African Scientific Institute participates in historic 2012 Global African Diaspora Summit

Communique of the Global African Diaspora Summit, 25 May 2012, Sandton, South Africa
by African Union Commission (AUC)

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, May 28, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The first ever Global African Diaspora Summit was held in Sandton, South Africa beginning on 23 May 2012, and concluded on Africa Day, 25 May 2012. The meeting was attended by Heads of States or representative of the 54 Member Countries of the Africa Union, Governments of the Caribbean Community, North America, South and Latin America.

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The Summit began with welcome remarks by the Host, President Jacob Zuma which was followed by the remarks of Dr. Jean Ping, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Honorable David Dinkins, former Mayor of New York , an Eminent person from the Diaspora, Honorable Arnold Joseph Nicholson, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Honorable Samuel Hins, Prime Minister of the Republic of Guyana, on behalf of CARICOM, Mr. Esteban Lasto, the Vice President of the Republic of Cuba and President Nguema of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea. The opening session was concluded with the opening remarks of President Boni Yayi, President of the Republic of Benin and Chairperson of the Union.

In his opening Statement, President Zuma expressed the gratitude of his Government and the people of South Africa to Heads of States and Governments that have taken the time from their busy schedule to attend the event and acknowledged the sterling work of the AU Commission in preparing for the Summit. He linked the historic event to the impetus that led African leaders to create the Organization of African Unity and the centenary celebrations of the ANC as the first African liberation movement. He further acknowledged the vision and commitment of the first generation of African leaders and their vision to see Africa taking its rightful place, with respect and dignity in global affairs.

In turn, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, H.E. Dr. Ping, thanked the Host President, President Jacob Zuma for his hospitality. In similarity with President Zuma, H.E. Ping traced the historical Global Diaspora Summit to the vision and agenda of the first generation of African leaders. He then provided a detailed overview of the events and processes that culminated in the Draft Declaration presented to the Summit. He observed that the Declaration offers a basic law and a working document that will support the objectives of rebuilding the Global African family. He concluded on the note that Member States and all other stakeholders must recommit themselves to the implementation agenda by providing necessary resources for the program and sustaining focus and interest in its consolidation and advancement. He pledged the dedication of the African Union Commission to this process and appealed to African leaders to ensure that the Declaration will be a living document that generations after us will come to applaud, respect and continue to implement.

Subsequently, the addresses of the Minister of Jamaica, Eminent Representative of the Diaspora, the Prime Minister of Guyana and the Vice President of Cuba, expressed their support for the AU’s Diaspora Initiative. Each recalled the involvement of their people in the struggle for African liberation and pledged to work with the AU to ensure realization of its objective.
Finally, President Boni, Yayi, the Chairperson of the Union, noted that processes of Regional Consultative conferences developed and consolidated the views, desires and objectives of Africans over all the world into the Draft Declaration that is now before the Assembly. He observed that the Summit was initially supposed to be held in 2008 but that the period since then had been put to good use in order to refine and consolidate the documents. He expressed gratitude for the work of the AU Commission and the South African government in preparing for this Summit and urged all leaders and Ministers to rededicate themselves to implementation of Summit outcomes and to provide necessary resources for this process.

Subsequently, a closed session of the Assembly considered and approved the Draft Declaration that was formally presented by Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa. The integrated Draft Declaration that was adopted had four basic elements. The first was a political declaration embodying vision, purpose and objectives. The second was a Program of Action that highlighted areas and programs required to support the implementation agenda. Third were implementation and follow-up mechanism embodying the instruments that would be employed to facilitate implementations of the outcomes and fourthly, five legacy projects that would give immediate, urgent and practical meaning to the Declaration.

The meeting ended with closing remarks by the Host, President Jacob Zuma and President Boni Yayi, the Chairperson of the African Union.
Lee O. Cherry, one of the representatives from the African Scientific Institute, not only assisted in providing input to the “Civil Society” Declaration of the Global African Diaspora Summit, he also participated in the Science and Technology Program for the Diaspora Seminar, sponsored by South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology. Several of the focal points of this seminar were presented during sessions held among Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Heads of State to be included in the final Declaration of the Civil Society document.
About 50 Global Delegates worked on the Declaration of the Civil Society document during the pre-summit gatherings and during the Summit itself. Notables such as Mel Foote of CFA, Amb. Erieka Bennett of the African Diaspora Forum, Amb. Vincent Okobi, Oscar Brathwaite, Barryl Biekman, David Horne, Alfred Sears, James Early, Sidney Martin, Prof. Gus John, Roland Ndip and others all contributed to the success of this vital and historic Summit.

We thank Amb. Mbulelo Rakwena of South Africa and Dr. Jinmi Adisa of the Africa Union (Director, CIDO-AUC) for their dedication and hard work towards coordinating affairs of this great Summit