- The 2-day conference kicked off with a vibrant and powerful speech from Honorable Sereste, Botswana Ambassador to the U.S. Her speech covered a wide range of topics - from youth to women's rights, from standards of democracy to health, and from tolerance to independence. She literally took the audience back to "school", using the blackboard in the room to illustrate key points.
- Following Hon. Sereste's speech, participants broke up into 6 different brainstorming sessions and tackled key issues facing the continent of Africa. The report-back of these brainstorming sessions was moderated by Jackson Mvunganyi of Voice of America. The brainstorming sessions were:
1) Africa's growing middle-class: Is it a myth or reality? (facilitated by Hafiz Juma and Zoe Gadegbeku)
2) Is the African diaspora in a bubble? Do we direct conversations about the continent or on the continent? What is our real role? How grounded are our ideas about Africa? (facilitated by Solome Lemma and Neyat Daniel)
3) Africa's tech boom - Can Africa use technology as a crutch to leapfrog in development? (facilitated by Tsega Belachew, Elen Walom, and Huda Ibrahim)
4) Online initiatives/products/services: Are we limiting our base by focusing strictly on those with access to the internet? (facilitated by Nosarieme Garrick and Naa Adejeley Kome)
5) How does dependency on foreign aid in Africa either cripple or enhance healthcare systems? (facilitated by Leila Yosef and Nancy Oduro)
6) How can African female leadership successes be converted to success amongst women in rural areas? What does empowerment of African women mean not just for Africa but the world? (facilitated by TMS Ruge).
- The lineup of speakers was impressive, though due to Hurricane Sandy, a few were trapped in NY and couldn't attend in person.
- Kwame Andah, Co-founder of Coders4Africa
- Mohammed Touré, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of SEADiaspora
- Zachary D. Kaufman, Author, Speaker and Social Entrepreneur