Press Release: Highlights of the 8th African Development Conference at Harvard University
The 8th edition of the African Development Conference (ADC) took center stage at Harvard University (a prestigious private Ivy League research university) in Cambridge, Massachusetts from March 31st and April 1st 2017. The theme of the event was Africa: Imagining New Frontiers For Collaboration. Organized by Harvard African Student Organizations, the annual ADC conference promoted engaging discussion on “Pan Africanism” and explored different ways of collaboration to address challenges and opportunities facing Africa.
The conference highlighted creative thinking and showcased individuals who are implementing real change in their country or throughout the continent. Topics discussed included governance and human rights, education, infrastructure, public health, gender and income inequality, Africa’s economies and urban development. Key Note Speakers at the 8th African Development Conference included Folorunso Alakija (listed among Forbes’ 100 most powerful women in the world), Thulisile (Thuli) Madonsela – Forbes Africa Person of the year 2016, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama – 4th President of Republic of Ghana, and Beatrice Mtetwa, internationally acclaimed human rights lawyer.
Folorunso Alakija is a Nigerian business woman, fashion icon, and a philanthropist with deep rooted desire to help the needy. Alakija is also National President of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN), and has executive leadership in numerous fashion, printing, oil and gas, and real estate businesses. Thulisile (Thuli) Madonsela was named Forbes African Person of the Year 2016 and is known as “South Africa’s Public Protector who faced death threats in her quest to bring inconsistencies to the fore.” H.E. John Dramani Mahama is the 4th President of Ghana who served from January 7, 2013 – January 6, 2017. During his reign, H.E. Mahama positioned Ghana as a beacon for democracy, stability, economic empowerment and peace. Beatrice Mtetwa, a human rights lawyer, has spent over 20 years defending journalists and resisting government corruption in her home country of Zimbabwe.
At the African Development Conference, panels were held on topics such as the African City, Bridging the Francophone-Anglophone Divide, the African Diaspora, Social Movements, Education, Finance, Healthcare, Human Rights, Personal Stories and Technology. The panellists of the event were distinguished in their various fields and included policy makers, and leaders in business, academics, civil society, among others.
Liz Grossman moderated the panel on Education, which highlighted the need for collective impact to improve education on the African continent. Panellists working in organizations in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, and Democratic Republic of Congo provided advice on how governments, policy makers, entrepreneurs and donors might collaborate to solve the problem of low supply of quality education in Africa. Grossman also addressed youths by encouraging them to dress for success. She wore an African-inspired dress made of Liberian tie dye fabric combined with satin by TeKay Designs, an international fashion label with operations in the US and West Africa. A Harvard graduate, Liz Grossman is founder of Baobab Consulting, a NGO with a mission to promote mutual understanding and equitable collaboration between the US and Africa.
The African Development conference provided attendees with a profound sense of excitement and purpose regarding Africa’s role on global basis. The knowledge and networking gained at the ADC created more opportunities for collaboration and helped shape initiatives towards betterment of Africa’s future.
Press Release by Excel PR
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View photos of the event provided by Baobab Consulting:
Folorunso Alakija with attendees at Harvard African Development Conference 2017