The Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, met with Diaspora Leaders at the State Department on Tuesday, June 30 2015. About 30 Diaspora leaders, including Yours Truly were invited to the beautiful State Department building to discuss and brainstorm on ideas for strengthening the impact of Diaspora in the implementation of US – Africa policy and programs. Those invited to attend represented a wide cross-section of stakeholders representing NGOs and Advocacy groups, private sector, faith-based organizations, and others. Melvin Foote, the President of the Constituency for Africa (CFA), served as the moderator. Mr. Foote was quite pleased with the meeting. Said Foote, “It is great that the Diaspora can have such an intimate discussion with the Assistant Secretary for African Affairs inside the State Department. Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield truly understands the potential of the Diaspora in impacting in Africa, and wants to bring that talent to bear. We are already talking about follow-up discussions aimed at strengthening and deepening Diaspora engagement with Africa”!
Here is the message I sent to the amazing Ms. Nicole Peacock who organized the meeting:
“First of all, I will like to say a very big thank you for organizing the African/African Diaspora working group meeting with Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield. I truly hope we can have this interaction with her and among ourselves at least once every quarter or at the very least twice a year. I think this type of group is what will ensure that the US-Africa policy is alive, that African change makers work together and most importantly that we can break this African immigrants vs. African-American divide that keeps holding us back. Since many of us feel the pulse of our communities back home, we are in good positions to informally advice the U.S. government through this interaction on policies that will truly benefit our communities. I can honestly go on and on about how much I gained in less than 2 hours especially the partnerships that I am now forming, but I am sure you get the point already.”
Some Photos from the event….