The Leon Sullivan Summit, sponsored by the Leon Sullivan Foundation, is in its third day in Abuja, Nigeria. This, the seventh summit of its kind, seeks to expand cultural understanding and build economic partnerships through grass roots efforts. The summit continues to bring people together, showcasing prominent African representatives as well as American entrepreneurs. English to Africa reporter Kim Lewis is covering the conference. She spoke with English to Africa reporter Chinedu Offor about the day’s proceedings.
“What is going on right now is a presidential plannery and this consists of African presidents and representatives of various countries on the continent. And…this was a coming together from the invitation of President Olusegun Obasanjo. In essence this coming together of African leaders was a showing of strong support of the vision of Leon Sullivan who started the African-African-American summit. And of course…his vision was to break down cultural barriers and biases and to build new relationships and partnerships between African-Americans and Africans and also between Africans and Africans here on the continent.”
Lewis says Hope Sullivan, the CEO of the Leon Sullivan Foundation, is very excited about this conference in particular.
“She’s referring to this summit as very unique and very historical…this one in particular is bringing together a lot of partnerships between people….I think what she was saying is people are realizing that it’s not always all about the dollar, that humans are involved here and people are your biggest resource.”
Sullivan herself shared her observations about the continent and its people.
“People I meet on the continent, by and large, are just so bright and smart and prepared….And the promise that is here and the tremendous resources, not just the gold and the diamonds and the natural resources people talk about but the human resources because that’s really your most important commodity. And I think we’re very close to that.”
Lewis said that developing partnerships has been stressed throughout the summit and that even within the media members in attendance partnerships were forming.
“With the media here, we’re all developing various types of partnerships. Some of us came over together on the charter flight, we didn’t know each other and since we’ve been here we’ve been exchanging cards and information. And then with the press that is here, there’s lots of African press here too. It’s all of us getting together and talking and sharing information, helping each other, it’s just a very friendly high-energy environment. That’s just another aspect of how partnerships develop.”
She discussed the agenda for the closing day. “More talking about building partnerships for success…I believe it’s going to be getting down to specifically what is required to build a partnership for success, like talking about getting down to grass roots.”
The summit will end tomorrow, Thursday.
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