By Kemi Osukoya
September 26, 2023
WASHINGTON – The White House on Tuesday announced the inaugural 12 members who will serve on the President’s Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement in the United States.
The team, which comprises six women and six men from distinguished backgrounds, was selected by Secretary of State Antony Blinken in consultation with Special Presidential Representative for U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Implementation Johnnie Carson and represents the diversity of the African Diaspora from African American communities in America and African immigrant communities across the continent and the Caribbean.
The Council’s members will leverage their individual backgrounds in government, sports, creative industries, business, academia, social work, and faith-based activities to provide invaluable guidance to reinforce cultural, social, political, and economic ties between the U.S. and Africa, and promote trade, investment, and educational exchanges between the United States and Africa.
The establishment of the Council marks another significant milestone in U.S.-Africa relations and builds upon the commitments announced by President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris during the 2022 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, aimed at enhancing dialogue between United States officials and the African Diaspora.
“The African Diaspora in the United States, a rich and diverse community of African Americans and African immigrants, is foundational to our 21st century partnership with Africa. This community, which includes descendants of enslaved Black Americans, has long advocated for the prosperity of the African continent and its people, and strengthened the unique relationship between the United States and Africa,” the White House said in a statement.
The individuals on the Council will each serve a two-year term, effective immediately through 2025.
The White House has picked Rev. Dr. Silvester Scott Beaman, the consecrated Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church who is currently the presiding Prelate of the Fifteenth Episcopal District serving in South Africa, Namibia, and Angola, to lead the team as Chair, tapping into his extensive experience and deep roots across the African continent.
Other members on the Council include former Executive Vice President of U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation Mimi E. Alemayehou, American businesswoman and ex-Walgreen CEO Rosalind Brewer, American actress, and film producer Viola Davis, American physician and President of Spelman College Helene D. Gayle, former U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Hubert Gaspard, President of PepsiCo Foundation C.D. Glin, American businessman and investor Osagie Imasogie, founder and executive director of African Diaspora Network Almaz Negash, American professional women basketball player Chinenye Joy Ogwumike, Founder and CEO of Clipper Cash Ham K. Serunjogi and Kevin Young, Director of the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture.