World Leaders Celebrate a 'New Africare for a New Africa' at One of the Nation's Largest Gala's for Sub-Saharan Africa
Vale Receives Corporate Leadership Award, Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Honored
WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2011
WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Africare, the oldest non-profit organization in the United States working solely in Sub-Saharan Africa, welcomed nearly 1,000 leaders from government, business and international development organizations at the Africare Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner in Washington, DC to celebrate a renewed investment in a "New Africa." The gala, one of the nation's largest annual fundraisers for Sub-Saharan Africa, honored former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil's Vale, the world's second largest diversified mining company, and Donald F. McHenry, former Ambassador to the United Nations and Chairman Emeritus of Africare, for their respective leadership and commitment to investment and development in Africa.
"We celebrate Africa—a fast changing, rapidly globalizing and rising Africa [that] is making real economic, social and political progress," said Dr. Darius Mans, President of Africare, during his official gala remarks. "This 'New Africa' needs strong and willing partners—like Vale—to ensure that Africa's progress is not only sustained, but that it continues to grow so that all people of this great continent prosper."
The Former Brazilian President Lula, unable to attend due to recent illness, was also honored with Africare's Leadership Award for his countless contributions in trade, investment and diplomatic relations between Brazil and Africa. Lula continues his dedication and commitment to growing African partnerships through his new foundation called the Institute Lula. In Lula's speech, read by the Brazilian Ambassador to the United States, he said that "Brazil wishes to broaden its ties with Africa and to cooperate in the spirit of solidarity, so that the continent can find its path towards economic progress and social justice." He highlighted Africare's motto "improving lives, building futures" as reflective of what development organizations need to be achieving, and noted the great similarities between Africare's development goals and those of his own since the beginning of his public life.
Vale received Africare's Corporate Award for its staunch efforts to enhance the health, nourishment, empowerment and employment of the African people. Vale's operating objective is to ensure that local communities share in the growth and prosperity of its mining operations. In Mozambique, for example, they have created a foundation, headquartered in Maputo, which has supported health, agriculture, education and made infrastructure investments for a railway and a new port terminal on the northern coast of the country.
"Through local investments in local communities, we hope to act as a catalyst for sustainable economic growth across the continent of Africa," said Rafael Tiago Juk Benke, Vale's Global Head of Corporate Affairs. "We are deeply honored to receive this award from Africare, and proud to work alongside such organizations that are so committed to a growing and changing Africa."
The Africare Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner is held each year in memory of Bishop John T. Walker, the first African- American Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C. and Africare's longtime Board Chair. Bishop Walker distinguished himself as an exemplar of peace, justice and interracial harmony. The dinner plays an important role in enabling Africare to both broaden awareness about its work in Africa and to raise critically needed funds to deliver life-saving services. This year's dinner is made possible by the generosity of Vale, ExxonMobil, Chevron and The Coca-Cola Company as well as many others from the business community.
Past recipients of the Bishop Walker Humanitarian Service Award include His Excellency Nelson R. Mandela, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, former National Council of Negro Women Chair and President Emeritus, the late Dr. Dorothy I. Height, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates.
Africare is a leading non-profit organization specializing in African development assistance to improve the quality of life in Africa. It is also the oldest and largest African-American led organization in that field. Since its founding in 1970, Africare has delivered over $1 billion in assistance and support — with over 2,500 projects and millions of beneficiaries — to 36 countries Africa-wide. These projects have reached 6.5 million direct beneficiaries and approximately 30 million indirect beneficiaries. Africare has its international headquarters in Washington, D.C., with field offices currently in some 20 African countries.