Tuesday, March 11, 2008

FAMU to Host Tallahassee African Sister Cities Coalition Conference

lorida A&M University (FAMU) the official home of the Tallahassee African Sister Cities Coalition Conference (TASCC) will host its Seventh Annual Observance of Africa Awareness Month from March 17-21, 2008.

The conference theme is “Florida-Africa Relations: Building Alliances by Focusing on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).” It will feature a number of activities including keynote speakers, group discussions, a film festival and a dinner dance.

The culminating event of the conference is the “Taste of Africa” gala dinner and dance which is scheduled March 21, at the Ramada Inn Hotel Convention Center located at 2900 North Monroe Street. Tickets are $50 each, and tables can be reserved for $650.

TASCC seeks to establish student chapters around the world to fill the void often left by the lack of emphasis of cultural immersion in higher education. The main idea is for the youth to establish critical linkages for future ventures across continents and to take more of a leadership role in forging ties within the African Diaspora.

The discussions will focus primarily on the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). This initiative, signed by African Heads of State in 2002, embodies Africa’s vision and aspirations for sustainable economic development and regional cooperation leading to continental unification.

African Union/NEPAD representatives, international diplomats and experts from the United States, Europe and African and Caribbean nations and territories will address theme-related issues and topics. The primary goal is to foster dialogues that lead to identifying, nurturing, and establishing functional partnerships mutually beneficial for all involved parties.

In addition to NEPAD, the conference focuses includes: (1) a signing ceremony of the sister city relationship between the City of Tallahassee and Asante Akim North District, Ghana, followed by negotiations on prioritizing goals and objectives to move the relationship forward; (2) building a foundation to support the African Diaspora Heritage Trail – Florida Initiative, which is to “identify places and phenomena relevant to the global presence and influences of people and culture of African descent and to develop mechanisms to promote and facilitate informed and socially conscious travel to these sites, with emphasis on enhancement of the quality of life of host communities;” and (3) introduce Kenya Development Fund Corporation (KDFC), a startup investment company aimed at providing a means for U.S. citizens to invest in Kenya’s rapidly growing economy.

This year, the bulk of the festivities will be hosted on FAMU’s campus, and there will be additional emphasis placed on student participation to increase African awareness and perhaps offer programs offering opportunities for students to travel abroad. Last year, 20 students traveled to Ghana to commemorate the country's 50th year of independence.

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