THE HISTORIC INAUGURAL UNITED NATIONS SUMMIT: AFRICA THE GLOBAL AFRICAN DIASPORA: INTERNATIONAL SUMMIT OF COLLEGES, UNIVERSITIES, & MINISTERS OF EDUCATION
On September 23-24, 2019, at the margins of the 74th Session of the UN
General Assembly (UNGA), the UNDP, Headquarters Regional Bureau for
Africa, the Core Planning Group–Office of HBCU Development and International Cooperation, Inc, and International Human Rights Association of American Minorities (IHRAAM) , an UN/NGO in Consultative Status with
ECOSOC, organized the historic inaugural summit event titled “Africa and
the Global African Diaspora: International Summit of Colleges, Universities, and Ministers of Education.”
The Summit’s central theme and objective were to advocate for the creation of international partnerships among institutions of higher education across Africa, and the global African Diaspora, and to advance quality education for all persons of African Descent. This inaugural and historic event concluded with the joint signing of the MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING (MoU) BETWEEN THE UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (UNDP) AND CORE PLANNING GROUP–OFFICE OF HBCU DEVELOPMENT & INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION.
A copy of this precedent setting and visionary document is available for review (link to MoU).
There were over 460 registrants in attendance at UN Headquarters during the session held September 23, 2019. They reflected a nationally representative and broad spectrum of administrators and senior faculty delegates from Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs) of higher education across the USA. This included keynote speakers President Dr. Leslie Pollard of Oakwood University (Huntsville, AL) and President Dr. Rudolph Crew of Medgar Evers College (Brooklyn, NY). Additionally, many noteworthy UN government representatives, including Ministers of Education across African, Caribbean, South American countries were present. The Official Opening Ceremony for Monday September 23rd included keynote remarks being made by:
Honorable H. Okello Oryen, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, The Republic of Uganda;
Honorable Jackson Mthembu, Minister in the Presidency Republic of South Africa;
Dr. Farid I. Muhammad, Coordinator, Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs) higher education, USA
Dr. Clarence Jones, Director, Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice, University of San Francisco; and
Ms Ahunna Eziakonwa, Regional Director for UNDP Bureau for Africa and Assistant Secretary General UNDP;
Master of Ceremonies, Dr. Ayodele Odusola, Resident Representative, UNDP South Africa
The remaining Panel Discussions included the following topics: (1) Challenges, Opportunities and Future of Higher Education in Africa and African Diaspora; and (2) Facilitating an Enduring Partnership Between African Universities and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in America. A copy of the Agenda for the Monday September 23, 2019 Session is available for review and includes a complete list of the names and affiliations of major panelists (Sept 23rd Agenda). Similarly, a copy of the Agenda for the 2nd and off-site Side-Event held at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) on Tuesday September 24, 2019, is also provided.
The keynote speaker at the 2nd 74th Session UNGA Side-Event held Tuesday September 24, 2019 at BMCC was Attorney Dominique Day. Attorney Day currently serves as a member of the U.N. Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent (WGEPAD). Similarly, the 2nd Side-Event also included two sets of expert panelists. The panel themes were as follows: (1) Creating International Partnerships to Achieve Quality Education and Training for all Persons of African Descent; and (2) Institutionalizing Financial Sustainability of Educational Organizations serving People of African Descent. The many noteworthy African and African-American expert panelists are listed in the sample Agenda for the September 24, 2019 Session (link to Agenda Sept 24th).
READ AND VIEW THE UN WEB TV BROADCAST OF THE SEPTEMBER 23RD UN SUMMIT BELOW.
SDG4: Advancing Quality Education for all Persons of African Descent.
“23 Sep 2019 – The technologically interconnected nature of today’s world creates new opportunities for institutions of higher education to work together, across the world, to achieve shared academic and educational goals. Through distance learning, colleges and universities can co-teach classes on any subject, with students based in any country, with instruction in any language. The same technologies can help education institutions share institutional knowledge and best practices that together strengthen their internal operations and build capacities to provide instruction of the highest quality. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), as mandated by the UN Secretary General and the General Assembly, is the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) integrator in the United Nations System. Contributing to this mandate with the scale and breadth of colleges and university systems provides new opportunities for accelerating progress on the SDGs. The African continent – and countries with a large African diaspora – host thousands of institutions of higher education, with over 200 Historically Black Colleges and Universities / Primarily Black Institutions in the United States, alone. The variety of academic subjects, number of courses, and number of students of African descent (which likely numbers in the millions) all provide opportunities, through academic partnerships, to strengthen educational institutions and outcomes. The overall objective of the event is to strengthening international partnership among HBCU, higher educational institutions in Africa and the African Diaspora to advance quality of education for all persons of African descent.”
Preserving the Legacy of HBCUs/PBIs
Provide participants with an overview of the historic legacy, mission, contributions and current challenges facing HBCUs and PBIs
Familiarize participants with relevant international human rights covenants, declarations and UN resolutions/reports which protect the collective and institutional rights of People of African Descent in the U.S.A.
Invite participants to become part of an ongoing and institutionalized process committed to the preservation and self-empowerment of HBCU and PBIs
Ensure that a collaboratively identified HBCU or PBI institution shall serve as the venue for an annual review of progress made toward the implementation of the UN General Assembly’s “Programme of Activities for the Implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent” (UN/RES/69/19); as well as the recommendations of the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent on its Mission to the U.S.A. (A/HRC/33/61- 2016).
HBCU/PBI DELEGATION VISITS U.N. HEADQUARTERS & MEETS WITH VARIOUS AGENCY OFFICIALS
(OCTOBER 19, 2018)