Africa-America Institute Hosts Future Leaders Legacy Fund Awards Gala

AAIs Distinguished guest, Sierra Leonean born Mahen Bonetti, Executive Director, founder of New York African Film Festival,  enjoys dinner at Africa America Institutes Future Leaders Legacy Awards Gala
AAIs Distinguished guest, Sierra Leonean born Mahen Bonetti, Executive Director, founder of New York African Film Festival, enjoys dinner at Africa America Institutes Future Leaders Legacy Awards Gala

While the United Nations was executing the second day of its 70th General Debate, an estimated 300 distinguished guests including African and US leaders and top diplomats came together to celebrate The Africa- America Institute’s (AAI) 63rd Anniversary Awards Gala and the inauguration of its Future Leaders Legacy Fund.

This breathtaking and galvanizing event hosted by Zain Asher of CNN International’s ‘Marketplace Africa’ at the exclusive 583 Park Avenue in Manhattan featured a Gala Honorees and VIPs Red Carpet, Cocktail Reception, Dinner and a heartwarming performance by acclaimed East African vocalist and songwriter Somi backed by a Jazz Quartet.

This year’s honorees include Namibian President and AAI alumnus Hage Geingob with the AAI Lifetime Achievement and Distinguished Alumnus Award; Strive Masiyiwa, Zimbabwean technology entrepreneur and philanthropist with the AAI 2015 Business Leader Award and IBM with the AAI 2015 Corporate Responsibility Award.

President Geingob, a leader in Namibia’s liberation movement credited AAI for his success, which he said helped him become the man he is today because of an undergraduate studies scholarship the institute awarded him in 1964. He recounted during his acceptance speech how his “thirst for education” was the reason why he walked for five days from Namibia to Zambia to travel to the United States to study at Fordham University. “Don’t take your education for granted,” cautioned President Geingob.

From right: Mrs Geingob, President Hage Geingob, Amini Kajunju-President & CEO Africa-America Institute &  Strive Masiyiwa - Zimbabwean technology entrepreneur and philanthropist
From right: Mrs Geingob, President Hage Geingob, Amini Kajunju-President & CEO Africa-America Institute & Strive Masiyiwa – Zimbabwean technology entrepreneur and philanthropist

According to AAI, the Future Leaders Legacy Fund is an exciting new initiative which provides Africa’s brightest yet under-resourced students with scholarships to study in high-performing African Universities and technical colleges to earn bachelor degrees and vocational and technical training certifications. Proceeds from the gala will support the scholarship fund, AAI said in a press release.

Acclaimed East African songwriter & vocalist, Somi entertains guests at Africa-America Institute Future Leaders Legacy Fund Awards Gala in New York
Acclaimed East African songwriter & vocalist, Somi entertains guests at Africa-America Institute Future Leaders Legacy Fund Awards Gala in New York

The Legacy Fund’s inaugural partner institutions are Asheshi University, Accra, Ghana; United States International University (USIU –Africa), Nairobi, Kenya and The University of South Africa (UNISA), Pretoria, South Africa.

“Today, the world average is that 1 in 4 people will attend university. In Africa, only 1 in 20 will attend university,” said Amini Kajunju, President and CEO of the Africa-America Institute.

“We must change that,” Kajunju added, citing a recent report stating that education is a “powerful predictor” of the wealth of African countries for long term development.

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About Dennis Kabatto 40 Articles
Dennis is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Licensed radio engineer, print reporter, producer and news director of African New Dawn Radio heard over WRSU, 88.7 FM at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New jersey. He is currently a reporter and producer for Pacifica Network Station WBAI, 99.5 FM Morning Show in New York City. He formerly served as international news editor at Rutgers University's WRSU, 88.7 FM News at 10 ; record review contributor and office manager of Accent/LA Publications in Los Angeles and a co-founder of Kronick Magazine in Los Angeles.

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