit Meeting of African Ministers Responsible for Gender Affairs; the GIMAC (Gender Is My Agenda) Consultative Meeting; as well as the 6th Citizens Continental Conference; and the UN Women CSW60 Consultative Meeting, all of which are being held ahead of the Heads of Government 2016 AU Summit.
“As the African Diaspora, it is our duty and obligation to participate in the deliberations of the AU and its affiliated events, as well as the development of the continent”, said Justina Mutale, African Woman of the Year 2012 and Founder & President of the Justina Mutale Foundation for Leadership based in the United Kingdom.
The group of African women based in various parts of the world, included Justina Mutale (Zambia/UK); Bokwey Burnley (Cameroon/USA); Dr Mimi Claudine Watt (Cameroon/Australia); Bwalya Mwali (Zambia/Belgium); Fatoumata Diallo (Guinea/UK); Tandi Pilani (Zimbabwea/UK); Rainatou Sow (Guinea/UK); and Juliette Nijimbere (Burundi/Belgium).

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