panafest_photoThe Diaspora African Forum (DAF) and the African Communication Agency (ACA) will present the Sixth Africa’s International Media Summit (AIMS) and the Diaspora Conference in Accra, Ghana on the 22nd and 23rd of this July. The AIMS conference coincides with Ghana’s PANAFEST Emancipation Day Festival that happens on the 23rd of July through 1st of August. PANAFEST is put by the Ghana Ministry of tourism. Both events come together to make Ghana the place to be for culture and heritage celebrations.

AIMS’ theme this year is ‘The Impact of the African Diaspora on the Image of Africa' in keeping with its belief that the media is the major singular organ that will guarantee the continent’s current rebirth and development efforts will manifest into a positive image for the continent.  Also supported by the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Ghana Ministry of Tourism, a purpose of the conference includes expressing gratitude to the media of the Diaspora for their role in changing the image of Africa. AIMS will have roundtable discussions between major media partners such as CNN, BBC, Reuters, Associated Press and Africa Recruit to help ensure effective attempts in conveying Africa in a positive light to the global community.

bennettDr. Erieka Bennett, founder of Diaspora African Forum says that “Re-Branding Africa” in consonance with its emerging and promising rebirth, is a systematic and continuous process. “Therefore, Africa’s International Media Summit is being proposed as a ten-year process that will rotate around the various regions of Africa and internationally, in order to yield and measure tangible results and action,” she said. “Because the World Bank conferences have been successful during the past five conferences, there will be a quarterly re-branding telecast from the banks around the world.”

In attendance will be stakeholders in the media industry, top journalists from all over the world, with the responsibility of reporting news regarding the impact of the African Diaspora on the image of Africa. Also expected to attend will be individuals and organisations from the Diaspora who continuously contribute to the socio-economic development of Africa. Organizations and Institutions such as the Ghana Government, the African Union, the African Development Bank (ADB), The African Development Roundtable (ADR) and the Government of South Africa have continued to show their support and affirm commitment to the promotion of a positive image for Africa.

On the first evening of the conference, there will be the “Salute the African Diaspora Awards" banquet where H. E. John Evans Atta-Mills will be the Guest of Honor. Past honorees since have included Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa; Secretary General Kofi Annan, Former Secretary General of the UN; H.E. Ruth Sando Perry, Former President of Liberia; Professor Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laurent; H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President of Nigeria; H.E. Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Former Secretary of Commonwealth and Muhammad Ali, Former World’s Heavy Weight Champion.

The PANAFEST/ Emancipation celebration two-week event will kick off on July 23 with wreath laying ceremonies at the Du Bois Centre, George Padmore Library and the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park. An international concert featuring great musicians will be held later that evening.  With  the theme: “Re-Uniting the African Family: Challenges and Prospects,” this year's event will re-examine the role of the great African ancestors, their pioneering spirit of promoting Pan African liberation and unity, as well as valiant contemporary efforts to innovate individuals, communities and countries to bring into being an alternative world. PANAFEST is a powerful event aimed at reawakening Africans in the Diaspora to retrace their steps to the motherland as well as offer them the opportunity to renew their bonds with their Ghanaian counterparts.
ghana-menGhana’s Minister for Tourism, Ms Akua Sena Dansua has called on the media to support this year's PANAFEST so as to ensure a successful PANAFEST/
Emancipation Day celebration. She emphasized that the Emancipation Day is a continuous call to all Africans and people of African descent to become more committed to the emancipation of the entire African continent from slavery, especially, in areas where it exists in and to engage ourselves more meaningfully in the development of the African continent. "Alongside the healing process, PANAFEST celebrates the strengths and resilience of the African culture and achievement of Africans in spite of the transatlantic slave trade and its aftermath. It is designed to help Africans to reconnect their strengths and thus, rededicate themselves to fully assuming their own destiny in recognition of the lessons of history," says Minister Dansua.

The AIMS and PANAFEST events will be followed by a grand durbar of Chiefs and People of Cape Coast, on Monday, July 25, and will be witnessed by Chiefs and Queen Mothers from other parts of the country and from all walks of life. Other events lined-up include visits to historical sites in Cape Coast and Elmina, the symbolic crossing of the River Pra, a Redemption March, and a Reverential Night which includes a candle light procession through the Cape Coast Castle. The celebrations will climax with the Emancipation Day Celebration at Assin Manso on the first of August.

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Photo: Dr. Erieka Bennett, founder of Diaspora Africa Forum.