NUCGroup1femiOn the heels of the first ever historic 50 Nigerian Vice Chancellors (Nigerian University Presidents) Conference hosted by the AD King Foundation in Atlanta, Dr. Babs Onabanjo, organizer of the conference and CEO of the AD King Foundation is ready to present the next conference to be held this August 30th through September 5, 2015. With the Gala taking place on September 4th, the next Nigerian Chancellor Entrepreneurial conference will host at least 29 other Vice-Chancellors to Atlanta with the same agenda and mission as the first one.  Upon the success of the past conference, Dr. Onabanjo is excited about the next upcoming Chancellor’s conference and he is looking forward to another effective event.

The Chancellor’s mission for the conferences is to observe strategies of colleges and businesses in Atlanta that are successfully using entrepreneurial models which directly affect young leaders and entrepreneurs and to replicate these models in Nigeria. Dr. Onabanjo answered the call that was initiated in collaboration with ARA-Rock Ltd. of Nigeria, the partner company that spearheaded this mission. The conference which was 8 years in the making accomplished its goals and the Chancellors were pleased with the results of their observations, networking, collaborations and partnerships that were formed during the conference. 

As Nigeria attempts to diversify away from dependence on oil, the Chancellors as well as other Nigerian leaders understand how important entrepreneurship is to the future of the Nigerian economy. They believe that the way to start preparing future business owners and developers is through equipping colleges and universities with entrepreneurship programs for training.  Because at least 60% of graduates from Nigerian universities are not able to get immediate employment, many of these graduates seek entrepreneurial ventures, but have not been adequately prepared to face the challenges of owning your own business. 

nigerianprez“Thus it has become necessary for the institutes of higher learning to put “entrepreneurial studies” into the curriculum to develop skills that will help these graduates set up and develop their own businesses,” according to Dr. Babs Onabanjo, who is not only the co-founder and CEO of the AD King Foundation, but also a college professor.  A community activist and organizer, Dr. Onabanjo has worked to enhance opportunities for youth and young adults since he came to Atlanta in 1980. He has been initiating youth empowerment activities ever since and in 2009 he presented the first parade; 1st A D King Youth Empowerment Parade.. Also a filmmaker, Dr. Onabanjo produced the civil rights documentary “Behold the Dream: Brother to the Dream, a compelling story on the life and legacy of Rev. A.D. King

Dr. Onabanjo, who has served as chair of his college curriculum department and vice-president of Henry County Southern Christian Leadership Conference, believes that colleges implementing entrepreneurial curriculums is a way to help turn the economy around and foster black employment. “We must learn to be job makers instead of just job takers,” explains Dr. Onabanjo, who as founding producer helped to launch the first-ever African Diaspora World Tourism Awards and Travel Expo that honored movers and shakers in black cultural heritage tourism.


African Diaspora (AD) Tourism caught up with Dr. Babs Onabanjo to speak with him about how he convened the Atlanta Nigerian Chancellors Entrepreneurial Conference and what this monumental conference means:

AD Tourism 1) How did the Atlanta-based AD King Foundation get involved with The Nigerian Chancellors Entrepreneurial Conference and its mission?

dr. babsDr. Onabanjo – “The AD King Foundation answered the call of the mission of the Nigerian Chancellors that was initiated in collaboration with Ara Rock LTD. Partners of Nigeria.  The mission of AD King Foundation and the recently formed AD King Institute is in line with the conference activities as it attempts to address the systemic problems of graduate youth unemployment, and a paradigm shift from dependency to self-sufficiency mind set and from seeking employment to creating wealth, employment, problem solving, opportunities and building enterprises of magnificent dimensions through practical entrepreneurship models.

The Chancellor’s Entrepreneurial Conference addresses the problem of black dependency in an effort to promote black economic empowerment through business ownership. The AD King convened this conference to allow the Nigerian educators to observe and learn about strategies of colleges and businesses in Atlanta that are successfully using entrepreneurial models so that they can replicate such methods in Nigerian Universities. The role of the conference is to formulate partnerships with potential US based businesses and to identity potential opportunities.

The Nigerian Government established National University Commission as a regulatory body for the development of public tertiary institutions in Nigeria. The new government is fully committed to entrepreneurial training as part of college curriculums.  There are 79 universities sponsored by the Federal Government throughout the states in Nigeria that can serve as incubators for research and development in such areas as technology, agriculture, energy power, manufacturing and marketing.  The role of the conference is to also formulate partnerships with potential US based businesses and to identity potential opportunities. Fifty leaders of the 79 universities attended this conference and the other 29 will attend the upcoming conference in July.


AD Tourism - 2) You said that the vision of Nigeria is to become one of the world’s top 20 economies during the next two decades. How do you think colleges and schools can best play a part in helping Nigeria to reach this goals?

Dr. Onabanjo - It is important that universities, colleges and institutes of higher learning create centers for entrepreneurship on every campus, supporting creation of startup businesses through research and development. These educational institutes can set up incubators, accelerators, co-sharing spaces, provide mentoring, coaching, advisors and experts to support innovative entrepreneurship programs and activities. Colleges must commit to helping students and graduates who are risk takers, who want to create their own wealth through business ownership and development. Colleges must drastically change to develop the necessary entrepreneurial curriculums that will help to ensure success of these business minded young leaders.  

Much of what is learned in Nigerian universities follows a colonial curriculum that trains students to sustain a European economy and students graduate to seek jobs. Universities need to develop entrepreneurial curriculums to promote our own economic development so the students will become job makers instead of job takers. With the largest population of blacks in the world being in Nigeria, the country is the best place to start changing the colonial mentality to one of self-sufficiency.

AD Tourism - 3) According to what you know about Rev. AD King, what do you think his feelings would be about having such a conference with his name attached?  What were Ms. Naomi's King’s feelings and impressions? 

Dr. Onabanjo - Rev A D Williams King would be proud because he lived a dedicated and committed life to serving and building a beloved community of hope, love and humanity. Mrs. Naomi King was elated and delighted for the vision, mission strategies and profound activities and successful implementation of the foundation’s program.

AD Tourism - 4)   I know that the Vice Chancellors’ mission was to visit and observe strategies of colleges and businesses that are successfully using entrepreneurial models which directly affect young leaders and entrepreneurs. How did they go about doing this when they were in Atlanta? What are some of the colleges and businesses they collaborated with at the conference?

Dr. Onabanjo - The colleges were Kennesaw State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta Metropolitan State College, Clayton State University, Clark Atlanta University and University of Georgia. The companies include Cocoa Cola, Black On Purpose TV, Opportunity Hub Atlanta, Delta Airlines, Acqaponic Gardens, Atlanta Wealth Management, Georgia Work Ready, Chic Fil-A and Trumpet Awards Foundation. There were partnership agreements initiated with Georgia Tech, and University of Georgia. Other initiatives including Solar Power and Shea Butter are in progress. There were also film production collaborations, and collaborations regarding Distant Learning projects.  

AD Tourism:  5) How will the next conference in July follow-up or be different to this past conference? 

Dr. OnabanjoThe past event and Gala was attended by great minds and industry leaders. Among them were the Trumpet Awards Founder and Chief Executive Officer Xenona Clayton, the Nigerian Consul General Ambassador Geoffrey Teneilabe.  It was also attended by representatives from several colleges and businesses. In July we plan to involve even more interactions with CEO’s and presidents of large corporations, especially the fortune 500 companies. We plan to include a host of city and government officials in the conference. We will explore more potential opportunities, create more collaborations and work together as teams.  At least 30 other Vice-Chancellors will participate in the next conference in the same way that the 50 at the past event participated.  We anticipate another successful conference.

For more information about the AD King Foundation and the upcoming Nigerian Vice-Chancellors Entrepreneurial Conference, visit


Behind the walls of Liberty Bank and Trust lies a treasure trove of African-American art - the passion of bank President and CEO, Alden C. McDonald Jr.     

Thanks to Bonnie Warren for reporting this in Biz New Orleans


Alden J. McDonald Jr., president and CEO of Liberty Bank and Trust, stands in front of a wall of windows in his office overlooking New Orleans East. 
  (Photo: Cheryl Gerber)

NEW ORLEANS - Alden J. McDonald Jr. has been a trailblazer all of his life. As president and CEO of Liberty Bank & Trust Co. - one of the top three African-American-owned financial institutions in the United States - McDonald is nationally recognized as an advocate and catalyst in the movement to bring minority businesses into the mainstream economy.

"It has been a privilege to be a part of spearheading dynamic changes in New Orleans that have been a positive force in the lives of so many of its citizens," he says, as he sits in his spacious office on the sixth floor of Liberty Bank's headquarters in eastern New Orleans.

The executive offices serve as a showcase for museum-quality art, including paintings, photographs and statues, all from prominent black artists in New Orleans and around the

The bank occupies a modern, six-story building just off I-10 in New Orleans East.

United States. Among the standouts are life-size statues of children by Woodrow Nash in a park-like setting. They stand in front of the elevator bank in the spacious atrium, welcoming visitors to the modern building.


"Promoting African-American artists has been a long-time quest of mine," he says.

A partial list of the noted artists in the collection include well-known Louisiana artists such as Clementine Hunter, Louisiana's venerable, self-taught plantation artist who lived to be more than 100 years old; the late John T. Scott, winner of a $315,000 MacArthur Fellowship, commonly called the genius award; and the late Bruce Brice, whose work was a well-known fixture at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival for many years. Other outstanding New Orleans artists in the collection include Terrance Osborne and Richard Thomas.


Woodrow Nash created the sculptures of African-American children that grace the atrium of the Liberty Bank and Trust Company's headquarters.

Liberty Bank's offices include a large storage room used as an art depository. Here, Civil Rights photographs hang on the walls amid a variety of work by noted artists. The room is so full that art has been stacked against the wall and in neat piles on the floor.

McDonald lights up when he talks about the treasures the bank has gathered.

"We never stop collecting - our plan is to open a special museum filled with work to honor African-American artists and photographers in the Liberty Bank building at Canal and North Broad streets," he says. "It is right on the bus and streetcar lines where the rich and poor will be able to come and enjoy the beauty of the work of generations of talented African-Americans."

Penny Francis of Eclectic Home on Oak Street, was charged with the interior design of the executive offices. Francis' challenge included incorporating much of the bank's extensive art collection - which now numbers over 350 items - into the design of each individual space.

McDonald's private office features a wall of windows that overlook land that remains vacant since Hurricane Katrina. He keeps a neat desk backed by orderly bookshelves. An array of photos, including several with President Barack Obama, are displayed on a credenza behind his desk. Family photos include his father-in-law, Judge Revius Ortique, a well-known Civil Rights leader and the first African-American Chief Judge to serve on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Photos of the McDonalds' three children - Heidi, Alden "Chip" III and Todd - along with their spouses and children, also have a place of honor. 


Lisa Matthews created this unique chessboard of Civil Rights icons, including President and Mrs. Barack Obama, Mr. and Mrs. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Cornell West and Jesse Jackson.

McDonald also displays his many awards, which include the Loving Cup award from The Times-Picayune, Fortune magazine's "Portraits of Power," and many honors bestowed on him by Black Enterprise magazine.

A graduate of Louisiana State University's School of Banking and Columbia University's Commercial Banking Management Program, McDonald began his career in 1966 at the International City Bank in New Orleans as the first African-American hired in the banking industry in Louisiana.

"Dr. Norman Francis, president of Xavier University, came to me when I was just 29 years old and said we needed to start an African-American-owned bank in New Orleans," McDonald recalls. The Bank & Trust Company was founded in 1972.

A gallery of portraits of McDonald's family behind his desk also includes a photo of him with President Obama.

McDonald has remained president and CEO of the bank since its inception. Today he ranks as the longest-tenured African-American financial executive in the country, with Liberty Bank growing from its initial asset base of $2 million to more than $600 million today.

"We are still growing - our most recent move was to acquire the First Tuskegee Bank through a merger agreement," he says. "It was an important step for us." Liberty Bank now has financial operations in eight states: Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Kansas, Missouri and Alabama.

Noted as a business and civic leader, McDonald has received many awards for his service on local, regional and national boards, including tenure with Fannie Mae, the FDIC Advisory Committee on Economic Inclusion, and the American, Louisiana, and National Bankers Associations. He is a former chairman of the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, a member of the New Orleans Business Council, the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and the Port Authority of New Orleans, and he is a founding member and former chairman of the New Orleans Neighborhood Development Foundation (NDF), that has placed more than 3,000 first-time homebuyers into homes.

Clay statues of musicians by Lisa Matthews.

"I see the future as very positive for Liberty Bank & Trust Company," McDonald says. "We will continue the rapid expansion plan that we began 10 years ago."
He says he's confident about the city's future.

"New Orleans has come a long way since Hurricane Katrina, and Liberty Bank & Trust was one of the aggressive forces in the city's rebuilding efforts. We have enjoyed some of our most successful and profitable years since Katrina, and we are poised to enjoy even greater growth in the future."


McDonald's favorite bronze statue of a Tuskegee airman is displayed on the coffee table in front of the couch in his office.


Source Biz New Orleans 
Dr. Kara Tucina Olidge
Dr. Kara Tucina Olidge. Photo by Paul Burch-Celentano. Courtesy of Tulane University.

NEW ORLEANS - May was a busy month of transition at the Amistad Research Center as it recently welcomed Dr. Kara Tucina Olidge as the Center's new Executive Director. 

Dr. Olidge is a scholar, arts and educational administrator, and the former Deputy Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a branch of the New York Public Library based in Harlem. Prior to joining the Schomburg in 2012, she served as the Director of the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a nonprofit organization serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in Newark, New Jersey. Her scholarly work focuses on the intersection of art, critical cosmopolitanism, and community activism. Dr. Olidge has curated art exhibits for emerging artists of color and given lectures on the intersection of arts and activism and arts-centered literacy.

Born in New Orleans, Dr. Olidge completed her education studies with a regent's diploma from John McDonogh #35 and received the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation I Have a Dream Scholarship. She graduated from Spelman College in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in Philosophy with a minor in Art History. During her time in Atlanta, she began her educational work as a library principal assistant at the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System where she assisted the community in enhancing literacy skills.

Dr. Olidge received a Master of Arts in Arts Administration from the University of New Orleans in 2000 and received the Marcus B. Christian Graduate Scholarship. Her thesis, "Stella Jones Gallery: Organizational Analysis and Suggested Marketing Plan," analyzed the organizational structure and cultures of Stella Jones Gallery as it related to her internship as Managing Director during which she developed a marketing plan to support, expose, and expand the mission of the organization. During her time in graduate school, she became involved in the arts community in New Orleans, including becoming the Director of Education for the Shakespeare Festival at Tulane University and the Visual Arts Curator at the Amistad Research Center.

In 2000, Dr. Olidge was one of four emerging arts administrators selected for the National Arts Administration Mentorship Program where Edmund Cardoni, Executive Director of Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, mentored her. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy at The State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY Buffalo) in 2010, where she was awarded the Mark Diamond Research Grant for her doctoral work. Her dissertation, Critical Cosmopolitanism and the Intellectual Work of Alain Locke, explored how Alain Locke's educational experiences and sexuality influenced his deployment of critical cosmopolitanism in his work as a Black educator and cultural activist. 

While working on her Ph.D. at SUNY Buffalo, she served as the Program Director of Community and College Connections at the Educational Opportunity Center, Senior Program Officer of Good Schools for All at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, and the Legacy for Tomorrow Program Director at the Arts Council in Buffalo & Erie County.

Olidge worked on the Queer Newark Oral History Project Committee with co-chair Darnell L. Moore. She also served as a member of the Essex County Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Advisory Board, the first county-level board of its kind in New Jersey, and the finance chair of the Newark-Essex Pride Coalition. She was recently appointed a board member of CLAGS: The Center for LGBTQ Studies, a nonprofit organization under the City University of New York. She was previously the Board Development Committee Chair and the Planning Committee Co-Chair at the Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center between 2008-2010.


Amistad Research CenterAmistad Research Center

The Amistad Research Center is the nation's oldest, largest and most comprehensive independent archive specializing in the history of African Americans and other Ethnic Minorities.

The Best Entrepreneurship Conference Ever for Nigerian Universities attended by 50 Vice Chancellors

nigerianprezThe A.D. King Foundation recently hosted 50 Nigerian Vice Chancellors (Nigerian University Presidents) to Atlanta Georgia on Monday May 17-23, 2015. The Chancellor’s mission was to visit and observe strategies of colleges and businesses that are successfully using entrepreneurial models which directly affect young leaders and entrepreneurs and to replicate these models in Nigeria was a great success. (The Vice Chancellors testimonies can be found on YouTube unrehearsed.)

The Gala was attended by great minds and industry leaders. Among them were the Trumpet Award Founder and Chief Executive Officer Xenona Clayton, Chic-Fil-A representative and the Nigerian Consul General Ambassador Geoffrey Teneilabe.The Nigerian economy, historically, has depended significantly on oil revenues. Dr. Babs Onabanjo Co-founder/ CEO of the AD King Foundation and convener of this conference said that it was an honor to host such a first time historical event. Ms. Naomi King, sister in law of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. also graced the event. 

As the country tries to diversify away from dependence on oil forward thinking Nigerian leaders understand how important entrepreneurship is to the future of the Nigerian economy. The vision of Nigeria is to become one of the world’s top 20 economies during the next two decades. Currently, it is rated as the largest economy in Africa with GPD estimate at 515.431 billion dollars, followed by Egypt and South Africa with GPD estimate at $324.267 and $323.809 respectively. Nigeria has a population of about 173,600,000 (2013)In order tto hit that target by 2020, Nigeria will need to increasingly globalize education in two key areas: Information and communications technology, and entrepreneurship.

At least 60% of graduates are not able to get employment immediately. Because of that, people go into one entrepreneurial venture or another, but unfortunately they have not been adequately prepared to face the challenges of venturing. It has become necessary for the Educators of higher learning to put “entrepreneurial studies” into the curriculum in developing these graduates.There are a few factors that present challenges to Nigeria’s entrepreneurs; Markets, Infrastructure, lack of vision and dreams, Access to Financing, Production, Reform/Regulations and Entrepreneurial curriculum.The conference successfully identified areas of collaboration with US businesses, mentors and advisers that will foster economic growth and development in the areas of power supply, technology, agriculture, manufacturing, marketing, and funding strategies and opportunities.

NUCGroup1femiThe next entrepreneurship conference is scheduled for July 27- August 1, 2015. Dr. Onanbanjo said that he is expecting about 30 Vice Chancellors to participate. For more information visit






Photo:(rt) Dr. and Ms. Onabanjo, Ms. Naomi King and a few event attendees.

carThe National Park Service announced today that Perini Management Services was awarded a $5.6 million contract to begin restoring the Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site. This contract is for the first phase of a three-phase project. Phase one will restore the interior and exterior of Dr. Woodson's home and stabilize the adjacent buildings.
"This is a major step in opening Dr. Woodson's home for people to visit," Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail said. "The National Park Service is committed to sharing our nation's history, and restoring, preserving and opening his home will help people learn about and honor Dr. Woodson's work and legacy."
Phase one of construction will begin in early June 2015 and is expected to last 12-18 months. Once this phase is complete, the public will be able to visit the Woodson Home on a limited basis through pre-arranged tours.carter
About Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site: Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site at 1538 9th Street, N.W., was Dr. Woodson's home from 1915 to 1950. Dr. Woodson founded The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). Dr. Woodson, called the "Father of Black History," founded the association to ensure the continuance of the study of African American history. The Carter G. Woodson Home NHS served as the national headquarters of the Association until the early 1970s. The home was designated a National Historic Landmark on May 11, 1976, and on February 27, 2006, it became part of the national park system.


mauritius prez
(l) Seychelles Minister Alain St. Ange congratulates Xavier Luc Duval the Deputy Prime Minister of Mauritius as new President of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands.
First it was Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister of Tourism and Culture who after two consecutive mandates was followed by President Didier Robert of Reunion and then Minister Ulrich Andriantiana, the Madagascar Minister of Tourism, Transport and Meteorology and now at the Region's Ministerial Meeting held at the Westin Resort at Balaclava in Mauritius it was the Deputy Prime Minister of Mauritius, Mr Xavier Luc Duval who has taken over as President of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands.
It was Pascal Viroleau, the CEO of the Vanilla Islands who acted as meeting facilitator for this 2015 Ministerial Meeting of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands that was attended by Minister Ulrich Andriantiana, the Madagascar Minister of Tourism, Transport and Meteorology, Deputy Prime Minister Xavier Luc Duval, who is also the Minister of Tourism and External Communications, Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister of Tourism and Culture, President Didier Robert, the President of the Region of Reunion and Madame Fatimatie Razafinatoandro, the President of the Mayotte Tourism.
Following the Ministerial Meeting of the 10 June  Xavier Luc Duval, the Deputy Prime Minister of Mauritius was handed the Vanilla Islands Flag as Patrick Victor, the well known Seychelles artist sung his 'Koste Pep L'Ocean Indien" song in the presence of most of the Mauritian and Indian Ocean press.
"This is a great day for the Vanilla Islands. In unity we are strong. Creating a new tourism region is no easy feat, but together we shall continue to work as a region as brothers and sisters to grow our tourism industry for the benefit of our respective islanders and for the economy of our respective islands" Minister Alain St.Ange of the Seychelles said as he congratulated Xavier Luc Duval, the Deputy Prime Minister of Mauritius and as he assured him of the total support of Seychelles.  mauritius    

rihannaPop star Rihanna danced to Cuban music and sampled local cuisine on an impromptu visit to Havana, the latest big name from the US music scene to visit the island, Agence France Presse reports.

Rihanna, who hails from Barbados, arrived “on the fly, as we Cubans say,” for an unscheduled visit, said Ernesto Blanco, the owner of the Restaurante-Paladar La Fontana, where she dined and danced on Wednesday night shortly after flying to the island.

“She specifically asked to eat Cuban food,” he disclosed. The Umbrella singer ate black beans, grilled chorizos and a local dish called “grandma’s steak,” online magazine OnCuba said on its Facebook page. She then jigged to “classic Cuban music” by the restaurant’s in-house band, it said.

Rumours had been circulating in Cuba that Rihanna was on her way to the island to film her next music video. Blanco said Rihanna, 27, was travelling with four people, plus her bodyguards. As a Barbadian national, Rihanna is not subject to US restrictions on travel to Cuba.

But she faces the same obstacles as other US residents to travel to the communist island, which commercial airlines cannot service directly from the US under the 1962 embargo. President Barack Obama has eased restrictions on travel to Cuba as part of the landmark rapprochement that he and his counterpart Raul Castro announced last December. But currently only approved charter flights can connect the two countries.

Rihanna’s visit comes after pop diva Beyonce and her rapper husband Jay Z travelled to Cuba in April 2013 to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary.


Source: Repeating Islands

For the original report go to

Indaba: Uganda wins best African exhibitor award


Uganda wins best African exhibitor award at the recently- concluded INDABA Tourism Expo in Durban South Africa 2015.

At the INDABA tourism exhibition held in Durban, South Africa, Uganda won the best exhibitor on the African continent beating Rwanda and Kenya to second and third place respectively.

The accolade has eluded Uganda for several exhibitions in Europe including World Travel Market London and ITB Berlin, with the closest Uganda getting third at ITB a 2013.

This is the second year Uganda is attending INDABA , joining Kenya which took the lead in negotiating to be part of the expo previously reserved for SADC countries. Tanzania already a member of East African Community for her part has had her foot in INDABA for a while now.

Having sponsored the ATTA (Africa Travel Tourism Association) cocktail the previous evening, this could have been a premonition for good fortune to come the following day. As an elated Uganda Tourism Board C.E.O Stephen Asiimwe said’ The award should be able to boost Uganda’s standing among long haul destinations in the region to applause from excited tour operators at the Uganda stand.

According to Barbara Adoso Vanhelleputte ,the Chairperson A.U.T.O (Association of Uganda Tour Operators ) , INDABA is Africa’s premium expo that all international buyers who attend are interested in selling Africa which gives the award more impetus for Uganda .

INDABA is the largest tourism marketing event on the African calendar and one of the top three ‘must visit’ events of its kind on the global calendar.

Source: ETurbo News

drmyersRev. Dr. Ron Meyers, the leader of the Modern Day Juneteenth Movement has once again urged people of African descent and others to ask President Obama and Congress to make Juneteenth, June 19th a National Day of Observance. “As I’ve always said, we are not asking for a paid holiday, just a day of observance like Patriot’s Day or Flag’s Day. We want this to be a day of peace and world reconciliation from the legacy of slavery,” says Dr. Myers, who is the chairman of the National Juneteenth Foundation.

Dr. Myers is gravely concerned about President Obama not paying homage to Juneteenth as he has Cinco De Mayo.  “As in previous years, President Obama hosted a Cinco de Mayo reception at the White House. The same cannot be said about Juneteenth. President Obama has also issued a 2015 White House Greek American Independence Day Proclamation where he honored and recognized the Greek contributions and legacy to the building of America, yet still remains silent about the Juneteenth Independence Day and the contributions and legacy of enslaved Africans."  

Juneteenth, or the "19th of June", recognizes June 19, 1865, in Galveston, TX, when Union General Gordon Granger announced freedom for all slaves in the last southern state in rebellion following the end of the Civil War. This occurred more than two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln. Upon the reading of General Order #3 by General Granger, the former slaves celebrated jubilantly, establishing America's second Independence Day Celebration and the oldest African American national holiday observance.   


This year is very significant in that, 2015 marks the Juneteenth's 150th anniversary of United States black freedom from slavery. obama


"We are still waiting for a response from President Obama about participating in our 15th Annual 2015 WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH Nation Holiday Observance and to recognize the Americans of African descent who built the White House during the tyranny of enslavement by hosting a Juneteenth Reception (like he did for Cinco de Mayo)."

In 2014, the U.S. Senate, through the unanimous passage of  S.R. 474, officially declared the "19th of June" as Juneteenth Independence Day in AmericaIn 2015, President Obama and the U.S. Congress need to make this a permanent declaration by passing legislation to make the "19th of June"and Juneteenth, a National Day of Observance in America, like Flag Day or Patriot Day

President Barack Obama, who did not acknowledge the significance of Juneteenth in 2014, continues to ignore thousands of petitions and letters requesting the recognition of Juneteenth at the White House and to issue a presidential proclamation.


"The White House and the U.S. Capitol were built by Americans of African descent during the tyranny of enslavement," states Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Founder & Chairmanof the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF). "Why does President Obama, the first African American to occupy the White House, have a problem with hosting a Juneteenth celebration acknowledging this fact?"

june stampIn commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of Juneteenth and US black freedom from slavery, Rev. Myers urges everyone to:





“As this is the Juneteenth’s 150th anniversary, and there should be celebrations everywhere, including in the White House," exclaims Dr. Myers.

For more information, visit or call Dr. Myers at (662) 392-2016.

Ghana-food-festAs part of efforts to promote tourism development, the Ghana Tourist Development Company (GTDC) is organising a maiden national food festival dubbed: “FOODFEST 2015,” in Accra.

The festival set to be held from June 20- June 21 is to showcase Ghana’s rich culture through local and international cuisine and also to assemble caterers, chefs, restaurant operators and all kinds of food joints across the country for business.

A statement in Accra signed by Mr Samuel Atta Mills, the Managing Director, said the two-day programme would promote local cuisine and allow people to taste Ghanaian and international dishes.

It said the concept of the two- day festival is linked to the mandate of the GTDC in investing in tourism infrastructural development as well as promoting and marketing Ghana’s tourism potential in culture, arts and food.

The statement said the event would create the platform for restaurants and food vendors to interact, network, develop and establish business and social links with the public.

“It is to provide the stage for restaurants and chop bar operators to launch new products and foster client relations leading to repeat patronage,” it said.

The statement said it is also creating the avenue for food vendors to market and promote their brands, differentiate their offerings from their competitors as well as give them the platform to make extra sales and revenue.

GTDC is a quasi-government agency, under the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts.



africa airAccra Weizo will bring together over 150 major players in travel and tourism in West Africa and will also honour 20 outstanding Travel Personalities for their roles in building Trade across the Sub-Region.

Africa World Airlines & La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Accra will be the Official Airline and Hotel sponsors for Accra Weizo, 2015. The 1-day event  slated for the 3rd of July will also feature Award for Top 20 Travel Personalities in West-Africa. These individuals were selected from a list of 100 Top Travel Personalities in West-Africa based on their impact, legacy and influence in Tourism Promotions, Aviation, Hospitality, Conservation, Transport and Travel Business.

Some of the awardees are Otunba Wanle Akinboboye-CEO, La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort, ( Tourism Man of the Year-Nigeria) Sir, Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide-Chaiman, Arik Air (Aviation Personality of the Year –West-Africa), Dr. Kwabena Adjei-Founder Kasapreko (West African Personality of the Year)  Mr.AdeseyiSijuade-MD, Nigeria Railway Corporation( Travel Personality of the Year-Nigeria)  to mention a few.

The AWA Commercial manager Katherine Tosan Woode  receives Weizo document from Mr Ikechi uko in Accra

The AWA Commercial manager Katherine Tosan Woode receives Weizo document from Mr Ikechi uko in Accra

Official Airline for Weizo-Africa World Airlines is adjugded “Domestic Airline of the Year” by the Ghana Tourism Awards and is Ghana’s fastest growing regional airline commanding a sizeable share of the domestic traffic and operate flights between Accra and Lagos. It has also offered chartered services for renowned world leaders including the President of Liberia.

Accra Weizo, 2015 seeks to bring to fruition the dreams of former DG of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Agency, NCAA, Dr Harold Demuren who said in Abuja at the Bantaba event 2012 while receiving the award of Travel Personality of the year that West Africa should be single domestic Aviation Environment integrating, Safety regulations, Airline connections and airports.

Dr. Demuren has since left NCAA but his vision for the seamless integration is still far from reality.

This vision of a seamless travel experience is the main focus of a one day travel event slated for the 3rd of July at La Palm Royal Beach Hotel in Accra, Ghana. The event is to be hosted by the Honourable Minister of Tourism and Creative Arts, Ghana, Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare.

With the theme “Seamless Travel in West Africa” Weizo is targeted at the founding vision of ECOWAS to create a region of one people integrating and growing together. It is coming as ECOWAS celebrates 40 years of existence.

With a population of close to 300 million people in 15 countries and a fast growing economic block, West Africa started the regional integration race in Africa since the 1970s but has since lagged behind East and Southern Africa.

With over 40 airports the economy of the region can sustain a viable Travel and Tourism industry.

Weizo seeks to bring Travel professionals together to share knowledge and work out a future path of success for the region.

AWA logoThe special adviser to the UNWTO Secretary General, Mrs Rosette Chantal Rugamba will deliver a keynote paper titled “Regional Blocks as Tourism Destinations”.

Rosette started the tourism projects of country Rwanda including the famous Gorilla naming ceremony “KwitaIzina”.

The Aviation session will have two presentations one by AdefunkeAdeyemi, Head, IATA for Africa and the Middle East “Intra Africa Air Connectivity, the Facts Challenges and Benefits” and the second paper will be on “Passenger Friendliness and Airport Infrastructure in West Africa” by the Mr. Charles Kwame Asare-MD Ghana Airports Company Limited

The Aviation presentation will be treated by a panel made up of Airline CEOs, Aviation heads and Airport managers from across West Africa.

Other speakers at the event will include, Head HRG and GSA for Delta Airlines in Nigeria, Mr Femi Adefope a well-respected Travel expert and he will speak on “Trans-border Investment in Travel Business,” Mr Frank Nneji, MD ABC Transport, Nigeria will speak on “Doing Business across West Africa”.

The other paper to be presented at the event will be on the ‘Role of the Private Sector in Regional Integration”

The event is in partnership with the Ghana  Tourism Authourity , backed by Tour Operators Union (TOUGHA), National Association of Nigerian Travel Agents (NANTA),Nigerian Association of Tour Operators( NATOP) and will feature private tours to Accra and Cape-Coast on the 2nd day

Weizo is an event put together by the organizers of Akwaaba; African Market, Lagos-the only International Travel Fair in West Africa recognized by UNWTO and Abuja Bantaba, Abuja-Nigeria.

Source: ATQ news

ikecIkechi Uko, a foremost tourism leader in Africa is not one to slow down because of challenges or impending threats. Perhaps that is why he has accomplished so much and made so many inroads in the tourism field. The founder/publisher of Africa Travel Quarterly Magazine, he does not hesitate to go in and everywhere throughout Africa. And the xenophobia threat in South Africa did not stop him from attending the the 35th Indaba travel expo in Durban, South Africa on May 9-11.

South African townships had experienced xenophobic violence with one of the latest wave of xenophobic attacks against foreign nationals occurring in the province of KwaZulu-Natal where at least six people were killed and thousands displaced from their homes. Many believe that the xenophobic Black-on-Black violence spreading across South Africa is a direct result of centuries of White-on-Black violence and oppression. Defined as a hatred, dislike or fear of foreigners, xenophobia can be related to internalized racism when there is black-on-black violence.  

With some of the xenophobic violence occurring in Durban, Uko was not deterred from attending Indaba there.  “I am making this trip to Durban for two reasons,” explains Uko, the organizer of AKWAABA, a travel expo that hosts the largest gathering of tourism and tourism-related professionals in West Africa. “First, this is Africa and we are all one people, from different places with diverse cultures.” The second reason is the fact that South Africa Tourism attended AKWAABA last year along with Kenya and Rwanda when everybody withdrew because of Ebola.” 

sa min miss saBecause of the Ebola outbreak West Africa with largest concentration in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, many people expected Uko to cancel the annual AKWAABA, an event that has grown larger each year. Even the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation did not participate in AKWAABA last year because of the Ebola scare. But Uko was determined to carry on and the event was successful despite the loom of Ebola. Even though some withdrew, AKWAABA still drew many prople from the travel industry. South African Tourism stooed with Uko and attended AKWAABA.

For 2015 Indaba, Uko was happy to meet up with his friends from Uganda, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Rwanda who had supported him during AKWAABA last year.  Because South Africa Tourism supported him, the xenophobia issue that is in the news all over the world was not enough to deter Uko from coming to support his South African Tourism friends. Other associates of Uko from Nigeria attended Indaba to show support for South Africa also. 

Upon arrival to Durban, Uko received a hearty Zulu welcome from tourism officials, some who expressing how embarrassing it is to have the xenophobic attacks in their country. They welcomed Uko home and told him to enjoy South Africa.   

beerwikechi“Everyone I meet was so apologetic. They even asked me how Nigerians felt about the xenophobic madness,” said Uko. All kinds of thoughts went through his head. Is it genuine or just lip service he thought? Uko concluded that South Africans were sincere and were really sorry about the consequences of the silly acts of some youths. One young boy at the airport assured Uko that he was safe in Durban. The hotel staff made him welcome and feel secure. Uko enjoyed a typical Zulu welcome African welcome home in Durban.

The country’s Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom officially opened the Indaba, Africa’s biggest trade travel show bringing buyers and sellers of tourism together under one roof. “We have 20 African countries participating, more than 1,000 exhibitors and 750 media people,” Hanekom said. He went on to denounce recent xenophobic attacks on “certain foreigners living in South Africa,” calling them deplorable. He said the criminal actions of a few would not be tolerated.” Hanekom spoke about the value of tourism to the African continent and the importance of collaboration, co-operation and partnerships in tourism.

The official opening also included song and dance along with several speeches to a capacity audience with tourism representatives from 20 participating countries. The opening ceremony brought on a group performing the “Pata Pata” that was made famous in the 60’s by legendary singer/ activist Miriam Makeba, who was from South Africa. The crowd was also dazzled by a performance by a Kenyan band. The travel trade show was held at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Center.  Indaba’s planners prepared for 9,000 visitors including travel media from across the globe. The first Indaba under Tourism Minister Hanekom, he branded this year's show as the Face of Africa with the theme: “No other show brings more African exhibitors together.”

durbanPresent this year were representatives from hotels, game lodges, marine tourism, cultural tourism, spa facilities, wilderness, guest houses, B&Bs and culinary travel and other industries related to travel. Most African countries showed support with prominent showcases and stands manned by travel and tourism officials. Many dignitaries, tourism ministers and travel delegations were in attendance.

Uko, who spearhead the Seven Natural Wonders of Nigeria, is happy to have attended and feels that Indaba 2015 was a success. He was impressed that African Tourism Boards and practitioners stood with South African Tourism during this tough period. Preparing for the latest event Weizo, which takes place in Accra, Ghana on July 13, 2015, Uko is proud of how Africa remains resilient during times of challenges and struggles. Accra Weizo will bring together over 150 major players in travel and tourism in West Africa and honour 20 outstanding travel personalities for their roles in building trade across the Sub-Region of Africa. 


Photos: 1) Ikechi Uka 2) South African Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom, 3) Ikechi with friends at Indaba 4) Ikechi recieves Zulu welcome in Durban

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