The Diaspora African Forum celebrates one-decade milestone
BY LOU SIFA
The Diaspora African Forum (DAF), an initiative endorsed by the African Union which serves as a platform for Blacks in the Diaspora to return to Africa or make substantial contributions at home in Africa, is celebrating this July a decade of bold accomplishments while looking to the decade ahead.
The organization was officially inaugurated on July 7, 2007 by then-Ghanaian president John Kufuor and then-chairman of the African Union and previously president of Mali, Alpha Oumar Konaré. Scores of distinguished guests from the Diaspora attended the historic event. DAF was established on the historic W.E.B. DuBois Center land grant generously provided by the government of Ghana to the African Diaspora, with protocols signed by the current president of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, during his term as Ghana’s minister of Foreign Affairs.
A UNIQUE DIPLOMATIC MISSION
The Diaspora African Forum is the brain-child of Dr. Erieka Bennett, a dedicated African American bridge-builder who serves as the organization’s first head of mission. Bennett totals decades of first-hand involvement in Africa as a businesswoman, a top-grade africanist, a media leader, a consultant, a women’s advocate, and more. DAF enjoys full diplomatic status granted by the government of Ghana, which makes it the only Diaspora mission in the world with an Ambassador At Large with full capacity and mandate to engage with the Ghanaian government on Diaspora-related matters benefiting both Ghana and the Diaspora. The organization flies three flags: its own flag, the flag of the African Union and that of the Republic of Ghana.
The Diaspora African Forum salutes Ghana’s long-established engagement in Pan-African matters and commitment to its own Diaspora and to African integration, which have encouraged several other African countries to embark on the same mission. DAF says it is proud to have worked closely with the government of Ghana, the African Union, and civil societies in Ghana and worldwide toward the return of members of the Diaspora to Africa or their making substantial contributions at home in Africa. The organization extends its deep appreciation to all the partners in this endeavor, at a time when sustaining anything for a decade is difficult.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
To kick off its second decade, The African Diaspora Forum plans to participate in the Diaspora Homecoming Summit 2017 scheduled in Accra, Ghana, which will center on important exchange of information, experiences and strategies for a substantial Diaspora engagement in Ghana and on the continent at large, thanks to an outstanding list of invitees, presenters and participants. This is expected to be a significant opportunity for the Ghanaian government to meet and interact with Diaspora individuals and institutions with shared goals and strong commitment to furthering existing initiatives, while exploring new ideas and approaches to re-integration.
In addition to the Summit, there will be a gala awards banquet on July 8 at the Kempinski Hotel where selected Ghanaian Diaspora individuals contributing to Ghana’s development and positive image will be honored. President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana will be honored for the unyielding support he extended to DAF ten years ago.
Ghana’s Diaspora Homecoming Summit 2017 will coincide with the Decade of DAF celebration events and visits to Ghana, starting on July 5 and 8, by delegations from the United States, the Caribbean, Europe and Columbia. DAF says it’s “honored to celebrate the Decade of DAF with the people and government of Ghana, as Ghana also celebrates 60 years of independence and proclaims July as The Diaspora Month.”