TAG | Amina Salum Ali
The leading official of theAfrican Union in the United States has endorsed the development of an “African Village” that would serve as a commercial and educational center on 540 acres in Fulton County.
Amina Salum Ali, who holds the official title of ambassador and is the African Union’s permanent representative inWashington, endorsed the project at a meeting at theAfrica World Museum and Center, 135 Peachtree St., on April 30.
Tunde Adetunji, a Nigerian chieftain and president and CEO of the USA Africa – Bridging the Gap and Building the Bridge initiative, is organizing support for the project, which is titled the Africa Heritage Foundation project. He also is organizing a conference in October to be held in Atlanta promoting African trade and investment opportunities.
In November of last year, Mr. Adetunji attended the 1st Pan African Cultural Congress of the African Union in Addis Abba, Ethiopia, where he announced the plans for the village and conference. He also presented a letter from former Secretary of State Cathy Cox endorsing Mr. Adetunji’s activities and a Georgia flag.
Ms. Salum Ali said that she thought the village would provide Americans an opportunity to learn about African cultures and stimulate economic development through trade and tourism both in the U.S. and on the African continent.She also endorsed the upcoming trade and business conference.
According to plans for the village, each of the 53 member nations of the African Union would have 10 acres on which to represent themselves.
Also attending the meeting, which additionally served as a 10th anniversary of the museum, were Joe Beasley, a civil rights activist representing the Rainbow Push Coalition; Isaac Farris, president and CEO, The King Center; Joe Johnson, director of Fulton County Housing and Community Development Authority; William Settle, Delta Air Lines Inc.’s program manager for its Global Diversity Talent Acquisition and Retention program, and Atlanta City CouncilmenKwanza Hall and James Maddox.
Each individual spoke in favor of the project and its objectives.
The conference also has been formally endorsed in official letters by U.S. Rep. John Lewis ofGeorgia’s 5th district; Gov. Sonny Perdue; Secretary of State Karen Handel; Mayor Shirley Franklin; Andrew Young, former mayor of Atlanta, U.S. congressman and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; Jorge Fernandez, vice president, Global Commerce Economic Development at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and Thomas W. Dortch Jr., chairman emeritus, 100 Black Men of America Inc.
The Africa World Museumand Africa Heritage Foundation in Atlantaraised the African Unionflag and celebrated the city’s first Africa Day on May 25 that marks the anniversary of the creation of the African Union.
The event celebrated the creation of the Organization of African Unity on May 25, 1963. The OAU became the African Union in 2002. The anniversary is celebrated each year on May 25 in the seat of the AU in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as well as in New York, Washingtonand now Atlanta, and is known formally as “Africa Day.”
The celebration in Atlanta was a milestone for the museum’s 10 years of promoting African culture and business in Atlanta and was a follow-up to the visit of the African Union Ambassador and Permanent Representative to United States Amina Salum Ali, April 29-May 1.
The Africa Day event celebrated Atlanta’s “great affinity for Africa initiative, unity and progress,” according to Chief Tunde Adetunji, founder and CEO of the museum and foundation.
The celebration endorsed the Africa World Museum and Africa Heritage Foundation’s prime objective of making the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia a gateway into the U.S. for African business, Mr. Adetunji told GlobalAtlanta.
The highlight of the celebration was the dedication of the African Union flag symbolizing an understanding between the state of Georgia and the African Union.
Pastor Gerald Durley, senior pastor of Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, performed the dedication of the flag, while Joe Beasley, southern regional director of theRainbow/PUSH Coalition, praised the efforts of the museum and foundation to encourage respect and support for development in Africa.
John Wilhelm, member of the Friendship Force and Advisory Council on International Relations, said he saw the effort of Africa World Museum as a positive move that will promote economic and cultural relations between the city of Atlanta, state of Georgia and the Africa Nation.
Glendon Thompson, president of the International Association of Caribbean Organizations, and Janet Russell, travel planning specialist, described the Africa Day celebration and unveiling of the flag as “a ray of hope for unity and cooperation between Africa and the international community,” according to Mr. Adetunji.
He said that unity between the African diaspora in the U.S. and “motherland Africa” will promote better understanding, international relationships and mutual cooperation between Africa and the rest of the world.
He also asserted that Africa is becoming an economic power within the global marketplace, and that Atlanta is the “perfect place for this initiative.” He also called for support for the Africa Village, a commercial and educational center to be built on 540 acres in Fulton County.
The Africa World Museum was the first organization to bring the exhibition, Celebrate Africa, to Atlanta during the 1996 Olympics, the first to take the Georgia flag to the seat of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and the first to bring the African Union ambassador to Atlanta and the Southeast.