New York, NY: 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 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Senegal’s founding as an independent republic.
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 NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock, NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP Chairman Emeritus Julian Bond, who will be joined by Rev. Jesse Jackson, , 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.
“The NAACP is honored to lead the U.S. Delegation to Senegal to celebrate 50 years of independence." stated NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. “W.E.B. Dubois helped establish the NAACP 101 years ago and was committed to strengthening human rights and addressing the needs of people throughout the Africa Diaspora. On this monumental occasion, we will continue DuBois' Pan-Africanism mission when we visit with President Wade to address the plight of Africans around the world and partner with him to achieve the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The NAACP salutes President Wade's leadership of Senegal over the past ten years and celebrates his vision for the future of Africa, spoken of so eloquently at our Centennial Convention in New York last summer,” added Brock.
“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.
“Issues affecting people throughout the African Diaspora affect all communities across the globe. I applaud President Wade for his stewardship in bringing all parties to the table to discuss and foster a working relationship to address these issues that quite frankly, profoundly affect all of mankind. The NAACP looks forward to continuing this partnership with President Wade, the people of Senegal, and all committed leaders and nations to address the importance and challenges of all people throughout the Diaspora to achieve human rights, dignity, fairness, and equality,” added NAACP President and CEO Jealous.
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.
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