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Tanzania to Host 2008 Leon H. Sullivan Summit


The eighth Leon H. Sullivan Summit, formerly African African-American Summit will take place in June 2008 in Arusha, Tanzania, the first East African country to host the summit. The Sullivan Foundation will host its Fifth bi-ennial Awards Dinner on Thursday, December 13th in Washington. Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete will give remarks about the 2008 summit in his country.

The foundation was started to preserve the legacy of the late Leon H. Sullivan, who played a key role in ending apartheid by getting companies to divest their holdings in companies doing business in South Africa.

Former Tanzanian Foreign Minister Asha-Rose Migiro, now the U.N. Deputy Secretary General will be among those who will be honored at Thursday’s dinner.

Howard Geter is the former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria. He is now the president and chief executive officer of the Sullivan Foundation. He told VOA the foundation is excited about having its next summit in Tanzania.

“The Sullivan Awards Dinner is a kickoff event. It will take place here in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, December 13, and President Kikwete will be the keynote speaker of the event. And President Kikwete will give a statement on his vision, on his purpose for hosting the summit, why it is important for Tanzania to do so, why it is important to East Africa, and why it is important to the continent,” he said.

The Sullivan Foundation said in its news release that Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone were among the notable guests invited to attend the Awards Dinner.

While the Nigerian President would be in Washington this week, Ambassador Jeter said there was no assurance he would be at the dinner.

“We don’t have confirmation that President Yar’Adua will be coming to the dinner. He will be in Washington during that period. President Koroma has written to the Foundation and basically regretted, because we had anticipated he would be at the dinner. But he has had to regret and understandably he was just sworn into office, and he’s got a large mandate to fulfill in Sierra Leone. But he said he does want to participate in other Sullivan Foundation-sponsor events, and we hope to see him at the summit in June of next year,” Jeter said.

Ambassador Jeter said a number of people whose works he said embody the principles championed by the late Reverend Leon Sullivan would be honored at the dinner, including the first African woman to hold the post of U.N. Deputy Secretary General. She will receive the International Service Award.

“Asha-Rose Migiro is the Deputy U.N. Secretary General and first African and first woman to hold that position. She has been foreign minister in her country, and she has been active over the years on foreign policy issues as well as domestic issues at home. So we want to recognize her historic appointment to that position,” he said.

Ambassador Jeter said two members of the U.S. Congress, Donald Payne and Chris Smith would receive the Government Award.

“Congressmen Donald Payne and Chris Smith have both been chairs. Congressman Payne is currently the chair of the Africa Sub-Committee, and Congressman Smith did some very good work on human trafficking and efforts to contain and prevent that,” Jeter said.

Others to be honored at the Sullivan Foundation include human rights activist John Prendergast for his activism on Africa, particularly Sudan’s Darfur region.

Attendees at the dinner would be able to purchase DNA test kits at a special discounted price of $285. The kits normally sold at $349 each. Jeter explained the significance of the DNA test kits.

“It’s a new phenomenon that’s become very popular on the American scene for African Americans who want to know something about their lineage and their past and where they’ve come from. And by examining their DNA, it’s possible to tell, it’s not precisely the area where you are from, normally one can tell the particular ethnic group that they may have derived from. So we want to offer that, and we’re glad we are able to do it at this kind of price,” Jeter said.

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