September 2, 2017
Posted In : Founder's Blog
Dr. Elisha Attai
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African Women in Leadership Organisation Conference to me, is a legacy and a vision. We weren’t always here, but we’ve always known where we are going.
African Women in Leadership Conference (AWLC) started in 2009, at Ghana, as a converge seeking to bring African women together to drive leadership. It started as West African Women in Leadership Conference, and has grown to include women leaders of African Descent in the Diaspora, and hosted them for the 4th year now in USA.
This year’s African Women in Leadership Diaspora Conference, AWLC Atlanta 2017 was not only a homecoming (being an honorary citizen of Georgia), but another conference journey. Doing it now for the fourth time, I can say that most of the journey is predictable, even though every year has its peak-point, and I am dying to see each year’s.
This year, I had the honor of receiving the award of an Honorary Doctorate degree (PhD), from Global Oved Dei Seminary & University during the Conference. I see it as a token for my commitment to gender-parity.
Collaborating with my most valued USA team led by Emelia Orubele and the entire Global Executive Council, for this event has been a delight, and an inevitable juggle. A Juggle between time zones; having to be present in two places at a time, thank God technology works wonders. I have lost sleep having to work round the clock, but I have never looked back.
We had a face-to-face meeting earlier in the planning, to select date and venue. Since then it has been a back-and-forth collaboration between the USA team, and my team at the International Headquarters in Nigeria. I only got back to America few weeks to the conference for finishing touches.
I will describe this as a journey of highs and lows. The highs have been the successes, and the lows came when the successes were delayed or differed from our expectation, but we haven’t been short of our goals.
Our partners remained committed to delivering, and our facilitators brought in fantastic zeal. I could catch the excitement on the faces of our delegates during the incredible performances; like the talented Obus and Prodigy’, their anxiety to look around our exhibition stands, and how they were participative during conference sessions. I would say we were shooting for the moon, and landed among the stars.
Gender parity can not be achieved without the collective efforts of both sexes. I’m grateful for the roles Mr. Ubong King, Dr. Thomas Mensah, and Mr. Idee Okpok played in this conference – a sign that Gender Parity is indeed possible. I call them the real ‘He-for-She’.
AWLC Atlanta 2017 opened on Thursday 24th August 2017 with an African Fashion Show and Cocktail, featuring networking, and meet and greets, with some prominent African/American Leaders like Senator Donzella James our Chief Host, Ambassador Andrew Young and his wife Carolyn, Chief Opral Benson, H.E Professor Uche Azikiwe (Wife of the First President of Nigeria), H.E Sarah-Elizabeth Reed (Wife of the Mayor of Atlanta), Dr. Gloria Herndon, Dr. Violet Arene, Julie Donli (DG-NAPTIP), Professor UduakObong Archibong (Bradford University- UK) . Local business leaders and young entrepreneurs. were also amongst the invited guest.
The National Center for Civil and Human Rights partnered with Tiskies, a Contemporary African fashion collection for women designed and made in Nigeria by Abiola Aluko to make the evening colorful.
In these high African spirits, we were ushered into the next day’s sessions of paper presentations, panel sessions, workshop, networking, entertainment, and exhibitions. Day 2 was a two-part event and wrapped-up in a Gala and Awards evening and launch of AWLO USA Headquarters in Atlanta.
Dr. Karmetria Burton, Dr. Diane Moore-Eubanks, Princess Dr. Moradeun A. Ogulana, Ph.D, MPH, Sele May Aso, Sheila Robinson and Donna McGowan made this event a beautiful rainbow that it is with their various awesome colours and speeches.
We concluded African Women in Leadership Diaspora Conference 2017 in a gettogether event hosted by the wife of the Consulate General of Nigeria in Atlanta, Mrs. Idowu Laro.
Like I said earlier, AWLC to me is a legacy. A converge with an African flavor, in the spirit of gender parity and development, to see to the emergence of effective female leadership. I believe it is history being made every year, and I am humbled to be leading this movement.