United Nation, New York, May 31, 2007-The Spouses of African Ambassadorsaccredited to the United Nations today celebrated Africa’s Liberation Day which was set aside by the founding fathers of the Organization of African Unity in Addis Ababa,Ethiopia over 30 years ago.
This date was set aside to intensify the Liberation Movement, to rid the continent of colonial domination until every inch of Africa had political independence and economic emancipation.
This year, the Spouses of the Permanent Representatives in collaboration with the African Group of Ambassadors and the Mission of the African Union at the United Nations decided to commemorate Africa Day with the Program, “The Spirit and Beauty of Africa”.
The program, which was held in the General Assembly Hall and attended by a cross-section of diplomats and New Yorkers, was designed to bring awareness of the multicultural diversity of Africa and its peoples.
In brief remarks during the program, United Nations Secretary General, His Excellency Ban ki-Moon, thanked the organizers and expressed his firm commitment to the continent of Africa and the achievement of the United Nations Millenium Development Goals. Also addressing those assembled via video recording was the President of the General Assembly, Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa; the Ambassador and Permanent Observer of the African Union, Her Excellency Lila H. Ratsifandrihamananana; and the Representative of the Chairman of the African Union, His Excellency, Leslie Christian, the Permanent Representative of Ghana to the United Nations.
The Mistress of Ceremonies for the event was Dr. Dawn Cooper Barnes, spouse of His Excellency, M. Nathaniel Barnes, Permanent Representative of Liberia to the United Nations.
During a captivating two hour presentation, Dr. Barnes took the audience through a dazzling display of national dresses from every region of Africa featuring the diverse cultures of the north, west, center, east and south of the continent. The audience spontaneously applauded the rich cultural display. The program, which also featured haute couture designs by Ivorian designer, Gilles Toure and Kenyan designer, Sue Moraya, was rounded out by musical interludes featuring Mangue Sylla’s Guinean Orchestra, singers Tapani Sissoko of Mali and Ismael Kouyate of Guinea as well as the Cape Verdean Brothers, an ensemble of traditional musicians of Cape Verde led by Tito Estrela. Liberian DJ, Reggie Capehart, who was in excellent form, enhanced the program by featuring music from every region of Africa. He was assisted by his son, Gardea Capehart.
At the end of the program, Dr. Barnes expressed thanks to H.E. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General, and all other dignitaries as well as her co-organizers, members of the African Ambassadors Spouses Group especially Dr. Helen Yousfi, President. Special recognition went to the Permanent Observer from the African Union to the United Nations, H.E. Lila H. Ratsifandrihamananana and her assistant, Mrs. Mirriam Omala, without whom the event would not have succeeded. Dr. Barnes was grateful for the support of the entire staff of the Liberian Mission and fellow Liberian, MacDella Cooper, who was instrumental in providing the professional models who contributed to the huge success of Africa Day at the United Nations this year.
A reception featuring African delicacies followed the General Assembly program at Libya House where music was provided by a very talented group of musicians from Sudan.