Africare News In Brief
2011 BISHOP JOHN T. WALKER MEMORIAL DINNER GALA
WORLD LEADERS CELEBRATE A ‘NEW AFRICARE FOR A NEW AFRICA’ AT THE LARGEST GALA FOR SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA IN THE UNITED STATES
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Former Ambassador McHenry, Former Vale CEO Roger Agnelli, and Vale Honored
November 10, 2011, Washington, D.C. – Today, Africare, the oldest non-profit organization in the United States working solely in Sub-Saharan Africa, welcomed nearly 1,000 leaders from government, business and international development organizations at the Africare Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner in Washington, DC to celebrate a renewed investment in a ‘New Africa.’ The gala, one of the nation’s largest annual fundraisers for Sub-Saharan Africa, honored former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Former Vale CEO Roger Agnelli, the Vale Corporation of Brazil --the world’s second largest diversified mining company--and Donald F. McHenry, former US Ambassador to the United Nations and Chairman Emeritus of Africare, for their commitment to Africa.
"We celebrate Africa—a fast changing, rapidly globalizing and rising Africa [that] is making real economic, social and political progress," said Dr. Darius Mans, President of Africare, during his official gala remarks. "This 'New Africa' needs strong and willing partners—like Vale—to ensure that Africa's progress is not only sustained, but that it continues to grow so that all people of this great continent prosper."
The Former Brazilian President Lula, unable to attend due to recent illness, was also honored with Africare's Leadership Award for his countless contributions in trade, investment and diplomatic relations between Brazil and Africa. Lula continues his dedication and commitment to growing African partnerships through his new foundation called the Institute Lula. In Lula's speech, read by the Brazilian Ambassador to the United States, he said that "Brazil wishes to broaden its ties with Africa and to cooperate in the spirit of solidarity, so that the continent can find its path towards economic progress and social justice." He highlighted Africare's motto "improving lives, building futures" as reflective of what development organizations need to be achieving, and noted the great similarities between Africare's development goals and those of his own since the beginning of his public life.
Former Vale CEO Roger Agnelli was honored with the Africare Corporate Award for his very strong commitment to Africa. He gave deeply felt and moving remarks noted by many as the real high point of the evening. He showcased the many cultural similarities between Brazil and Africa, and emphasized the important role of the private sector in Africa's development. Agnelli added that “Africa is the center of the world today, and that the great work of Africare on-the-ground with communities is what is needed most to help the Continent move forward."
Vale also received the Africare's Corporate Award for its staunch efforts to enhance the health, nourishment, empowerment and employment of the African people, which began under Mr. Agnelli’s decade of leadership and continues at Vale under the current CEO, Murilo Ferreira. Vale's operating objective is to ensure that the country and local communities share in the growth and prosperity of its mining operations. In Mozambique, as in all other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa where they operate, Vale has a strong commitment to support health, agriculture, and education.
Former Ambassador McHenry, who was honored with the Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award for his lifelong public service to Africa, said that “throughout my career, I have always tried to talk about the ‘good news' of Africa. I am pleased to see that the 'good news' of Africa has become a reality today.” He continued by spotlighting the work of the new Africare as the right work for the New Africa – the theme of the Gala event. He concluded by stating that not only is Africa moving in the right direction, but so is Africare in its efforts to bring progress and development to the continent.
The Africare Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner is held each year in memory of Bishop John T. Walker, the first African- American Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C. and Africare's longtime Board Chair. Bishop Walker distinguished himself as an exemplar of peace, justice and interracial harmony. The dinner plays an important role in enabling Africare to both broaden awareness about its work in Africa and to raise critically needed funds to deliver life-saving services. This year's dinner is made possible by the generosity of Vale, ExxonMobil, Chevron and The Coca-Cola Company as well as many others from the business community.
Past recipients of the Bishop Walker Humanitarian Service Award include His Excellency Nelson R. Mandela, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, former National Council of Negro Women Chair and President Emeritus, the late Dr. Dorothy I. Height, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates.
Africare is a leading non-profit organization specializing in African development assistance to improve the quality of life in Africa. It is also the oldest and largest African-American led organization in that field. Since its founding in 1970, Africare has delivered over $1 billion in assistance and support — with over 2,500 projects and millions of beneficiaries — to 36 countries Africa-wide. These projects have reached 6.5 million direct beneficiaries and approximately 30 million indirect beneficiaries. Africare has its international headquarters in Washington, D.C., with field offices currently in some 20 African countries.