The Ronald H. Brown African Series, "Mobilizing the Diaspora: Mission Impossible"
September 10, 2022
Named after the late Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown, the Ronald H. Brown African Affairs Series is planned and organized by the Constituency for Africa each year. Over the years, the RHB African Affairs Series has convened more than 200 workshops and forums that have advanced advocacy, analysis of government policy initiatives, knowledge transfer, and the mobilization of public and private sector groups. The purpose of the RHB African Affairs Series is to educate, inform and engage the American public on critical challenges, issues, and concerns facing Africa; issues and concerns; and promote a proactive and sustainable U.S.-Africa foreign policy agenda. This Year's theme was, Mobilizing the Diaspora: Mission Possible.
This year's program featured Ambassador Carlos Dos Santos, the Ambassador of Mozambique, and Ambassador Marie-Hélène Mathey Boo Lowumba, the Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The program took place in a hybrid format at The Harriet Tubman TownHall, The Art Bar 2.0, at 420B Race Street, Cambridge MD 21613 (located next to the Harriet Tubman mural) and on Zoom.
Joining the Ambassadors in conversation were Melissa Magidi, Director of International Department, Foreign Policy Youth Collaborative (FPYC), Eric P. Bryant, CEO/Founder, GODS KIDZ, and Namatai Kwekweza, WELEAD Director.
Ambassador Marie-Hélène Mathey Boo Lowumba, Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo
Marie-Hélène Mathey Boo Lowumba (born November 30, 1943) was named ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo to the United States on January 11, 2022, by Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi. She is preceded by Ambassador François Nkuna Balumuene. Prior to her appointment, she served as Ambassador of the Republic of Congo to Gabon, Minister of Industry, Commerce, and Weights & Measures in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Director of External Relations and Governance of the World Health Organization (WHO) among other positions. As a descendant of Koko Mwato I, Marie-Hélène Mathey Boo is the 12th Chief of Bokoli (Ngemoboku Clan) in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Mai-Ndombe Province.
Ambassador Carlos dos Santos, Ambassador of Mozambique
Ambassador Carlos dos Santos most recently served as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (2011-2015) where he was voted “Best Diplomat of the year” (2013). Prior to that, he served as Ambassador of Mozambique to Germany (2006-2011). His long and distinguished career includes serving as Director for Europe and the Americas at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2005-2006). Advisor to the president (2003-2005) and Permanent Representative to the United Nations (1996-2002). He was the Africa and Middle East Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Eric P. Bryant CEO/Founder, GODS KIDZ
When Eric Bryant, the creator and founder of an exciting and innovative concept called Gods Kidz, his dream was to launch a clothing line targeted for children, then moving into adults. It is now some 20 years later, and his vision has evolved into something much larger than anything that he could imagined.
GODS KIDZ is a concept that was developed over 20 years with the objective of connecting or reconnecting people with principles that identify our relationship with a higher power that plays a part in shaping our character and how that higher power plays an important part of that character. While it was initially intended for children, the concept has evolved to impact and effect adults as well for we are all “kids” in the eyes of God.
Eric, as the creator and founder of the concept had a vision of creating a brand that encompasses six universal principles: love, respect, humility, forgiveness, integrity and gratitude to be cornerstone as a way for us to connect with God to bring out the best in each one of us. The concept is one that is religion-neutral and spiritually centered. Eric’s vision was to simply focus on the principles that reflect the human condition that we all relate to. “When I started this journey many years ago, I never imagined the magnitude of what God wanted me to do or where my spirit would go. Now I have accepted the call that He has placed on my life. The one thing I have realized is that despite our race, gender, class or circumstance, and even our differences, God truly loves each one of us and within that love; there is a beautiful light deep down within us.”
“People, especially our young gravitate to one of three things: music, technology and fashion”, said the creator of the brand. The GODS KIDZ concept is now designed to be communicated through entertainment, music and technology to become a new and innovative brand in the 21st century. GODS KIDZ will be a lifestyle brand that seeks to inspire, guide, and motivate people, with the goal of their products contributing to the definition of the consumer's way of life. Eric is one that follows his heart and allows his spirit to guide him in his pursuit to bring goodness to all those know him and to address things that are troublesome to many. His latest creation, “We Aint Goin’ Back to That” touches on many issues that have plagued our community and our world and he has used his gifts to bring this message to the forefront in a wonderful t-shirt design that is destined to provoke thought and for many to express their views and feelings in order to bring about change.
This project was developed out of the response and sentiments of many people that feel the discourse as where our society is going. Many people are feeling a sense of despair, hopelessness and frustration regarding our current. Now, we are in a place where it’s time to speak up, speak out, be heard and most of all, DO SOMETHING!!!!As people grasp the true meaning and objective of this project, it sets the stage to launch a major event in the form of a festival that’s is like a mixing bowl that combines many elements such as community organizations, musical talent, various venders and local leaders to make for an experience that’s different than the social events we have seen to date. The goal at this point is to keep the communication going. Keep encouraging to everyone to express themselves by speaking out. Using social media, the message will spread exponentially and from there “WE AINT GOING BACK TO THAT” will expand to many cities!!!! Overall, the objective is to light a spark in people to start taking ownership of their destiny. The hope is that this lights a spark to allow everyone to start speaking out to bring forth positive dialogue and viable solutions to the many challenges we are dealing with. Until we deal with the darkness w have experienced we can’t get to the light that frees us. Eric’s vision is very clear:
The GODS KIDZ experience will be one that provides us a path to spread hope, joy and understanding for children to see the goodness and the light that shines within them. It has become an experience that is designed to really bring out the best that God has instilled in each one of us. Whatever challenges, programs, projects or events that are created as a part of this experience, the message is clear. They are all designed to recognize something that is apparent to every one of us. GOD is GOOD, and that goodness is the light and it has a divine need to shine for the entire world to see.
Eric P. Bryant is the CEO/Founder of the GODS KIDZ brand and concept. Established in 1998, the concept focuses on his vision of connecting people to focus on establishing a strong relationship with a greater spiritual being that can lead to having a better and more purposeful life. His creativity of interior and apparel design combined with his leadership and discipline acquired from his experience as a 20-year Air Force veteran has been the driving force behind the development of this concept. A graduate of Saint Leo University, Eric is the father of two adult daughters and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Human Resource Administration.
For more information ,please go to www.wagbtt.com
Namatai Kwekweza, WELEAD Director
Namatai Kwekweza has over 5 years of experience in community organizing, social entrepreneurship and human rights advocacy, mainly focusing on youth and women's rights. She is a disruptive thought leader and consultant who currently serves as the Executive Director of WELEAD Trust, an organization that she founded at age 18 in 2017, which is focused on youth leadership development and advocacy. Namatai is an awardee of the WalkAbout Prize, a Fellow at the School of International Futures, a Rotarian, and an award winning professional public speaker under Toastmasters International in Southern Africa. She holds an Executive Certificate in Diplomacy, Protocol, Etiquette and Professional Branding as well as a Diploma in Contemporary Diplomacy and International Relations from the Zimbabwe Institute of Diplomacy. Namatai is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws Degree at The University of South Africa and aspires to be a constitutional and international human rights lawyer. She also hopes to advance herself in the fields of war studies, strategy and politics.
Namatai is a futurist and foresight practitioner who is passionate about advancing human potential, human empathy, chaos theory, game theory, complex problem solving, design thinking, systems thinking and leadership development in Africa.
Melissa Magidi, Director of International Department, Foreign Policy Youth Collaborative (FPYC)
Melissa Magidi is a recent High school graduate (class of 2021). This year she is currently taking a gap year, with the hopes of studying finance next year. She is an Ivy house award alumnus. She has a great passion on issues concerning global hunger and food policies. During this gap year she is doing a course in diet and nutrition.
She joined FPYC in January 2021. She was an international officer, producing content - writing articles from the perspective of a member living in South Africa. Then in October of 2021, she became the director of the international department. In her role she leads the operational activities of the department, represents the International to the rest of FPYC, and monitors progress towards achieving the objectives and policies.