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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The White House recognizes the African diaspora for the first time

On Monday, September 23rd, 2013, the Cameroon Professional Society (CPS) team along with representatives and allies of the African Diaspora attended the historical White House African Immigrant Heritage Month Policy Forum.

The representatives and allies of the African diaspora at the White House Immigrant  Heritage Month Policy Forum (Photo: Yeshi Abebe)
The African Immigrant Heritage Month Policy Forum is intended to connect officials of President Barack Obama's administration with leaders of the African immigrant community residing in the United States of America, as stated in the CPS press release. This is the first time that the White House engages Africans, African immigrants and their allies.


“African immigrants in the U.S. are too often invisible -not only do their exceptional contributions go unrecognized, although they are the most educated group of Americans, but Black immigrants in the U.S. continue to suffer tremendous health disparities,” Sylvie Bello, founder and CEO of the Cameroon American Council (CAC). The Cameroon American Council is an African immigrant advocacy organization.

Throughout the day, the CPS team, as well as other participants, were introduced to the different projects and opportunities available to their communities. The first part of the day focused on domestic affairs, with presentations on the economy and jobs, opportunities for entrepreneurs, health and community development. After the lunch and networking break, participants were introduced to different topics including the priorities of the U.S. administration for education, security and HIV/AIDS.

“The African Immigrant Forum was an opportunity to network with like-minded African professional and young leaders who are interested in learning about the new approach of the Obama administration regarding the development of Africa,” Charles Awanda, the Program Director of the CPS Awards Program, said.

He continued by stating that the event allowed participants to know more about the existing programs that aim to strengthen the culture of entrepreneurship among African immigrants residing in the U.S., so they may continue to empower their respective communities within the U.S. and in Africa.

The African Immigrant Forum was adjourned after the closing remarks of President Barack Obama read by Yeshimebet Abebe, the Chief-of-Staff of Research, Education and Economics at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.