February 28, 2024

President Biden Announces Inaugural Members of Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement

President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at the U.S.-Africa Leaders' Summit on Wednesday, December 14, 2022, in Washington DC

In a move aimed at strengthening ties between the United States and the African Diaspora, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Tuesday unveiled the first-ever members of the President’s Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement.

The historic initiative was formally announced by Vice President Harris on behalf of the Biden-Harris Administration during the 2022 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.

The establishment of the President’s Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement marks a pivotal moment in the nation’s history, as it seeks to forge stronger connections, facilitate trade and investment, and promote cultural understanding between the United States and Africa. These inaugural members bring their wealth of experience and passion for meaningful change, offering a promising future for this vital initiative.

The African Diaspora in the United States, a diverse community comprising African Americans and African immigrants, has played a pivotal role in shaping the country’s cultural, social, and political landscape. This includes descendants of enslaved Black Americans, who have tirelessly advocated for the prosperity of the African continent and its people.

In line with Executive Order 14089, the Advisory Council is composed of up to 12 members appointed by the Secretary of State, representing the rich tapestry of the African Diaspora from African American communities across the nation and African immigrant communities throughout the continent and the Caribbean.

The diverse Council includes individuals renowned for their achievements in various fields such as government, sports, creative industries, business, academia, social work, and faith-based activities.

The Council’s mission is to provide invaluable guidance aimed at strengthening cultural, social, political, and economic ties between the U.S. and Africa. Additionally, it seeks to promote trade, investment, and educational exchanges between the two regions.

Rev. Dr. Silvester Scott Beaman, Chair of the Council

Leading the Council as its Chair is Rev. Dr. Silvester Scott Beaman, the 139th elected and consecrated Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He boasts extensive experience and deep roots in Africa, currently serving as the Presiding Prelate of the Fifteenth Episcopal District, which encompasses South Africa, Namibia, and Angola.

Diverse and Influential Council Members

The Council’s inaugural members for the 2023-2025 term represent a wide range of expertise and backgrounds:

  • Mimi E. Alemayehou, Founder and Managing Partner of Semai Ventures LLC, with a focus on sustainable development in emerging economies.
  • Rosalind Brewer, former CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., and a prominent figure in the corporate world.
  • Viola Davis, an acclaimed artist, activist, and multi-award-winning actress, producer, and author.
  • Dr. Helene Gayle, the 11th president of Spelman College, bringing expertise in public health and economic development.
  • Patrick Hubert Gaspard, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress, with a strong emphasis on equity and human rights.
  • C.D. Glin, President of the PepsiCo Foundation and Global Head of Social Impact for PepsiCo, championing social impact and community engagement.
  • Osagie Imasogie, Chairman of Quoin Capital and PIPV Capital, with a wealth of experience in finance and investment.
  • Almaz Negash, Founder of the African Diaspora Network (ADN), fostering collaboration between the Diaspora and Africa for sustainable investments.
  • Chinenye Joy Ogwumike, 2-Time WNBA All-Star and NBA analyst, known for her advocacy in sports and community engagement.
  • Ham K. Serunjogi, Co-founder & CEO of Chipper Cash, a fintech giant with a focus on Africa.
  • Kevin Young, Andrew W. Mellon Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, celebrated for his contributions to literature and academia.

The White House said that the diversity of expertise and experiences represented by these members underscores the Council’s commitment to fostering a stronger partnership between the United States and the African Diaspora.

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