“There can be no global economy without the presence of Africa,” stated Andrew Young in his keynote address at this year's Africare Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner. “Africa,” he continued, “is the missing link.” Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, former mayor of Atlanta, former congressman from Georgia and, at present, chairman of GoodWorks International, Young set the tone for the evening — the theme of which was “Africa and the American Private Sector: Partners for the Common Good.”
The event took place on Thursday evening, Oct. 24, 2002, in Washington, D.C. Now the largest, most prestigious annual benefit for Africa in the United States — and Africare's major fund-raiser each year — the Africare Dinner was first held in October 1990 in memory of the Rt. Rev. John T. Walker, who died the year before. Bishop Walker was the first African-American bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington as well as chairman of the board of Africare for 15 years. The fall 2002 Dinner attracted 1,800 people as well as generous sponsorship on the part of corporations, other private-sector organizations, international agencies and individuals. More than $1 million was raised in support of Africare's mission of humanitarian assistance in Africa.
At the event, Africare presented its 2002 Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award to singer/actor/producer/activist Harry Belafonte, honoring his six decades of outstanding contributions to the civil rights struggle in the United States and to the struggles for political independence, children's rights and development, and freedom from HIV/AIDS Africa-wide. In his acceptance speech, Belafonte praised Africare's work, noting that “Africare is a remarkable example of what patience, tenaciousness and moral commitment can do to make a difference in the lives of the disenfranchised and those who are pained.”
Also delivering remarks was the activist and rock musician, Bono, who spoke of globalization and the responsibilities it confers: “We can't choose the benefits of globalization without some of the responsibilities, and we should remind ourselves that ëlove thy neighbor' is not advice: it is a command.”
The Dinner was led by international honorary patron, President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria; national honorary patrons, Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle and then Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott; national chair, G. Allen Andreas, chairman and chief executive officer of Archer Daniels Midland Company; and general chairs, George W. Haley and Rodney E. Slater. Maria Walker, wife of the late Bishop Walker, was the honorary chair.
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