A little About the AAI Executive team:
Agape Usaniwabo: Global lounge Rep
My name is Agape Usaniwabo and I was born Rwanda, raised in Canada lived in Uganda for several years.When I first joined UBC I was hesitant to join AAI because I believe that my African heritage is merely a part of who I am and not the sole facet of my personality. However, a friend of mine invited me to attend an AAI event with her and it completely changed my perspective. The members of AAI all had a keen interest in African affairs but they were also musicians, writers, artists, athletes, etc. Like me they had identities and passions and interests outside their African heritage but where joined together by their dream for a better Africa. A dream I also share. That is why I decided to join the eclectic group that is AAI.
Aram Laloui: Webmaster
I see Africa as a garden full of beautiful flowers of different colors, heights and fragrances, this society molded me to into who I am today. Born and raised in Kenya, my interest to learn more about the African continent is great. Leaving home was difficult, but AAI brought my feet to the ground. The conference week was one of my favorite events; I had never met a group of highly knowledgeable people who shared such diverse thoughts on different issues affecting our continent. What stood out for me was the concept of consultation, people building onto each other’s thoughts. AAI to me is a community, a community where our beliefs and principles such as unity will be a leading example to future societies.“So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole world” Bahá’i writings
Daisy Gobina: VP Administration
I am Daisy Gobina a fourth year Arts student. From Cameroon but born in a small beautiful town called Buea located at the foot of Mount Cameroon. Apart from Mount Cameroon being the highest mountain in West Africa. The name Cameroon is a Portuguese word for River of Prawns.
I discovered African Awareness Initiative (AAI) through my friends during my first year at UBC and got an invitation to an event during Conference Week. Over time, it became interesting leading me to inquire about the club. Since then I have been a member of AAI because of the UBC African Dream, the events ranging from social to very engaging indaba discussions and within the members base I have nurtured long-term friendships. Africa Awareness Initiative is family within my UBC family and this year as your Vice-President Administration, my hope is to help make your experience with African Awareness worthwhile but most importantly listening and working with you to make the UBC African dream one-step closer to reality.
Kuzivakashe Mutonga: VP Internal
What it do!My name is Kuzi Mutonga and I’m AAI’s new VP Internal. So if you have any event that you would really like to see happen, “Holla At Your Boy”! A few quick things about me, I’m from Zimbabwe, this is my 3rd year at UBC and I’m currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics & Mathematics. My dream job would be as a successful music producer.”My goal for AAI this school year is to organize more “fun” events than ever before and to grow our member base significantly.
VP External (2 positions): Nelly Ky, Mercedes McGuire
Lana Mercedes McGuire:
Where are you from: Dust
Interesting fact about place of origin: It is home to leaders in the arts, music, literature, politics, science, and the humanities.
Your dreams:Future: Create and facilitate interdisciplinary teams of people who are able to engage creatively and critically with both grassroots communities and global leaders and decision makers in re-designing relevant systems. This Year: My dream is to discover and deliver your hopes, dreams, and ideas about Africa as a place of unimaginable possibility, and to collaborate with you to create an outstanding Conference Week 2014.
First Experience With AAI: I stumbled upon a discussion about Africa while walking through the library. It was for interest and intrigue that I came in, and it has been for the relationships that I have stayed.
I am Nelly Ky, second year student and co-VP External this year. Coming from Burkina Faso, a small landlocked country in the middle of West Africa, I was comforted to discover AAI in my first year. Through this marvellous imitative, I met wonderful people who constituted a family for me. This involvement heightened my passion for Africa and for AAI’s mission to push our African Studies minor program to a full extent.
My objective for this year is to work closely and cooperatively with my fellow brothers and sisters so we can create together a dynamic and resourceful body within the campus that will showcase the many facets of our amazing and unique culture. And also attract people from other parts of the world into our association so that they can have a glimpse of the treasures Mama Africa holds.
VP Finance: Munene Kaumbutho
Where are you from? Nairobi, Kenya.
Interesting fact about place of origin: The origins of early man they say can be traced back to Kenya, to a place known as Turkana.
I am a fourth year Math and Economics student at UBC.
Future: Start my own business; start small, make it to the big time.
This Year: It is my responsibility that AAI is able to facilitate all activities, our events and conference week, to ensure that our finances are doing well for next year.
First Experience With AAI:
Regina our former VP gave a rousing speech to international students at jumpstart in our first year. But it wasn’t until I went to 2-3 AAI events that I really started getting into the flavor of this club. There is a lot of art and creativity at our events. And that’s what makes it so special.
VP Marketing: Amartei Armar
Hello lovely people! My name is Amartei Armar and I hail from the land of gold and cocoa, which many of you know as Ghana. I take great pride in where I am from, and you should too as it is through the cultural diversity and uniqueness that we find the will to innovate and bring a fresh perspective to what exists currently. My dream is to journey back home to start a cultural renaissance by revamping the ideas and practices of Ghana’s ancient civilization and modernizing it to fit this current age. I ultimately want to give the artisans, poets, speakers, filmmakers, etc. a stronger voice as they are keepers of our culture and have arguably the greatest role in preserving our history, relating that to how it is now, and generating ideas for change. After all, it is they who remind us who we are as a people and a nation, just like it is you, who reminds AAI what we strive for. This year I hope to build several platforms and give our members a stronger voice on the UBC campus. No loitering about, no walking allowed, no running required; we are only interested in flying.
President: Joy Richu
My name is Joy Richu. I come from a family of four; all of whom are so dear to me . I am Kenyan. Something interesting about my home-country is that it’s actually not as hot as many people may think it is (especially in July)! But it is very beautiful.
This year, I really look forward to getting to know you. I look forward to hearing your views during our Indaba sessions, marveling at your talents during our Artistic events, and enjoying your presence as we work together, to advance the goals of AAI. I thank you so much for agreeing to be a part of us. It’s my hope that AAI provides the warmest of homes for you this year – regardless of the season.