Gala commemorates African Union Day

On May 27, 2014, African ambassadors and high commissioners based in Canada hosted an elaborate gala commemorating the 51st anniversary of African Unity. The African Union (AU) is made up of 54 African states. It was established on May 26, 2001 in Addis Ababa and launched on 9 July 2002 in South Africa to replace the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was established on May 25, 1963. In her opening remarks, Zimbabwean ambassador H.E. Florence Zano Chideya, Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps in Canada, elaborated on the theme chosen for Africa@51, Agriculture and Food Security in Africa. She also lauded Canada’s continuing interest in trade with the continent. The keynote speaker was Rt. Hon. Michaëlle Jean, former Governor General of Canada and current Special Envoy for Haiti for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as well as Chancellor of the University of Ottawa. Dressed in an exquisite West African cotton outfit, Ms. Jean moved the 600-plus guests with her emotional account of recent trips to Africa and her pledge to continue advocating for the continent in various areas including education. Other speakers included Hon. Ed fast, Minister for International Trade and Hon. Mauril Bélanger, Co-Chair of the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association. The evening’s entertainment gave the audience a taste of Africa’s extremely diverse and rich cultural heritage: Lorraine Klaasen (South Africa),  Tsingory Music & Dance (Madagascar), Basmate Aissawa Band (Morocco), Baobab Youth Performers (Ghana), Tine Rufaro Marimba Band (Zimbabwe) and Remesha Drumming Ensemble (Burundi). At the end of the evening successful bidders walked away with silent auction prizes that included plane tickets donated by Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines.
For more info on the African Union and its activities, please visit:  www.au.int/

Submitted by Sarah Onyango

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