Africare News Release



2007 honoree: Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Photo courtesy of President's Office, Liberia.

Event emcee: Award-winning journalist and author Charlayne Hunter-Gault.

Welcome, Madam President!

Preparations Underway to Honor Africa’s First Elected Female Head of State At 2007 Africare Dinner


WASHINGTON, DC, August 13, 2007 — On the evening of Thursday, October 18, 2007, more than 2,000 international, government, and corporate leaders will gather at the Hilton Washington Hotel for the largest annual event for Africa in the United States: the Africare Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner. Hosted by the international nonprofit organization, Africare, the event pays tribute to the contributions of individuals working to improve the quality of life for the people in Africa. At the event, Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia and Africa’s first elected female head of state, will be presented with the Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award. The 2007 Dinner will salute “women’s empowerment Africa-wide” — highlighting the vital role of women on the continent.

“In many ways, President Johnson Sirleaf is symbolic of the role that women play on the continent of Africa,” notes Africare President Julius E. Coles. “We selected her to be this year’s honoree because she embodies the progress of women achieving leadership positions in Africa. Her efforts have aided peace and economic growth in Liberia. Africare's work endeavors to do the same thing, all across Africa, every day.”

Africare programs have supported women’s empowerment in the areas of education, health, and income generation since its inception in 1970. The NGO’s approach to development is one of sustainability. Programs are developed with the active participation of the communities where Africare works, thereby engendering community ownership and ensuring effective institutional strengthening and capacity building. According to Africare Senior Vice President Jeannine B. Scott, women have and will remain at the forefront of this approach.

“Working in Africa, you have to recognize that women are the backbone of the labor force,” noted Scott. “They are the mothers, farmers, fetchers of water, and all the other essentials of running and maintaining the African family. One of Africare’s goals is to empower these women in their efforts and provide them with the tools they need to succeed.”

Accordingly, the 2007 Africare Bishop Walker Dinner will pay special tribute to “women’s empowerment Africa-wide,” culminating with the presentation of the Bishop Walker Humanitarian Award to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The award is given annually to recognize those whose work has made a significant impact on raising the standard of living in Africa. Prior recipients include former Presidents Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter; and other distinguished persons such as Andrew Young, Dorothy I. Height, Graca Machel, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates.

Also joining this year’s dinner is award-winning journalist and author, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, who will serve as the dinner’s emcee. Her 40-year career has included work as National Public Radio’s chief correspondent in Africa and CNN's Johannesburg bureau chief and correspondent. Her numerous honors include two Emmy awards and two Peabody awards: one for her work on "Apartheid's People," a NewsHour series about South African life during apartheid, and the other for general coverage of Africa in 1998. Ms. Hunter-Gault is also the author of In My Place, a memoir of the civil rights movement that is fashioned around her experiences as the first black woman to attend the University of Georgia. Her newest book, New News Out of Africa: Uncovering Africa's Renaissance, blends Hunter-Gault’s personal experience on the continent with analysis and reportage of some of the toughest issues and stereotypes facing Africa today.

Proceeds from the 2007 Africare Dinner will help support Africare's mission to provide humanitarian assistance Africa-wide by means of work in the areas of food security and agriculture, health and HIV/AIDS, water resource development, environmental management, literacy and vocational training, microenterprise development, governance, and emergency humanitarian aid.

The Africare Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinners is held annually in honor of the late John T. Walker, the first African-American Episcopal Bishop of Washington, D.C., and long-time Chairman of Africare.

For more information —

Contact the Africare Dinner Office at:

Or click here for 2007 Africare Dinner info on this Web site.


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