With performances, symposia, special exhibitions, parades and the
dedication of the 150 foot high African Renaissance Monument, tens of
thousands of spectators will gather in the capital city of Dakar on April
3 - 4.
Representatives of the NAACP, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, and many other U.S.
organizations will be among many heads of state, artists, intellectuals
and activists in attendance. Among prominent Americans taking part will be
Rev. Jesse Jackson, Benjamin Todd Jealous, Roslyn Brock, Dr. Julius W.
Garvey, Dr. Maulana Karenga, Dr. Lonnie Bunch, Rev. Herbert Daughtry,
Randy Weston, AKON, Richard Gant, Sen. Anthony C. Hill, Sen. Rodney Ellis,
Constance Newman, and Debra Fraser-Howse.
Under the auspices of President Abdoulaye Wade, the events will focus on
the future of Africa and place particular emphasis on how all African
states can work together to foster and support the economic, cultural,
social and political well-being of the entire continent. At the heart of
this vision are the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The MDGs offer a platform for progress in ending poverty and hunger,
reaching universal education and gender equality, improving child and
maternal health, ensuring environmental sustainability, and creating a
global partnership for development – all by 2015. The celebration of
history, arts and culture are at the top of the agenda, and while the MDGs,
including the priority of drastically reducing the impact of HIV/AIDS,
help define the challenges of fulfilling this inspiring vision of the
destiny of Africa.
“I am sure that the historic visit by this prestigious American delegation
will strengthen ties between the United States and Africa, and reinforce
African efforts for sustainable human development, bearing in mind the
efforts of UNAIDS and its partners in working to reverse the AIDS
epidemic,” said Dr. Djibril Diallo, Chair of the U.S. Leadership Committee
for the World Festival of Black Arts (FESMAN) 2010, which organized the
U.S. delegation, and Senior Advisor to the Executive Director of UNAIDS
(the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS).
The commemoration will begin for the American delegation on April 2nd with
a visit to Gorée Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its
historic link to the slave trade.
On Saturday, April 3 a colloquium of African writers and intellectuals
will examine and debate the enormous promise of the African Renaissance.
The event is organized by Professor Iba Der Thiam, one of the authors of
the UNESCO History of Africa project, and will highlight the role of art
and cultural in promoting human development.
Later in the day, the African Renaissance Monument will be inaugurated in
an event focusing upon the theme of a United States of Africa, an
objective supported by President Wade and endorsed by the African Union
for realization in 2017. The man, woman and child depicted in the monument
symbolize the strength and promise of an Africa that will grow, flourish
and experience a renaissance of culture, economic prowess, innovation and
During the celebration, President Wade will take part in a three-way
dialogue that touches on the African Diaspora, engaging in conversation
with North America and Europe. Representing the Americas will be NAACP CEO
and President Benjamin Todd Jealous. Europe will be represented by Alain
Jakubowicz, President of the International League against Racism and
Sunday, April 4 will be devoted to commemorations of Senegal’s 50th year
of independence, will be highlighted by the appearance of heads of state,
prime ministers and guests from around the world attending parades,
cultural events, and festive public ceremonies.
The ideals expressed in the independence celebrations will also be
reflected in the World Festival of Black Arts 2010 (FESMAN 2010) scheduled
for December in Senegal. The arts are a vibrant manifestation of Africa’s
enormous potential, and musicians, performers, artists, historians will
come from Africa and all corners of the world to take part.
The exhibits, performances, symposia, celebrations and the inauguration of
the spectacular “African Renaissance Monument” will mark 50 years of
Senegal’s independence and will look towards to a unified, dynamic Africa
in 2017 and the years to come.
Richard Leonard, Communications Adviser, UNAIDS