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2023 in view – TheAfricanDream’s insightful journey

In this annual review article, we will highlight an insightful journey of the accomplishments and endeavors of TheAfricanDream over the past year. 

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As a trademarked consultancy and media firm, we have worked tirelessly to promote a positive image of Africa and Africans in the US, entities that are interested in Africa, the African Diaspora, and among/with non-Africans.

Our multi-award-winning Ghanaian-American and Pan-Africanist organization was formed in the Washington DC metro area of the United States (U.S.) and founded in 2015. Since then it has contributed greatly to enhancing development and cooperation between the African Diaspora and Africa from its base in the US and with its collaborators across the globe.

This review will cover our firm’s recognitions, notable client engagements, interviews with important personalities, government agencies and diverse institutions. 

Recognitions

TheAfricanDream received an award in the last quarter of 2023 at the 3rd annual gala hosted by the Ghanaian Professionals Network (GhPN) in Dallas, Texas in the United States (US), a remarkable event celebrating Ghanaian excellence and achievements. Awardees received Adinkra themed awards.

Representing the TheAfricanDream, the founder Oral Ofori received the ‘Woforo Dua Pa Award’ in November 2023 for the firm’s efforts in promoting the African story worldwide. Other awardees included Reverend Martin Osae, who received the ‘Aya Award’ for his community leadership and advocacy for youth in North Texas; and Mr. Kofi Anku who was awarded the ‘Kyinkyim Award’ for his dynamism and proactive initiatives, particularly in the real estate arena in Ghana.

Oral Ofori (with mic) of TheAfricanDream.net giving his acceptance speech after winning an award for his work in telling/spreading the story of Africa at the Ghanaian Professionals Network annual awards/gala event at Dallas, Texas in the United States on November 4, 2023 / ©️GhPN

Also in 2023, TheAfricanDream amongst other awardees, was announced the Best Diaspora Blog 2022 by Afrobloggers. The awards celebrate creativity, dedication and responsible use of online spaces with the aim of inspiring more people to deliberately share their stories. 

Key events

At a historic gathering in 2023, the Commonwealth of Virginia (VA) recognized the Ghanaian community in Virginia in the United States for the impact made by the Ghanaian community as its contribution to the Commonwealth fraternity.

A group picture at The Virginia Capitol, House of Delegates Chamber / © West African Times

15 persons were invited – which TheAfricanDream was part of, by Virginia’s Capitol House of Delegates Chamber in Richmond, VA to recieve the House Resolution No. 337 citation honoring Ghanaian Americans that was agreed to and signed on February 17, 2023 by the house. It was decided there that the Ghanaian community in Virginia is endowed with natural and human resources requisite for global development. 

TheAfricanDream was also part of a delegation that signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in June 2023 in Tema, Ghana between the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) and Loudoun County in Virginia, United States of America, to begin what was referred to as a sister city relationship.

Phyllis Randall, Chair-At-Large of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, and Yohane Amarh Ashitey, Tema Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) both signed the agreement as representatives of their County and City respectively.

Phyllis Randall (left), Chair-At-Large of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, and Yohane Amarh Ashitey, Tema Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) signing the sister city agreement / © Oral Ofori

The delegation that included a representative from TheAfricanDream also met with the President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to discuss high-level economic interests between Tema and Loudoun County. They were hosted at the Jubilee House, Ghana’s Presidential Palace in Accra.

President Akufo-Addo on this premise encouraged Loudoun County to use the opportunities provided by the MOU to invite investors to expand their operations into Tema and other parts of Ghana, and take advantage of the favourable economic regime in Ghana to invest in the country.

Photo (L-R): Oral Ofori, Chief of Staff Matthew Rogers, Beth Erickson, Vice Chair Koran Saines, President Akufo-Addo, Supervisor Sylvia Glass, Buddy Rizer and Chief of Staff Kent Erwin / © TheAfricanDream.net

Following that, the delegation paid a working visit to Chemu Senior High School located in Tema, Community 4, Ghana. The visit to the coeducational institution was part of the sister city exchange program between the county and Tema. They assured that they’ll make sure the student body received the needed logistics and support to facilitate a stress free learning environment.

TheAfricanDream was invited and represented at the 9th Anniversary of Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) World Peace Summit in September 2023 under the theme “Implementation of Multidimensional Strategies for Institutional Peace.” 

The summit with operations in 130 countries around the world, led initiatives that proposed strategies inclusive of governments, intergovernmental organizations, and civil society in the efforts for implementing conflict resolution and establishing peace.

TheAfricanDream was also part of a panel discussion organized by AKADiMagazine.co.uk on the social media audio app Clubhouse that was moderated by Abena Serwaa Osei-Bempong, Editor-in-Chief of akadimagazine.com & msbwrites.co.uk both located in the United Kingdom (UK).

During the discussions it was agreed that around the world, the English language has replaced indigenous languages in multiple aspects of social and economic life, leaving people void of their cultural expression, a situation the panel felt if not fixed could lead to severe language endangerment. The panel reiterated that no matter the level of fluency a person has in their own language, they could still express it boldly and not be ashamed or intimidated by a foreign language or land.

In July 2023, TheAfricanDream was at the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, for the inaugural Ohanaeze Ndigbo Forum of North America. There was a historic induction of a General William Ward (rtd) and Dr. Emmit McHenry, known as “the creator of .com” to their Igbo Heritage by Chief Iwuanyanwu, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo World Wide.

It was held under the theme “Securing Igbo Land through Economic Empowerment and Development” attended by an estimated 200+ guests. The event focused “on the economic development of Igboland through collaborative efforts of Igbo sons, daughters and others in North America and the global communities.”

Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu (centre) with inductees of their Igbo heritage, General William Ward (left) and Dr. Emmit McHenry (right) / © Oral Ofori / theafricandream.net

One of TheAfricanDream’s client, Alexander Anim-Mensah (Ph.D.), a Ghanaian chemical engineer, educationalist, inventor, author, and innovation specialist based in the United States (U.S.) was awarded at the Black History and Lifestyle Awards (BHLA) in February in Lagos, Nigeria. 

He was represented in absentia by a staff of TheAfricanDream, and earned the BHLA recognition in the category of Academics for his industrial professionalism in the field of education, science and technology. He won the award ahead of Nigerian prolific writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; and Tanzanian-born British novelist, academic and 2021 Nobel Prize laureate, Abdulrazak Gurnah.

The founder of TheAfricanDream, Oral Ofori, who is also the Head of Customer Relations at the Embassy of Ghana in Washington DC, US, represented Her Excellency Hajia Alima Mahama, Ambassador of Ghana to the United States, at a 2-day event in December 2023 dubbed “December2Remember.”

It was hosted by Prophet Sampson Amoateng, Head Pastor and General overseer, House of Miracle Ministries in Washington DC metro area of US. The 2023 edition of the annual event was organised to pray for peace in America and for peace globally.

TheAfricanDream covered the inaugural Ghana Food Festival USA that took place at the River Front on Rosa Parks Drive in Wilmington, Delaware. The occasion highlighted Ghanaian cuisine, crafts, textiles, traditional artefacts and culture in the United States.

Jointly organised by First Page Promotions LLC and FJ Logistics LLC, the objective for the festival included promoting Ghanaian foods in the Diaspora, creating business links for Ghanaian caterers and restaurants, building a network of food industry players, promoting Ghanaian products in the U.S., and creating employment where necessary.

The International Convention of Africans in Diaspora (ICAD) hosted four inaugural conferences in 2023 organized by the International Clergy Association (ICA) with TheAfricanDream as a media partner. Also partnering was Mrs. Joyce Larnyoh, Ghana Director for International Child Development Program (ICDP); Little Rock City Estates, and Law Office of Addison Darden plc. The first conference was hosted in July in Chicago, US; the second was in August in Maryland, US; the third also in August in New York, US; and the fourth in December in Accra, Ghana.

Bishop Dr. Abban (middle with medal) with ICAD special guests & awardees at the ICAD New York conference 2023 / © ICAD

The conference attracted both diasporans and Africans to give boost to tourism and relationship development between Africa and the diaspora. According to ICAD, the conferences seeks to unite Africans and African-Americans in the diaspora for the purpose of advancing their Motherland, Africa, and to encourage their consideration of Africa as home. 

Interviews

TheAfricanDream had multiple interviews with Her Excellency (H.E) Ambassador Arikana Chihombori Quao, former African Union’s Ambassador to the US, on the establishment of her pan-African organisation, the African Diaspora Development Institute (ADDI) born in the Washington DC Metro area, although registered in Tennessee. 

Her campaign against neocolonialism has made the continent aware of the ills of how they have been treated over the years generally and specifically, especially how France treats its former French colonies in Africa.

TheAfricanDream also interviewed Ambassador Kip E. Tom, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, and chief of the United States Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome from 2019 – 2021. Ambassador Tom was on the 88th episode of #TheAfricanDream show in early September 2023 to speak on US food policy in Africa, World Food Program, China in Africa, and how African societies factor into the bigger picture.

Dr. Gnaka Lagoké, Assistant Professor in History (World, African and African-American) and Pan-Africana Studies at Lincoln University, came on the 89th episode of #TheAfricanDream show in early December 2023 with a focus on Reparations, African Unity, Ubuntu and the African Diaspora off the backdrop of the 2023 historic and inaugural Accra Reparations Conference in Ghana.

The Accra Reparations Conference which was a focus was attended by TheAfricanDream. It was held in conjunction with the African Union as a call for a global fund to compensate Africans for slave trade atrocities. Top officials in Africa are already welcoming the need for it, and the return of taken African arts and artifacts presently resident in European and American museums and institutions on a continental scale.

Ghanaian-Liberian Comedian and Hollywood star based in the United States, Michael Blackson, spoke with TheAfricanDream after commissioning a tuition-free ultramodern school in Ghana. The comedian built the educational institution in his hometown located at Agona Nsaba in the Agona East District of Ghana’s Central Region.

Michael Blackson (left) and Oral Ofori at Washington DC in early January of 2023/ ©️TheAfricanDream.co

Michael Blackson said he never thought access to quality education for children of school going age in Ghana would come with all sorts of financial barriers. He stated that access to education for children at the basic level in America is free and children are taking advantage of it — he hopes for same across Africa.

One of TheAfricanDream’s client, Dr. Godwin Agboka (Ph.D.), a Ghanaian professor based in the United States (US), received three valued academic awards from the prestigious National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC). 

The professor is a reputable voice in Social Justice and teaches technical communication at the University of Houston-Downtown, in Texas. Dr. Agboka told TheAfricanDream that he valued the award because it highlights the importance of social justice, particularly in light of how its goals help to focus more attention on oppressed or disenfranchised individuals.

In an interview article titled “The rise of a boxing icon, entrepreneur & philanthropist,” Yahu Blackwell explained to TheAfricanDream how he carved a chance to leave the tough neighbourhoods where he was nurtured into an international boxing spotlight.

In his long career, Blackwell has won the WBU Light Heavyweight World Title, the IBU Light Heavyweight World Championship, the WBU Light Heavyweight Americas Championship, the WBC Regional Heavyweight Championship, and the Mexico Heavyweight National Championship. He was also identified as a candidate for one of Baltimore’s richest sportsmen and appeared in the 2021 issue of Fortune 500. 

Virginia State University (VSU), located in the State of Virginia in the United States, explained in details its second annual “study abroad ambassadors” program in Morocco after holding its inaugural cohort in the last quarter of 2023 in the Northern African country. President of VSU, Dr. Makola Abdullah said to TheAfricanDream that the program has helped enhanced VSU’s internationalization status as a prestigious Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in the U.S. 

The university seeks to increase the number of students studying abroad by preparing and developing them during their first year. VSU also informed TheAfricanDream that it would be hosting one of the three 2024 US general election’s presidential debates – the first HBCU to do so. 

Another HBCU, Morehouse College took TheAfricanDream through its 2023 International Spring Tour, the 34th edition of the annual tradition. 13 of the College’s best students, accompanied by 6 faculty and staff members travelled to Accra, Ghana, and Dakar, Senegal. The college said the purpose of the tour evolved to exposing Morehouse students to global business customs and practices, and assisting them in contrasting foreign customs and practices to domestic ones. 

TheAfricanDream in conjunction with the African Reform Movement (ARM) also teamed up to work on securing and ensuring a first-ever traditional Ghanaian naming ceremony for Morehouse students and faculty staff by the Osu Paramount Stool in Ghana’s capital city of Accra. The naming ceremony, which was carried out on the principles of black empowerment, was done to connect them with their respective ancestral roots.

Students and staff of Morehouse immediately after the naming ceremony visited the home of W. E. B. Du Bois in Ghana / ©️ Morehouse College

A third institution, Georgetown University – McDonough School of Business and Walsh School of Foreign Service in partnership with Hilltop Global Group, embarked on an enriching pre-departure orientation at the Embassy of Ghana in Washington, DC, in preparation for their short-term experiential learning trip to Ghana.

With a staff of TheAfricanDream present, the students and faculty members were received by Her Excellency Hajia Alima Mahama, the Ambassador of Ghana to the United States. Other Embassy staff present were Mr. Francis Gborglah, Head of Chancery, Ninette Danquah Ivo from the Diaspora Office, and George K. Bright, Social Secretary.

Nigerian Okwy Osadebe gave an exclusive to TheAfricanDream explaining his late father’s legacy, Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe, a legendary Highlife music icon, and how he rose from his shadows. With his music, Okwy is drawing global attention and is particular about singing on dignity for everyone. He is adored for his kind voice and rhythm, following his idol and father’s musical footsteps.

The Igbo people of Nigeria have a rich cultural legacy, and Okwy is pleased to use his music to commemorate and promote this tradition. In his opinion, he is able to educate and inspire others through his music while also showcasing the elegance of his language, customs, and values.

In an interview with at TheAfricanDream, the privately owned organisation, Gyimah Institute of Viticulture & Enology Research (G.I.V.E.R.) discussed its journey from establishment through leading a pan-African vine and wine industry movement. According to the organization, its activities align with the African Union’s Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, “Africa’s blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future.”

G.I.V.E.R.’s co-founders, Paul Ekow Gyimah and Sedinam Moyowasifza-Curry, aim to establish a world-class educational, scientific research, and policy institute for the commercial cultivation of indigenous grapes and berries, foreign grapes, and hybrid organic juice and wine in Ghana and broader Africa. 

Nine South African women who were passionate about drumming met in a drum circle and eventually formed an all-female band. As an all-female band, Abafazi Bengoma told TheAfricanDream in an exclusive that they perform and play a variety of instruments — drums, percussions, marimba etc. — in addition to singing and dancing. The group of nine have chosen to use their talents to express their African pride and spread awareness for women’s right through music.

The band which is based on performance art was founded by women to demonstrate the power the female gender possess as a collective, and have performed all over the world displaying that strength with popular African tunes and exceptional performances. These brave women were raised in Soweto, Alexandra, and East Rand, coming from some of South Africa’s most challenging neighbourhoods.

Parables Animation Studios (PAS) in an exclusive with TheAfricanDream said it has been integrating authentic Ghanaian folklore in its Ananse Show for eight years to delight children and revive the fun and lessons of storytelling. The studio’s ‘By The Fire Side’ stories have also rekindled the younger generation’s enthusiasm and love for Ghanaian culture, through its cartoon animations and live-action stage performances at the Silverbird theatre in Accra, Ghana.

In 2021, the animation studio launched its online subscription-based streaming service, KOLIKO+, with a well developed culture of promoting, maintaining, and documenting rich Ghanaian traditions. It also created ‘28th The Crossroads,’ an animation film that recreated the events leading to the Crossroad shooting of 2nd world war veterans in Osu, Accra in 1948 Gold Coast, which was what Ghana was called by its former British colonial overlords before independence.

Giving voice to charitable works

In the past year, TheAfricanDream gave voice to a number of charitable works, and organisations that contributed positively to the society around them, as it is annually. 

The Tema Friends Club (TFC) of Maryland in the United States gave an exclusive to TheAfricanDream after inaugurating its executives alongside a holiday party January 2023, welcoming their guests to their colourful ticket-only gala. The club which was formed by Ms. Grace Adjaloko, in 2018, was birthed by an overwhelming drive to build a close-knit family and a great support system for people from Ghana’s popular port city, Tema, in the diaspora.

Tema Friends Club’s inaugurated executives & patrons. (L – R) Pastor Alex Ansah, Margaret KK Tetteh (Welfare Exec.), Joyce Duah (Entertainment Exec), Payin Amoako (Entertainment Exec.), Grace Adjaloko – Founder/Secretary, Josie Kakra Arthur – (PR Exec.), Linda Hamafari – (President), Theresa Peprah – (Patron), Chris Bonsu – (Patron), Lawrence Ankrah (Vice President), Mary Oben – (Finance Exec.), Helena Acquah – (Finance Exec.), and Pastor Kudulf Ansah / © Victor Thorne Photography.

In attendance was Mrs. Ninette Danquah Ivo, Minister for Economic and Diaspora affairs at the Embassy of Ghana in Washington DC; Pastor John Kudolf Ansah, Maryland district pastor of the church of Pentecost, and a long list of other high profile individuals from the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia areas.

Atlantic Essential Development (AED), a US-based nonprofit founded in Atlanta, Georgia by Stephen O. Aboagye and Jonathan P. Johnson, gave a comprehensive interview to TheAfricanDream on how it helps underserved communities. The 501c(3) humanitarian aid organization commits to providing lifesaving and life-enhancing programs to underserved communities across the globe from the United States (US).

AED as a nonprofit funds its lifesaving, support programs in remote communities globally through donations and assistance provided by its network of volunteers, partners and donors. This support includes safe drinking water, personal sanitation and hygiene kits, emergency medical supplies, family enrichment programs, and educational programs and trainings.

Mr. Aboagye who is also the CEO of Eternal Water Ghana, hosted a one-day training session in November 2023 for Hydrachem Company‘s key distributors in Ghana with the vision to secure healthy drinking water in Ghana at Danpong Medical Centre in Batsoona, Accra. 

Mr. Aboagye emphasised to TheAfricanDream the crucial need for safe drinking water for everyone, regardless of economic level. His concerns about clean drinking water go back to his childhood in a rural village outside of Accra, Ghana. His earliest memories recall the struggles of his family and others in the village to find clean water.

Tumaini DC, a US-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization described itself to TheAfricanDream as a culturally responsive & evidence-based social and emotional learning curriculum. Its activities have spread hope and action, prioritizing social justice among youths and giving high school students the tools to thrive in and out of the classroom.

Since its inception in 2013, Tumaini DC has impacted 10,000+ students in the U.S., 2500+ students in Ghana, and have trained over 25,000+ educators and youth-serving professionals. At the height of the COVID lockdown when schools shifted to virtual learning, Tumaini DC provided 100+ students with Chromebooks and HyperX headsets through its partnership with The Hustler’s Guild, Inc.

A student’s reaction after winning a $1,000 funding at Tumaini DC’s partnership event with Grant Cardone Foundation / © Tumaini DC

TheAfricanDream witnessed Kobby Okum’s inaugural fundraising gala organised by his US-based Ghanaian nonprofit Ghana Impact Project in River Creek Club in Leesburg, Virginia. Themed “Gift of Mobility Gala,” the event in April 2023 successfully raised enough money to provide prosthetics for 26 physically challenged children in Ghana. It was attended by almost a hundred people, and had Her Excellency (HE) Alima Mahama, Ghana’s Ambassador to the U.S. as its special Guest Speaker.

Other notable guests included Mr. Tim Adams – Mayor of Bowie, Maryland; Honourable Sheila Tillerson Adams – Retired Chief Justice of Prince William County; Madam Phyllis Randall – Chair of Loudoun County Board of Supervisors; Mr. Bob McCollar – International Business Development Manager of Economic Development; Jennifer Mensah Bonzie, founder of Vigilo Foundation – a nonprofit focused on disability advocacy; and event MC, Carolyn Howell.

Ghanaian-based nonprofit organisation, Kwdoxa Foundation in March 2023 made a donation to another community nonprofit organisation, Theovision International, in Ghana. In a joint statement to TheAfricanDream, the donation was to support a community Bible audio campaign hosted by Theovision International. The campaign spread life changing audio messages in different languages while helping with community development and medical outreach.

Mr. Asare of Theo Vision and Mrs Anor the programmes director at Kwdoxa Foundation / © Theovision

Theovision International’s medical outreach has served over 9,000 people in about 30 villages who would otherwise not have had any access to medical care and clean water. Kwdoxa Foundation on the other hand generally supports struggling single mothers and teenage mothers who have been abandoned by their families or have no source of livelihood. They also support females in less privileged environment and state of minds.

Komseko Social Enterprise Training Program awarded three Ghanaian youth entrepreneurs 6,000 cedis each worth of funding for their social enterprises. The program said to TheAfricanDream that it gives extensive training and sponsorship to youths who are passionate about solving societal problems.

The awardees were Hiqmat Sungdeme Saani (Baabuh Hub), Moses J. Tiborgnan (Timoya Farms), and Portia Dumba (PorduCare). Komseko was first launched in 2017 by the GhanaThink Foundation under the name Ghana Youth Social Entrepreneurship Competition (GYSEC) in partnership with Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT).

TheAfricanDream covered Foster Dogbe’s 10,000 cedis donation to Chemu Secondary School, in Tema Community 4, Ghana. Mr. Dogbe who is the founder of Cyber1Defense Communications, a cybersecurity firm, graduated from the school in 1997. In a comment, he said in August 2023 that he responded to an appeal from the school’s heads and donated a substantial amount to support the institution.

File Photo: Foster Dogbe’s representative presenting a cheque to Chemu Secondary School’s administrators

The donation according to Mr. Dogbe – a client of TheAfricanDream – is part of Cyber1Defense’s corporate social responsibility for the year 2023. He also promised to do whatever he can to continue supporting the school. His firm offers services that include Cybersecurity Training, Digital Marketing and Social Media Protection, Cybersecurity Consultancy, Cybersecurity Advocacy, Sales and Rental of IT Gadgets and Tracking tools, Community Development through IT and Cybersecurity.

Book review

TheAfricanDream’s client Daniel Appiah set a writing pace in 2023 with three motivational books that detailed the important need and ways to identify personal potentials, confront challenges and achieve financial independence. Titled ‘5Ds of Talent’, ‘The Light in the Dark’, and ‘Side Cheque’, the trio will be launched and released in July in Accra, Ghana. 

The books are an inspirational read; they portray the public speaking power of the author and his years of influencing change publicly through this motivational speaking engagements.

File Photo: Daniel Appiah and his books

Mr. Appiah is the CEO of Dream Focus International, and also an accomplished engineer with over 17 years of experience in the power generation industry. Alongside his successful career, he is also an entrepreneur, inspirational coach, and an author.

Source: TheAfricanDream.net