The Founder, African Women in Leadership Organisation, Dr. Elisha Attai
Eminent Members of AWLO
Friends of AWLO
Gentlemen and Ladies of the Press
Ladies and Gentlemen
As we gather here tonight for the unique 2020 Induction Dinner of the African Women in Leadership Organisation, it is an obvious fact that the world around us is not exactly the same that we left behind at the conclusion of the 2019 Induction Ceremony. Between December 2019 and now, one year after, many events have unfolded across the globe which has left many countries, their economies and travel protocols altered permanently.
The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic saw much destabilisation in the public health system of most countries of the world. For the African Women in Leadership Organisation, this had meant that many scheduled programmes, including conferences and outreaches, were either postponed, put on hold or outright cancelled. The African Women in Leadership Conference (AWLC), scheduled to hold in Sierra Leone in the first week of April, was forfeited to the harsh onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Atlanta Summit was equally not speared in this case.
To keep our community and global networks together, the African Women in Leadership Organisation had alternately made recourse to webinars and digital townhall meetings where we shared ideas and interacted with special guests of global repute. In spite of the pandemic, the African Women in Leadership Organisation facilitated many of these online sessions covering a wide array of themes and focus, including gender inclusion, women and girl-child economic empowerment and indeed the almighty rape scourge.
But, happily, here we are tonight, converged as a body of gender advocates and gender parity campaigners. This is not a sheer coincidence. We have been among the lucky ones to be alive and active today. Much gratitude is due to the almighty God. Many would have wished to be alive but they were not as fortunate. It is in this very sense that this year’s Induction Ceremony is dedicated to giving thanks to God almighty for all that we have been through as persons in our individual rights, as African Women in Leadership Organisation, and as citizens of the globe. As the researcher Ruth Benedict once said, ‘A man’s indebtedness…is not virtue; his repayment is. Virtue begins when he dedicates himself actively to the job of gratitude.’
In the same spirit, I like to acknowledge the creative leadership of the Founder of the African Women in Leadership Organisation, who also doubles as my husband and life companion. I like to commend his grits, good spirit and fortitude through the trying moments of AWLO’s journey, and for being able to put together great teams to work with from time to time. For the African Women in Leadership Organisation under Dr. Elisha Attai, there has never been a scarcity of leadership as everyone is either a leader or a leader in the making. This singular fact has kept us going as AWLO, and I believe it is also worth being grateful for. As William Faulkner the novelist once wrote, ‘Maybe, the only thing worse than having to give gratitude constantly all the time, is having to receive it.’
Over the years, I have found myself at the receiving ends of gratitude from my husband. But, this time around, I think it only decent and decorous to really give honour to whom it is due. As it was once said, ‘Gratitude, like love, is never a dependable international emotion.’ So, as we receive gratitude, we must be able to return gratitude to those for whom it is due, including people and indeed God almighty. Therefore, I commend the Membership of AWLO for demonstrating a rare doggedness, commitment and strong faith in the leadership of the organisation. Distinguished AWLO members, your consistency through the years have been commendable and we use the platform of this occasion to appreciate you all for being the great and committed followership that you are. Kudos to you all!
It is in this very reflective mood and in the spirit of appreciation, that I welcome you all, ladies and gentlemen, to this auspicious occasion. I remain hopeful and positive that the convocation of tonight will serve as a springboard to launch us into the new and more promising moments in our experience as African Women in Leadership Organisation.
Once again, welcome to the 2020 Induction Ceremony of the African Women in Leadership Organisation. I wish you all a great, refreshing and unforgettable positive experience.
Long live the African Women in Leadership Organisation!
Long live African Women (and their men)!
Long live the world!