This year, in celebration of the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent, AAI hosted a four day discussion focusing on how people of African descent and individuals with strong African connections have utilized their expertise in various fields to impact regions throughout the world.
Congratulations to our Co-VP Externals Keitu Malatsi and Kwajo Frimpong.
DAY ONE: African Youth - The next generation of leaders, labourers or slaves?
We had an engaging discussion on what role African Youth will play in the years to come. The general consensus of the room was that African youth strive to be leaders of Africa’s future. However, there was some back & forth on both negative & positive connotations of what it means for us to be future labourers as well. Also brought up was the recurring conversation about returning home: should we head back & pave the way for change? Should we wait until we’re well prepared to head back and make effective change? Does waiting for the right moment just lead to us setting down roots abroad & never going back?
All great conversation points that carried on into our Jamaican/Caribbean influenced dinner.
DAY TWO: Healthcare in Africa
What role does access to healthcare play in impacting and shaping the lives of people living in Africa?
We welcomed an amazing panel of health care professionals specialized in various fields to help us navigate this topic. Focusing on malnutrition, health education, and health policy we tackled the question: how health professionals in Africa can be better equipped & connected to serve the areas where they’re most needed.
Thank you so much to our panel of healthcare professionals for lending their specialized knowledge to this very important conversation.
DAY THREE: The intellect of African Pop Culture
We urged our audience to have a more engaging experience with African Pop Culture and how it shapes the world. This discussion was wonderfully led by Keitu Malatsi and our guest speaker/performer B Kenyan. He discussed Rastafarianism, the struggling African music scene in Vancouver, and how culture is expressed through music. All of this was explained in between his lively musical performances.
DAY FOUR: Black History Month - The Continent & the Diaspora
Although our Conference came to an end, it was just the beginning for Black History Month. We recognized the way people of African Descent are engaging with the societies they inhabit. We were lucky to have our amazing African Studies Co-Rep and published author John Michael Koffi lend his experience as a refugee to the conversation along with Washington State University professor and published author Dr. Thabiti Lewis who brought his knowledge on African American Studies, race and pop culture, and American literature. Keitu Malatsi masterfully guided this conversation on how people contextualize black history month for themselves, asking the tough questions and effectively interviewing both speakers.
We capped off the night with a delicious dinner and amazing live band, bringing the conference to a beautiful close.