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Senegal

American delegation to take part in Senegal's
Celebration of 50 years of Independence
and unveiling of the
African Renaissance Monument
 

Heads of state and key representatives of the African Diaspora to join three-day celebration of the future of Africa "It is the destiny of Africa, after four centuries of incomprehensible conflict and turmoil, to now become a continent united by the best of human achievement, cultural excellence, prosperity, security, peace and progress." -- Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal, 2010

March 31, 2010

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 achievement.

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 Anti-Semitism.

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
 

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