It is my honor, privilege and pleasure to welcome you all, great African Women of Worth, to this year’s conference. I extend greetings from our regional offices worldwide, whose members are unable to be with us, for reasons which we well understand.
Today’s gathering evokes a deep and intense feeling of appreciation and gratitude to Almighty God. Many years ago, precisely in 2009, the African Women in Leadership Organization (AWLO), berthed in Ghana for the very first time on its maiden voyage at this same Hotel. It was then referred to as the West African Women in Leadership Conference (WAWLC).
As many of you know, we were young, filled with dreams, excited at the specter of new beginnings, totally blinded, but hopeful of the future. It is obvious and interesting to note that we have, along the way, shelved the limitations of a regional association to embrace the diversity presented amongst all women of African descent. AWLO welcomes change. AWLO drives change. AWLO thrives on change!
Why do I say blinded, you may ask? Who really, amongst humanity can lay claim to such powers of clairvoyance except the omnipotent, omniscience and omnipresent God who directs our paths? We have travelled these number of years guided, led, sustained and powered only by His mercies. We have set new precedents, traversed Continents and planted regional chapters across the shores of many countries. Wherever we’ve berthed, our focus has not deviated from our primary purpose of integrating, empowering and motivating African Women everywhere across the world; unleashing the power and inspiring greatness.
We salute our host country, Ghana; positioned on the threshold of fresh leadership under the newly elected President, Nana Akufo-Addo and his amiable wife, Her Excellency Rebecca Akufo-Addo, who kindly granted us audience and assured AWLO of not only attending the conference but accepted to open the gathering with a keynote address. Thank you, Your Excellency, for this singular honor and recognition.
Together, our focus on how women can actively play a part in economic diversification under a new economic and development agenda for Africa has become a driving compulsion of unwavering desire and steadfast hope. The future, a great one for African Women beckons as we write our names in the annals of history as initiators and drivers of positive change. More than ever before, for the sake of our youths and children, we need to lay a firmer, stronger and deeper foundation for the future that will encourage their potentials to be effectively and efficiently harnessed.
How do we unleash the latent power within us?
A favorite quote by Tim Fargo reminds us that, “Until you cross the bridge of your insecurities, you can’t begin to explore your possibilities.” We all have a voice. We need to be heard. We need to overcome our fears, insecurities and the stereotypes that hold us back. Therein lies our power to inspire others to greatness. In marking this years United Nations International Women’s Day, the world heard the echoes of the theme, “#Be Bold For Change” on every lips. It was a call that struck deep inside my heart. I realized then, that greatness is actually a possibility that is fully explored.
Therefore, in choosing our theme for this conference, AWLO understands that “Unleashing the Power”, requires boldness; a steady affirmation of positive motive and confidence. It is courage dressed for purpose. It is a voice raised from inner belief to address change. Interestingly, AWLO had years ago, painfully realized that some women need to fight for this right; to find their authentic selves long buried underneath other people’s needs and societal stereotypes. This need for self expression remains the fulcrum of our mission, the underlying motivation for our vision, and the driving force of our goals.
How do we inspire greatness?
The truth is, in order to unleash the power, everyone deserves somebody who helps them look forward to tomorrow with courage and hope. Within someone else’s story of fear, struggle, doggedness, awakening and transformation that our speakers reveal during our conferences, life becomes a mirror whereby we can see clearly. When we listen to them, their experiences and challenges quickens, clarifies, illuminates and validates the path to choose for change in our career, business, leadership goals and plans for future growth and achievements. In this way, we become great assets to Africa, and indeed the world.
Looking ahead in excitement to next year, it gives me great honor to announce that AWLO will celebrate its decade long existence and achievements in the grand style that is typical of all our events. Together, we will mark the highlights, milestones and ideals that characterize our organization. We will light a torch of commendation for our partners, decorate our patrons and matrons, award medals of recognition to our state and regional coordinators, and applaud our members with accolades. May, the day come! I confess to being over excited already, just speaking about this.
I invite you all, dear delegates to enjoy the pleasure and history of this great country. Let her strengths summon your strength. Let her quest for transformation rouse yours. Let her conflicts unravel your conflicts. Let her resolutions call forth your hope. Let her journey in history unleash the power, and inspire the greatness within you all.
I thank you for your patience and kind audience.
Great African Women of Worth, I salute you!