African Union Day Celebration Background
African Union Day Foundation is an initiative which was founded in July 2006 to promote the celebrations of Africa Day and African Union Day in the Diaspora.
This promotion includes but is not limited to the sponsoring of investment, social, educational, sports, and cultural programs outside of the continent. An annual African Union Week has been designed to showcase the cultural, social and economic activities of Africa in New York Metro area.
After the first African Union Day Celebration, which was held on July 9, 2006, a group of concerned Africans living in New York assumed discussions on the importance of promoting African Union’s activities in the Americas. After several consultative processes with community & religious leaders, business houses, politicians, policy makers and elected officials, the African Union Day Foundation was formed.
The African Union Day Foundation, has worked with New York City elected officials to pass in the New City Council a resolution declaring September 9 an African Union Day in New York and this has been celebrated annually in New York City ever-since. African Union Day Foundation organizes this celebration to showcase and represent Africa and its potential to global community.
The membership to the African Union Day Foundation is free and open to all organizations that are beneficial to the continent and honors the ideals of African Union and its priories.
More often than not, the continent of Africa has been known to be the place of disease, poverty, hunger, strife, wars and economic underdevelopment. The media, researchers and other foundations that are doing great work on the continent disseminate most of this information. The way Africa has been portrayed in the Americas and other developed places worldwide has motivated many individuals and organizations to establish a lot of philanthropic initiatives that are currently raising millions of dollars to meet the needs of Africa. While these efforts cannot go unappreciated and unrecognized, the trend to represent Africa as a place of untold suffering has propagated a lot of ill interpretations from investors and other individuals who do not have sufficient knowledge about Africa.
The African Union (AU) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) are the continental structures of the whole continent that are propelling the economic, social, cultural and other developmental aspects of the continent forward. These initiatives are rarely talked about in the Americas. There are several other structures that have closely worked with the international community to take Africa’s Development to greater heights. However, the effort by such structures is always overshadowed by information that is discouraging and detrimental to economic development both in America and in Africa.
Most of Africa’s precious resources like diamonds, gold, emeralds and copper are shipped out of Africa and are made into finished products and overseas hence helping the international economy to grow. There are other animate and inanimate resources from the continent of Africa that have brought about significant progress to the outside world.
For so many years, the African Continent fought for political freedom and Africans are politically free. Without a full understanding of the continent and consistent dialogue about the real Africa, Africans, both on the continent and in the Diaspora, will always be deprived of economic freedom
It is against this backdrop of information that the African Union Day initiative seeks to address. Until the Africans celebrate and showcase their activities on the continent, there will be ill-conceived perceptions from individuals and organizations that are not familiar African Continent.
The First Celebration.
The first Africa Union Day Celebration was held on July 9, 2006 in the Borough of the Bronx in New York. It was attended by families from various African countries residing in New York Metro area, along elected officials and community leaders.
A parade was also successfully conducted and it created a momentum for Africans to gather for the Africa Trade Fair at the Bronx Court House Rotunda in September 2006.
The Africa Day Resolution in the New York State Assembly was sponsored by Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn and it was passed unanimously. The first official celebration in Albany took place on Friday, May 25, 2007 with the presence of Mrs. Mirriam Omala-Gauvin from the African Union Secretariat to the United Nations. Mrs. Marie Dembele Bore was the coordinator between the AU Secretariat and the African Union Day Foundation during those deliberations in 2007.
The African Union Day Committee has to date discussed with some elected officials, community leaders and Organizations working with the African Diaspora.
Objectives of the African Union Day Celebration.
• To provide information about the continent of Africa and its activities.
• To promote unity among the African Diaspora and people of the African Decent.
• To establish open economic, social and cultural forums through which the people can get more information about the continent of Africa.
• To celebrate the African heritage and unity on the continent and in the Diaspora.
• Promote the work of the African Union and its developmental programs such as the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.
Activities of the Celebration.
The people from the continent living in the tri-state and the public gather to celebrate Africa. Activities of the celebrations include the cultural, economic and social presentations, as well speeches from African diplomats, elected official in New York City, academicians, entertainers and others.
Expected Outcomes of the Celebration.
– To bridge the information gap about Africa and the way it is perceived.
– A developed understanding about Africa.
– Dismantled cultural barriers that hinder social and economic development.
– To create a model of African unity that will create a benchmark on people of African descent from other states in the Americas.
The Africa Day and African Union Day celebrations set a pace for linking Africa to the rest of the world. Development in today’s world requires the physical interaction of different cultures in order to find practical solutions and initiatives to engage in the issues of the third world. These celebrations create the required platform that is needed to enhance and to promote the cultural, social and economic aspects of the continent of Africa.
P.S. African Union Day Foundation is a private organization founded by Africans in the Diaspora and it is not a subsidiary of The African Union.