Webinar S1 No. 7

How is Systemic Racism experienced by Peoples of African Descent living in the Diaspora?: What Challenges and Joys await Diasporans returning to Africa?

Panelists

Laureen Kouassi-Olsson

Ms. Laureen Kouassi-Olsson is a rising leader in fund management in Africa. She is the former Head of the West Africa office and of Financial Institutions at Amethis.

She was responsible for Amethis’ investment strategy in the financial sector, including the sourcing, structuring and supervision of deals execution as well as management of Financial Institutions investment portfolio. She also oversaw Amethis West Africa, Amethis’ Investment vehicle dedicated to Francophone Western and Central Africa. She served as a board member for different companies in Amethis’ portfolio. Prior to joining Amethis in 2013, Ms Kouassi-Olsson was Investment Officer in the Financial Institution Group of Proparco where she was responsible for the appraisal and structuring of investment opportunities in Sub Saharan Africa services industry. Previously, she worked in Mergers and Acquisitions for Lehman Brothers’ Investment Banking Department in London.

Ms Kouassi-Olsson holds a Master in Science of Management(MSc) with a specialization in Corporate Finance and Capital Markets from the EM Lyon Business School. She is a native of Cote d’Ivoire.

 

Julian Opuni

Julian Opuni is the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank and serves as an executive member of the Board. He joined the bank as the Head of Commercial Banking at the inception of the unit. After incubating and building the new business line, he led the growth and consolidation of the wider Commercial & SME Banking segments and ultimately the entire Retail Banking Directorate.

Julian has over 25 years of experience in the financial services sector both locally and internationally. He has extensive experience in business development, credit analysis, and sales management and has also participated in various youth entrepreneurship & business mentoring projects.

Prior to joining Fidelity Bank, Julian had a successful career with Lloyds Bank in the United Kingdom where he worked for over 18 years. He joined Lloyds on their Expedited Management Training Program, holding various roles in Operations and Retail Banking which included Branch Management. Additionally, he held several senior positions in both Business & Corporate Banking, finally leaving as a Senior Manager with responsibility for various business centres in the west of London.

He is an Associate of the Institute of Financial Services (Aifs) and holds a B.Sc. in Banking & Financial Services from the University of Manchester Institute of Science & Technology. Julian is also an accredited specialist in Manufacturing, Legal and Property lending.

 

Shauntrella Kollo

Shauntrella Kollo is a native born Georgian from Atlanta, which is also known as “the Black Mecca” among African-Americans. She is a wife, mother, business owner, and teacher. Shauntrella earned a Bachelor’s in Marketing from Albany State University, which belongs to the exclusive group of historically black colleges and universities.  She also received her MBA in International Business from North Central University, Minnesota.

She is from a family of civil rights activists that originates from Mississippi in what is know as the “Deep South”. Her grandmother lived in the segregated south and her mother was one of the first to be integrated into multiracial schools in Greensboro, Alabama which at the time was under intense pressure to implement anti-segregation laws, without adequate law enforcement provision to protect the African-American children, who were bussed into often extremely hostile white neighbourhoods. Her Uncle, James Orange marched side by side and worked closely with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, in his fight for equality for African-Americans.

Shaun is passionate about natural healing. After working as a government contractor in corporate America, she decided to move to Boston, MA, where she explored and began to live a more holistic lifestyle through juicing and healthy eating. She is married and a mother of 3 young boys. Growing up in a single parent home forced her to adapt easily to her surroundings and have a strong sense of faith and hope to make a brighter future for her own family.  She traveled to Africa with her family for the first time in 2019, when her move to Ghana happened to coincide with the ‘Year of Return’, a year long symbolic commemoration of 400 years since the first enslaved Africans taken from Africa landed on the shores of what is now known as the United States of America.

She has visited the historic slave forts in Ghana and symbolically walked back through the ‘Door of no Return’. Shauntrella wants to make a difference in her community and is currently settling into her new adopted home of Ghana, as a returnee from the diaspora, working hard to accomplish her dream of owning a farm to table juicing company and a holistic women’s wellness oasis.

Adewale Ajadi

Adewale Ajadi is a facilitator, coach, and change agent with over twenty years of experience working with people, organizations, and communities. He is a qualified Lawyer called to the Bar 1988 and also holds an MSc in international business economics. He has a Honorary MBA from De Montfort University in Leicester UK and is Ambassador of Gloucestershire in the UK. He was a member of the United Kingdom Employment Tribunals system and a Reader of the Annual Queen’s Anniversary Award. He delivers leadership training for the African Leadership Centre in Nairobi.

He developed the Framework for Excellence in Equality and Diversity (FEED), an international framework for organizations engaging the complex challenges of equality and diversity. He is a Author and Playwright with his most recent published work is Omoluwabi 2.0 ‘A code of Transformation in 21st Century Nigeria’. He is currently the Director Programs and African Bridging Leadership Practice at Synergos, an institute dedicated to developing effective, sustainable, and indigenous solutions to global poverty.

Webinar S1 No. 6

Why and How should we preserve our Heritage Sites Associated with the Transatlantic Slave Trade, Colonialism and Independence?

Panelists

Fergus Maclaren

Fergus Maclaren is a sustainable tourism and cultural heritage management professional with 25 years of experience in Canada and internationally.

His background includes a broad range of tourism planning, destination management and community development aspects including training, risk and gap analyses, performance indicators development, research, site evaluation, needs assessment, Internet marketing, communications plans, site branding, multi-stakeholder evaluation and participation, program design and evaluation, large group presentations and facilitation. Mr. Maclaren has taught sustainable tourism at McGill University and lectured on the subject at post-secondary institutions in North America and Asia.

He was elected President of the International Committee n Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) International Cultural Tourism Committee in December 2017, and has acted as the Canadian National Expert Representative since 2008.  Mr. Maclaren has travelled to Africa four times, originally to undertake presentations and preparatory meetings when he was the Director of the United Nations-funded International Year of Ecotourism program in 2001-03. He was most recently on the continent in April 2017, when he toured the Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and Zanzibar Stone Town World Heritage sites in Tanzania.

He currently serves as the Head of International Relations and Knowledge Management for the Africa-focused Global Economic Institute, responsible for the development of their sustainable tourism program, and is assisting with the establishment of the ICOMOS National Committee for Kenya.

 

Nii Hansen V

Dr. Reginald Kpakpo Hansen-Thompson [Nii Hansen V] is a Management Specialist as well as an Auditing professional.

He is the Chief Executive Officer of James Quagraine Associates, a leading accounting firm in Ghana and the Executive Chairman of the Royal Ghanaian Airlines (RGA). He served in various Executive membership positions with the ECOWAS Business Council, the West African Enterprise Network, the African Enterprise Network, Southern Enterprise Network and the Maghreb Region. Additionally, he has consulted for the Organization for Economic Development.

He was an Executive Member of the Ga State Paramount Stool Gyaase. Nii Hansen V is currently a member of the James Town Traditional and Elders Council and Warrior King of the Ga State as well as the Head of the Royal Hansen Family of Jamestown(British Accra). He doubles as the Overlord of Afienaa and Katapor in the Amasaman District. He is a Fellow OF The Chartered Institute of Management Specialist (California, Trinidad and Tobago) and the Institute of Business Analysts and Consultants (FIBAC). He holds an Honorary Doctorate Degree from the Technological University of the Americas.

He was the first Vice President of the Ghana Boxing Association but resigned to become its Patron.

 

Prof. Henry Nii-Adziri Wellington

Professor Dr. Ing. Wellington is a cultural heritage activist and was elected Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2013. 

he obtained the B.Sc. in Design (1967) and M.Sc. in Architecture (1969) Degrees. He went on to attain the German Diploma in Urban Design (1972) and Doktor der Ingineurwissenschaft in Architecture and Development Planning (1981) at the Rheinisch-Westfaelische Technische Hochschule (RWTH), Aachen and the Technische Universitaet (TUBS), Braunschweig respectively. From 1972-2006, he researched in, and taught architecture at the KNUST as a Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor and a Full Professor to train several generations of architects. And headed the Department of Architecture for the period 1998-2002. While in the service of the KNUST, he was appointed as Acting Pro-Vice Chancellor for a period (2002) and became Director of Quality Assurance and Strategic Planning in the office of the Vice Chancellor. In 2007, hired as the foundation Head and Professor, he developed the academic programme in architecture for the establishment of the Department of Architecture in the Faculty of Applied Sciences at the Central University College, Miotso.

Since 2009, he has been on Post-retirement Contract in the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, University of Ghana, where, as a part-time lecturer, he is currently teaching and researching in Heritage Issues and Monuments Conservation as well as Architecture in Autism. Working recently as a member of the Local Organising Committee under the auspices of the Ghana National Commission for UNESCO, for the Celebration of the United Nations declared International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies, (IYL) 2015, he directed the Curating of the Ghana Exhibition that was sent to the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris for the official launch of the Celebration, 18th and 19th January, 2015. He was in the Ghana delegation to the official launching ceremony and took part also in the Closing Ceremony on 4th to 6th February, 2016. While talking about Cultural Heritage development in Ghana, he made a presentation on the envisaged Museum of Light being conceived to commemorate Ghana’s involvement in the IYL,2015, Celebration. As a scholar, he has published extensively in the disciplines of architecture, urban design, housing and cultural heritage. 

Webinar S1 No. 5

How should we navigate our Careers and Finances during a Pandemic?

Panelists

Nana Yaw Asamoah

Yaw Asamoah recently retired from J.P. Morgan after a 22 year career in investment banking. He was Managing Director and Head of Energy Capital Markets, based in New York. During his tenure at the firm Mr. Asamoah orchestrated and executed over 500 transactions, raising over $270 billion of equity capital for companies in the Energy sector as well as other industries. He was a senior member of J.P. Morgan’s Equity Commitments Committee, the body responsible for approving the firm’s participation in all equity capital markets transactions.

Mr. Asamoah is currently involved in numerous public service initiatives. He is Board Chairman of the Foundation of Orthopedics and Complex Spine (FOCOS USA), a U.S. based nonprofit which built and supports the FOCOS Orthopedic Hospital in Accra, Ghana. He is also a member of the Investment Advisory Committee (IAC), the organization responsible for partnering with Ghana’s Finance Ministry and the Bank of Ghana to steward the Ghana Petroleum Funds. Mr. Asamoah is a co-investor and sits on the board of Innovation & Manufacturing Group (IMG), a new manufacturing venture in the FMCG sector in Ghana.

 

Dana Reed

Dana Reed is an Impact Investor & Advisor in Africa. She recently served as the Interim CEO of The Africa Center; a business, policy and cultural center for contemporary Africa where she previously served as a Trustee of the Board. Her responsibilities of the organization included managing the staff, leading the $30mm capital campaign, developing and managing relationships with Heads of State/dignitaries/business and cultural representatives in Africa and the U.S.

Dana was the CEO of PanAfrican Investment Co., a $30 million impact investment company for SMEs in sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to joining PIC, Dana was a Managing Director at Semper Capital, a structured credit asset management company with $2.0 billion AUM. Her responsibilities included marketing, product development, and strategic growth of the firm. Before Semper, she was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. Dana began her career as a Fellow at the Export-Import Bank of the United States. She received a BBA in International Business from Howard University and a MBA from Howard University. She is a Trustee of The Africa Center, Harlem Tech Fund, BrightPoint Health and Randall’s Island Park Alliance. Dana was appointed by New York Governor Paterson to serve as a Director of the Harlem Community Development Corp. and continues to serve in that capacity today. Dana is the Financial Advisor to Uncharted Power, a renewable energy company that provides energy solutions in Africa. She is also the Financial Advisor to the AME Zion Church – East African District. Dana is an active member of the African Leadership Network, International Women’s Forum, Counsel of Urban Professionals and is the Vice President of the Metropolitan Chapter of Jack & Jill.

 

Terry Kojo Oppong

Terry provided strategic advice to individuals, families, and companies interested in growing within and into African markets where two-thirds of the population is below 30.

He currently serves as an advisor to startups, social impact organizations, and trade networks such as the Ghana Chamber of Commerce, USA, Inc (Founding Member) and the Ghana AfCFTA Policy Network (Diaspora Liason).

He has also worked and partnered with global brands like Conde Nast (VOGUE), Twitter, Uncharted Power, Ghana’s Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture (MOTAC), TED Conferences and TIDAL. Currently, he is pursuing a Digital Entrepreneurship MBA at Strayer University under the tutelage of Jon Steinberg, Former President and COO of BuzzFeed.

 

Shreyas Suresh

Shreyas Suresh is a first-year law student at the George Washington University Law School. He is interested in studying the intersection of law and international development, with a focus on economic development and microfinance.

Before beginning law school, Shreyas worked as an Operations Support Analyst at Morgan Stanley in Baltimore, MD USA. Subsequent to his role at Morgan Stanley, he moved back to his hometown of Mumbai, India and set up a social enterprise called The Soap Table which worked on creating employment opportunities for developmentally disabled people by teaching them how to make soap.

Shreyas completed his undergraduate studies from Washington College in Chestertown, MD USA with majors in Business Management and Economics and a concentration in Finance and Accounting. During his time at Washington College, he was the Chief Investment Officer of the Brown Advisory Student Managed Investment Fund, an investment portfolio with an approximate value of $850,000 completely managed by students. He completed internships in the Philippines and Ghana, where he worked with microfinance institutions to research different industry trends and develop best practices for maximum impact in the poorest sections of society. Shreyas also served on the Kent County Economic Development Commission, an advisory body that helped create a roadmap for economic development in Kent County, MD USA.

Webinar S1 No. 4

Reuniting the Diaspora: What is the Relationship Between Africans and African Americans?

Panelists

Ehui Osei-Mensah Bio

Ehui Osei-Mensah is a Business Applications Specialist at Microsoft where she partners with clients to resolve business challenges through digital transformation. Before joining Microsoft, Ehui obtained an MBA from the University of Oxford, Said Business School where she focused on practicing profitable business while making positive social impact.

Prior to that, her professional experience included a variety of research and consulting organizations where she led market research projects that influenced c-suite level business decisions across industries.

Ehui has always been passionate about telling accurate and multi-faceted stories about Africa and Africans and began writing on the topic over a decade ago, with her undergraduate thesis at Northwestern University (Africa on Screen – a qualitative analysis of Zwick’s Blood Diamond and Frimpong-Manso’s Life and Living it…).

Recently fueled by world-wide cries for racial justice, and from her personal experience as an African immigrant living in the United States, Ehui is lending her written voice to foster unity across the African diaspora in the collective fight against racism. She recently authored two articles that offer nuanced perspectives on the question of race and prejudice: The Blindspot, and Bridging the Black.

 

Duane Hughes

Duane L. Hughes is a Managing Director of Inclusion at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, a large U.S. law firm.  Duane joined Orrick form JPMorgan, where he held the office of Senior Business & Finance Manager of the Latin American Private Bank.  Duane spent the bulk of his career at Morgan Stanley, having started out at Shearman & Sterling and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, where he focused on Latin American capital markets.

Duane is passionate about diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging among working groups. His efforts have been consistently acknowledged in the industry. In 2010, the City Bar awarded Duane the highly coveted Diversity Champion Award in recognition, among other things, for the key role he played in drafting and securing industry support for the City Bar's Statement of Diversity Principles and the creation of the City Bar's Office for Diversity. In 2015, the Center for Hope (Haiti) honored Duane with its Hope Award. In 2016, Duane was honored by Legal Outreach PACT for his work in supporting the progress of young black and Latino males to college.  In April 2018, Duane gave a TEDxTalk entitled Check Your Preference and Improve Your Results.

Duane holds JD and joint MBA/MA degrees from The Wharton School and The Lauder Institute of the University of Pennsylvanian and a BA degree summa cum laude from Howard University.

 

 

Peres Owino

Peres Owino is an award-winning Kenyan-American storyteller whose screenwriting and directing credits include; “BOUND: Africans vs African-Americans”, which played in over two dozen festivals around the world winning the Women In Film- Lena Sharpe Award at the Seattle International Film Festival, the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, and the Best Film Directed by a Woman of Color Award at the African Diaspora Film Festival in New York. “Seasons of Love”, produced by Taraji P. Henson and nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Writing of a Television Movie. “Glimpse” premiered at the Montreal International Black Film Festival. Peres’ original works for the stage include the one act play, “Cut” which premiered at The Walt Disney Concert Hall – REDCAT and her one-woman show, “Beauty For Ashes”.

A commanding actress, Peres is an LA Ovation nominee who has appeared in dozens of plays in both New York and Los Angeles. She’s played coveted roles like Hamlet in the LATC presentation of “Hamlet: Princess of Nubia” and Lady Macbeth in the Coleman and Smith Artistic Company’s presentation of “Mocbet”. Her credits include the Off-Broadway production of “Supernatural”, “Break The Whip” directed by Academy Award ® winning director Tim Robbins, “Red Noses” directed by Tony Award ® winning director Dominique Serrand and the feature film “Default” opposite David Oyelowo (Selma). Her voice has also landed her roles in films like Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” and Sasha Baron Cohen’s film “The Brothers Grimsby” and the upcoming TV show, “The Looming Tower”.

 

Judge LeRoy McCullough

Currently assigned to the adult civil and criminal calendar through the Maleng Regional Justice Center (MRJC) in Kent, Washington, Judge McCullough began service as a King County Superior Court Judge in 1989. This appointment and succeeding retention was preceded by his work as the Chief Hearing Examiner for Seattle land use and environmental issues, by his assignments as a State of Washington Assistant Attorney General, and by private practice. While on the bench, he has chaired such King County Superior Court Committees as the Jury, Courts and Community, and Personnel committees. In 2009 he was honored as Judge of the Year by the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) and by the King County Bar Association.

Judge McCullough is a past President and Board member of the Loren Miller Bar Association, a Life Member of the NAACP, a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, former Chair of the King County Library Board, and a past Executive Board member of the Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA. Former Chief Judge of the MRJC and former presiding Judge of the King County Juvenile Drug Court, he considers himself a seasoned but progressive member of the Washington State Minority and Justice Commission and its Youth and Justice Committee. Judge McCullough holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Washington, Seattle, and certification from the National Judicial College, Reno, Nevada.

Webinar S1 No. 3

COVID-19, A Comparison of its Impact & Treatment in Africa & the Diaspora

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Panelists

Rumbi Mukurazhizha M.D., DABS (Diplomate, the American Board of Surgery)

Dr. Rumbi Mukurazhizha is a general surgeon specializing in minimally invasive laparoscopic, robotic, and bariatric surgery. She recently completed fellowship training and is starting as an attending surgeon with Mather Northwell Hospital in New York.

After earning her Bachelor's degree in Chemistry at the College of St. Catherine in Minnesota, Dr. Mukurazhizha went on to Medical School at the University of Minnesota. She then moved to Boston, where she completed a general surgery residency at Boston University Medical Center. During her time there, her commitment to exceptional patient care was recognized with the excellence in critical care award. She also took an active role in improving the surgical training experience, serving as Chief administrative resident in her final year. Dr. Mukurazhizha further specialized her training by completing a Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery Fellowship at the University of Maryland in Baltimore.

By design, her training institutions were primarily at large inner-city hospitals with significant socioeconomic and racial diversity in the patient population. She maintains an interest in surgical education and has long term goals to improve training for minimally invasive surgery in Africa.

 

Dr. Charlie Easmon

Dr. Charlie Easmon is President of The International Association of Physicians for the Overseas Services (IAPOS), Medical Director of your Excellent Health Service, the Co-founder of Global Health Action Strategies and Solutions, the Founder of YEHS We Care, a Former Honorary Lecturer at UCL Performing Arts Medicine, a Lecturer Diploma Course in Occupational Medicine at the Royal Society for Public Health, and in 2016 he was a part of the Development Team for The Black Cultural Archives

Dr Easmon trained at St George's. London. He did his elective in Ghana (his country of birth) and has since worked with, among others, Merlin, Raleigh International and Save the Children in Rwanda, and ECHO in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. He has been privileged to work in and visit 75 countries.

Charlie’s interest in mental health in the workplace came late through his occupational health work in which he saw the consequences of poor work environments, late referral, lack of mental health support resources or poor management. He lectures in schools to children, parents and teachers on mental health. He has built his own private medical business through various (at times stressful) ups and downs over the last 15 years and has counted 12% of the FT100 amongst his clients. The current business is called Your Excellent Health Service www.yourexcellenthealth.co.uk and is based at 1 Harley Street.

In 2006 Charlie was featured in Time Out: Ghanaian Londoners. In 2008 Charlie was awarded the Excell award for Innovation, Dedication and Excellence at the 8th Annual Ghanaian Professional's Association Awards. In 2012 Charlie was nominated for the Ghana UK Business Awards in the professional category. In 2013 Charlie was featured in CNN African Voices. In 2014 he was featured on the Nana Churcher Show and in 2016 he was also featured on Tip TV Health Program.

 

Naomi D. Coppedge, RN, MSN

Naomi D. Coppedge is currently the Associate Vice President of Nursing Operations at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Virginia. She is responsible for leadership and management of patient care provided in a total of 11 Medical Surgical, Telemetry and Intensive Care Units.

Ms. Coppedge is an experienced and skilled nurse leader who is passionate about excellent patient care with demonstrated results in patient safety and engagement. She has been a registered nurse in the state of Virginia for over 30 years. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from George Mason University. She also has been involved in extensive international community service. In 2015, she co-led the organization of equipment and supplies for donation to Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis.

Total employee donations of over $35,000 collected and matched by Virginia Hospital Center for a total of over $70,000. Ms. Coppedge is currently a Doctor of Nursing Practice student with a focus in Nursing and System Leadership from Penn State University.

 

Nana Abban Mintah-Ghansah BSc. Med. Sci, MB ChB

Dr. Nana Abban Mintah-Ghansah is a General Practitioner at the University of Ghana Medical Centre and a Lecturer with the Department of Physician Assistantship, Radford University College-Ghana. He is currently a member of the COVID-19 case management team at the University of Ghana Medical Centre.

After earning his BSc in Medical Sciences at the University of Ghana and an MB-ChB at the University of Ghana Medical School, he worked at St. Johns’ Hospital and Fertility Centre as a medical officer. For his hard work and dedication to ensuring excellent patient-centered care and equity of patient care, he was promoted to the position of the hospital’s Head of Clinical team. Together with his team, he worked hard to make the facility one of the best private healthcare institution in Ghana.

He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Clinical leadership and management at the University of Ghana Business School. His focus is to be an influence of positive change in the health sector of Ghana.


Webinar S1 No. 2

How do we heal from half a Millenium of collective trauma?


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Panelists

Mr. Joel E. Ruffin

Joel E. Ruffin, Sr., is a Vice President and Senior Engineer in the Technology Division at Goldman Sachs. Joel joined Goldman Sachs in 2000 leading several information security initiatives, most notably the successful implementation of Investment Banking’s application risk management framework and program. In 2015, Joel joined the Technology Management and Strategy team in the office of the global COO where he currently serves. 

Before joining Goldman Sachs, Joel was Manager of Enterprise Systems and Networking Engineering at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Princeton, New Jersey. Joel believes in the liberating power of education and its ability to unleash creativity, innovation, and value creation across organizations, communities, and individuals. In 2010 and 2013, Joel was awarded the Big Brother of the Year in the State of New Jersey. He received a Joint Legislative Resolution from State of New Jersey and a Proclamation from the Office of the Mayor of New Jersey. Joel is a member of the Strategic Advisory Board for Rising Tide Capital, a Technology Advisor for Council of Urban Professionals (CUP) and part of the Goldman Sachs and Casey Foundation Foster Care initiative leadership team. He is a guest speaker and corporate partner for Year Up Organization. He has been a member of Drexel University Goodwin College’s Advisory Council since 2017 and selected as the 2018 Commencement Speaker. Joel is an Adjunct Professor for the college, and a guest lecturer for the 2019 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), held in Philadelphia, PA.

Joel earned an MS Degree in Information Knowledge Strategies from Columbia University, an MS Degree in Cyber Security Management from New York University, and a BS Degree in General Studies/Computer Science from Drexel University/Goodwin College.

 

Dr. Margaret L. Spearmon

Dr. Margaret L. Spearmon is a faculty emeritus at the University of Washington, School of Social Work. She is the co-founder of Inclusive Engagements, LLC. In social work education, Dr. Spearmon has held both teaching and administrative positions at Case Western Reserve University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Temple University, and the University of Washington. Positions held include Director of Field Education, Director of the Bachelor of Arts Program, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Associate Dean of Professional Development and Community Partnerships. Social Work Management. Leading the study abroad programs to Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa have been transformative experiences for herself and participating students.

As a consultant Dr. Spearmon facilitates, training and coaching in the areas of managing a diverse workforce, building multicultural learning environments, team and community building, intergroup dialog, program management, community planning and strategic planning. A dynamic, enthusiastic, facilitator of change, Dr. Spearmon is distinguished by her passion for building responsive and inclusive teaching and learning communities. Her contagious enthusiasm instills in her and her team members extraordinary energy and dedication where creativity and innovation are encouraged. 

After completing her public school education in Cleveland, Ohio and after a study abroad experience in Germany, Dr. Spearmon received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, earned a Masters of Social Work Degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and a doctorate from the College of Education, University of Washington in Seattle, Washington.

A vibrant, strong, passionate and articulate woman of purpose; Dr. Spearmon is an ordained minister and is an active member of Seattle’s First AME Church. Most significantly, she is a servant leader; one who is dedicated to facilitating healing, change and transformative experiences for individuals, groups, communities and organizations.  

 

Dr. Angel Acosta

For the last decade, Dr. Angel Acosta has worked to bridge the fields of leadership, social justice, and mindfulness. He completed his doctorate in curriculum and teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University. Angel has supported educational leaders and their students by facilitating leadership trainings, creating pathways to higher education, and designing dynamic learning experiences. His dissertation explored healing-centered education as a promising framework for educational leadership development.

After participating in the Mind and Life Institute’s Academy for Contemplative Leadership, Angel began consulting and developing learning experiences that weave leadership development with conversations about inequality and healing, to support educational leaders through contemplative and restorative practices. As a former trustee for the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, he participated as a speaker and discussant at the Asia Pacific Forum on Holistic Education in Kyoto, Japan. He continues to consult for organizations like the NYC Department of Education, UNICEF, Columbia University and others. Over the last couple of years, he has designed the Contemplating 400 Years of Inequality Experience--a contemplative journey to understand structural inequality. He's a proud member of the 400 Years of Inequality Project, based at the New School. He is also the Creative Director at the NYC Healing Collective, a community initiative amplifying people and insights at the intersection of healing, wellness and societal transformation.


Webinar S1 No. 1

Systemic Racism in the Diaspora: Is this a Turning Point?


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Panelists

BARRY FORD JD

Our first panelist is Mr. Barry Ford who began his undergraduate studies at Harvard University and continued to earn a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School where he sat in class with President Barack Obama. He joined the Council for a Strong America in 2015 where he served as its Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President and was named President and CEO in January 2019. He has more than 30 years of professional experience as a government official, lawyer, nonprofit executive, and political candidate. Prior to joining the staff of the Council for a Strong America, Mr. Ford’s experience included being a community lobbyist in New York City, a two-time candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, and an associate with the international law firm Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. He has also been a policy advocate for quality out-of-school programs for over 15 years.


BELL RIBEIRO-ADDY MP

Our next panelist is Ms. Bell Ribeiro-Addy who was born and raised in Streatham, London and grew up on a council estate on Brixton Hill. She is the joint first woman of direct African descent in the British Parliament and proudly spoke of her Ghanaian heritage during her maiden speech in Parliament. She was elected as the Labour MP for Streatham in 2019 with a majority of 17,690. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science from the University of Bradford. She later gained a Master of Arts in Medical Law & Ethics at Queen Mary University, London in 2007, and a Graduate Diploma in Law in 2015. She was the National Black Students' Officer for the National Union of Students from 2008 to 2010, national co-ordinator of the Student Assembly Against Racism, and the national convenor of the NUS's Anti-Racism/Anti-Fascism campaign. Before becoming a member of Parliament, she was the chief of staff to former Labour frontbencher Diane Abbott MP. Ms. Ribeiro-Addy is a member of the Labour Party’s Socialist Campaign Group and has challenged the role of the media in devaluing black female MPs, particularly regarding errors in the media which carelessly mixed up the identities of black women parliamentarians. In January 2020, Ms. Ribeiro-Addy was appointed Shadow Minister for Immigration a few weeks after her election as an MP. She was relieved of her position following the election of the current Labour Party Leader, Sir Keir Starmer who recently criticised British BlackLivesMatter protesters for toppling the statue of a prolific and notorious slave trader, Edward Colston, which stood in the city centre of Bristol. Along with other members of the House, Bell has demanded that the British government should have a full parliamentary debate on Britain’s role in the transatlantic slave trade and colonialism.


EBENEZER AZAMATI

Mr. Ebenezer Azamati a Ghanaian graduate student in International Relations at the University of Oxford. He graduated with a BA in Political Science from the University of Ghana and a Masters of Science in International Politics as a Felix scholar from the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London. In his first year at Oxford he served as a student equalities officer for Mansfield College. After completing his MPhil he hopes to pursue doctoral research into Realpolitik and Great Power Management of the International Order at the UN Security Council. In October 2019, Mr. Azamati who is blind, reserved a seat at the Oxford Union prior to an event. When he returned he was refused entry and after sitting on his reserved seat was violently removed from the hall. The incident was recorded by another member and subsequently uploaded to the internet. This led to protests from the University of Oxford Africa Society on Azamati’s behalf which gained wide international news media coverage. The President of the Oxford Union apologised for the incident and resigned his position.

 

YOLANDA SEALEY-RUIZ PHD

Dr. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz gained her Ph.D. from NYU and is an Associate Professor of English Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is a former Research Associate with the NYU Metropolitan Center for Urban Education and has worked for Business Week, The New York Times, and New York University in Marketing and Promotion. Her research interests include racial literacy development in urban teacher education (with a specific focus on the education of Black and Latino males), literacy practices of Black girls and Black female college reentry students. Dr. Sealey-Ruiz’s work has appeared in several top-tier academic journals. She is also the co-editor of three books including “Teacher Education and Black Communities: Implications for Access, Equity, and Achievement”. At Teachers College, she is founder and faculty sponsor of the Racial Literacy Roundtables Series, where national scholars, postgraduate students, and young people facilitate informal conversations around race and other issues involving diversity and teacher education for the Columbia University community. She is also the co-founder of the Teachers College Civic Participation Project which concerns itself with the educational well-being of young people caught up in the juvenile justice and foster care systems in New York.