DAKAR, Senegal (Dec. 15) – Today the World Summit of Mayors convened, bringing together mayors from the United States and across the world with the goal of meeting the initiatives of the African Renaissance.
The meeting at the Le Meridien President Hotel came almost one year to the anniversary of the World Festival of Black Arts and Culture. The sessions bring members of the National Conference of Black Mayors together with city representatives from Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America.
The Summit is hosted by President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal. He also facilitated the signing in June of an agreement between 12 African-American and 12 Senegalese mayors for twinning cities and to include other partners to create linkages to the Diaspora.
The conference has four dimensions – education, culture, Pan African intellectuals and mayors and municipalities. These groups are led respectively by Professor Leonard Jeffries of City University of New York, actor Richard Gant of Los Angeles, Dr. Julius Garvey, son of Marcus Garvey, and Robert Bowser, president of the National Conference of Black Mayors.
Opening ceremonies were held Thursday and were to be followed by a reception at the palace of Wade. However, the reception was cancelled because of a death in the family of a high-ranking official.
The Friday agenda includes discussions on decentralized cooperation, followed by tours of Goree Island with its Door of No Return on Sunday with a trip to the African Renaissance Monument, and sessions with a focus on education scheduled for Monday.
(Deirdre M. Childress is the immediate past Vice President-Print of the National Association of Black Journalists.)