West Africa Mission to Support Sustainable Development Goals
The president and CEO of the African Renaissance and Diaspora Network will lead a high-level delegation of political, business and media leaders on a study tour to Senegal and Gambia from April 22-28, the organization announced.
The mission is part of ARDN’s “Pathway to Solutions” initiative that seeks to popularize the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, said Djibril Diallo, who assumed leadership of the NGO on March 25 after more than three decades as an executive with the United Nations.
“ARDN is committed to working with various stakeholders to achieve the 17 development goals by 2030,” Diallo said. “The goals are critical to ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.”
The ARDN initiative to promote the goals has partnered with the Office of the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, the UN Senior Africans Group, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network at Columbia University that is led by economist Jeffrey Sachs, the National Newspaper Publishers Association and the National Association of Black Journalists.
The mission will be named in honor of Les Payne, an NABJ founder and supporter of the organization’s outreach to Africa. Payne died March 19.
NABJ founder Joe Davidson, a columnist with The Washington Post, will be a member of the delegation to West Africa.
“Les Payne, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, was deeply committed to accurate and fair portrayals of Africa in the American media,” said NABJ President Sarah Glover. “Naming this mission in honor of Les is a fitting tribute to his memory.”
The mission is supported by the Ford Foundation, InterContinental Hotels Group and Michel Sidibe, executive director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
In addition to Diallo and Davidson, the delegation will include Cloves Campbell, publisher of the “Arizona Informant” and former chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association; Mayor Eugene Grant of Seat Pleasant, Maryland; Dr. Gloria Herndon, CEO of GB Global Group; Floydetta McAfee, president of Summerland Studio, LLC; Frank Jackson, the assistant vice chancellor of Prairie View A&M University; James Gomez, the director of International Affairs, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition; Ghana Sen. Alfred Vanderpuije, the president of Global Alliance of Mayors and Leaders of African Descent; and John Yearwood, the president of Yearwood Media Group and the executive board chairman, International Press Institute.
The delegation will meet with educators, journalists, civil society and senior government officials in Senegal and Gambia. Members will also participate in field visits to various projects, some supported by the United Nations and other agencies.
The public can follow the delegation’s African mission through daily postings to ARDN’s website at Ardn.ngo, its Facebook page and YouTube channel and on Twitter at ARDN_NGO. Some of the daily briefings will also appear on NABJ.org and through various NNPA channels. The mission’s hashtag is #ARDN2018.
“This is an important education campaign,” Diallo said. “Our goal is to use education as an entry point to achieving the other SDGs.”
African Renaissance and Diaspora Network, Inc. (ARDN), is an internationally operating NGO headquartered in New York, with the status of a United States 501(c)(3) public charity. ARDN’s mission is to accelerate the attainment of the African renaissance by advocating for and supporting United Nations programs, such as the Sustainable Development Goals. To this end, ARDN mobilizes the passion of government, educators, artists, intellectuals, the private sector, civil society and youth, using the power of art, sport and culture as vectors for creating a better world. ARDN serves as the Secretariat for the Global Alliance of Mayors and Leaders from Africa and of African Descent. ARDN is chaired by Constance B. Newman, a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, who has formerly served as Assistant Administrator to the United States Agency for International Development and as United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.
The United Nations Senior Africans Group is a network consisting of United Nations staff from Africa and the African diaspora at the Under-Secretary-General, Assistant-Secretary-General and Director-2 levels, and African Ambassadors to the United Nations. The group provides its members an informal forum to discuss and collaborate to address issues of common concern between the United Nations and Africa.