Africa Day 2014 was commemorated yesterday with a range of opinions, music, and dreams in 43 Lancaster Gate, Universal Peace Federation's UK Headquarters. Co-hosted by Pauline Long and Robin Marsh with Mr Ahmed Shebani from Libya, Charlotte Simon from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Pauline Long from Kenya the evening provided a variety of insights and dreams of the current and potential Africa. Event Photo link
The Universal Peace Federation is a partner with the African Union to commemorate Africa Day. A video introduction to UPF included a clip of an event in Manhattan that featured the UN Secretary General in last years Africa Day celebration.
Roucheon and her husband Femi, a Zimbabwean and Nigerian couple, (photo above) were inspirational, singing first 'African Queen' then were later invited to entertain with spontaneous rap that engaged the audience in the rhythym. From a Nigerian background, Justified Prince sang 'Let's Get Married' in a demonstration of his talent and ability. Love Royelle by Roucheon has been released on the UK Charts.
Points stick in my mind from the evening such as Ahmed Shebani's vision for Libya, 'The Arab Spring has not failed. Libya will be a model of democracy.' He recounted tragic events of exploited refugees desperately attempting to get to Europe through Libya. Pauline Long's repeated phrase, 'Africa is not a project.' Tatiana Giraud's 'African nations need a strong rule of law and healthy civil society' in order to achieve development. William Nkata's empahasis on cooperation between the righteous people of Africa and the modern day William Wilberforces in the West to counter the corruption and exploitation of African resources and people. Charlotte Simon's explanation of the plight of the people of DRC especially when the rule of law and institutions of governance are so weak. Many emphasised the power of corruption, often with the complicity of wealthier nations or huge corporations, to curtail dreams and exhaust the passion needed to develop the African continent.
Pauline Long is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, fashion designer, motivational speaker, music video director with over 25 awards. Founder of Europe's biggest award for black and ethnic personalities in entertainment, film, fashion, television and arts- BEFFTA. Named African woman of the year in UK and listed in Black Women in Europe Power List. She's a TV presenter on The Pauline Long Show SKY 182. (More)
Ahmed Shebani: Founder of The Democratic Party of Libya
He is a civil engineer, politician and human rights activist. He is a respected Libyan dissident from the city of Misurata and a Libyan affairs specialist. He is the founder of the Libyan Freedom & Democracy Campaign. This political campaign has been a catalyst in igniting the 17th of February Libyan revolution on the virtual world. However, the Libyan Freedom & Democracy Campaign as a civil society movement has given birth on the 14Th of July 2011 to the first political party in Libya following the outbreak of the Libyan revolution. It is called the Democratic Party. It is the only secular political party. It is actively calling for the establishment of a secular democracy in Libya with the direct political help of the UN.
Charlotte Simon - Bongumba, Founder of Mothers of Congo
Charlotte Simion Bongumba is a Trustee of the Tatiana Giraud Foundation whose aim is to actively contribute to the restoration of women, girls, communities & families that have been victims of sexual violence in the north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Foundation works closely with grassroots organisations, treating and counselling victims while raising awareness of their plight in local communities. It aims also to financially support hospitals in the more remote or less developed areas of the Kivu region in the DRC to provide various treatments including healthcare, psychological treatment, temporary housing, as well as job training programmes for victims. Charlotte founded Mothers of Congo to promote awareness of the plight of the mothers of DRC and in particular those in eastern DRC who have suffered greatly while trying to raise their families. (www.mothersofcongo.org)
Robin Marsh: International Efforts to Curb Conflict Minerals. (Presentation)
Together with partners, UPF - UK, has held a series of conferences in UPF-UK HQ, in the UK Parliament and in the European Parliament about 'Conflict Minerals'. Looking with interest to the June 2nd US Stock Exchange Commission deadline for listed companies to report on supply chains' effectiveness to provide 'conflict free' minerals.
Photos courtesy of Andy Johnson