Nana Ama Akowuah ’18 and Lisa Achoki ’18, President and Vice President of Yale’s Undergraduate Association for African Peace and Development(YAAPD), reflect on their conference planning experience, including their inspirations and hopes for the event.
Upon getting to know each other in freshman year, we noticed we both loved to organize events, especially ones that brought African students together. From fashion shows to freshman socials, we found ourselves looking to use these event to spark conversations on what was going on across Africa!
After attending our first YAAPD conference in April 2015, we recognized an opportunity to not only engage the Yale community with prominent issues pertaining to the development of the African continent, but also bring in the perspectives of African undergraduate and graduate students living in different regions in North America and diversify these conversations further with the experiences of leaders and innovators from across the continent.
This year’s conference is themed Ubuntu: Collaboration for African Development. As a board, we all have varying interests ranging from government to the entertainment industry to education and social initiatives in Africa, and believe that the intersections of these various sectors are crucial in furthering African Development. What makes YAAPD stand out, relative to other African conferences particularly in Northeast America, is that it is solely run by undergraduates.
With remarkable speakers like Donald Kaberuka, former President of the African Development Bank; Ibukun Awosika, first Chairwoman of the Firstbank Nigeria and Hakeem Belo-Osagie, renowned Investor and Chairman of Etisalat Nigeria, this year’s conference looks promising. Our hope is that the conference sparks debate on issues concerning development and continues in the footsteps of its predecessors by constantly questioning narratives.
We’re looking forward mostly to partnerships and networks we believe would be formed during the conference; hearing some of Africa’s frontrunners share their experiences working on the continent; getting our shoki on at the afterparty; and simply basking in our Africanness.
For more information on the 2017 Conference visit YAAPD.org