Over the years, Africa has produced leaders whose lifestyles were greatly impactful on the young generation. The likes of President Barack Obama, and the late President Nelson Mandela and renowned Nigerian Novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie of African descent have successfully cemented their names on the list of iconic world leaders. Dr Arikana Chihombori-Quao is among the new crop of female leaders doing their bits to add value and create space for Africans living abroad.
During her tenure as Permanent Representative to the African Union Mission in Washington DC, H.E Dr Chihombori-Quao worked tirelessly towards fulfilling her mission which was to develop and maintain positive relationships between the African Union (AU) and the of United States Executive and Legislative branches of Government. She, however, devised her way to connect with the diaspora at every level across the country.
In fulfilling this mandate, she brought renewed energy to the AU Mission as well as innovative ideas and programs that were implemented since her appointment in 2016 until her departure in 2019. Her efforts at mobilizing the diaspora as people of African descent and not as citizens of any single African country is unprecedented and exemplifies her ability to unify people around a common goal, speaking with one voice as one Africa and one Continent.
“Her departure from the African Union emboldened her to create the African Union Diaspora Development Institute to unite the African descendants in the diaspora, in order to facilitate economic development in Africa.” She shared her view on the wake-up call to end the enslavement of Africans in the Diaspora, by saying “It is really disheartening that Africans are subjected to this high level of discrimination among our white brothers.”
She joined the rising voices against this ugly act and even in her recently published book, “The Wake-Up Call”, she highlighted the struggle, discrimination, and violence Africans and their descendants have endured. From the consequences of the Transatlantic Slave Trade to the current need for the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. “As a continent, Africa deserves fair treatment among other continents of the world and we will not relent until this is achieved”. She concluded.
Adding her voice to that, one of the advisors to Dr Chihombori-Quao, Olorogun Bernice, Dr Onome Dem who doubles as National Executive Board member and the Chairperson of the Tri-State ADDI working with National Executive Board member and Secretary Tri-State ADDI, Mrs Busie Matsiko-Andan commended ADDI Steering Committee (SC) members for their wealth of knowledge, passion and grassroots mobilization to actualize the ADDI dream of building the Africa we want. In a words, a member of the SC, National Executive Board member and a well-known grassroots mobilizer in New York, Ms Ramatu Ahmed, “For a united Africa built by Africans for Africans, the time is now!” she said.
Dr Chihombori-Quao has earned many prestigious honours and awards. Two of her most cherished ones are an achievement award received in 1996 from the incumbent President at the time, late Nelson Mandela of the Republic
of South Africa and the African Woman of Excellence Award in July 2015 during the AU Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa.
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