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African Association to Hold Award Gala

Jan. 31, 2005 – The first African Humanitarian Award Gala of the African Association of St. Thomas-St. John will be held at the Marriott Frenchman's Reef Beach Resort on St. Thomas on Feb. 19. The Award recognizes and honors individuals who have distinguished themselves through professional or personal life in advancing the cultural, social, and general interests of the African community in the Virgin Islands as well as the African Diaspora.
The Honorees for the 2005 African Humanitarian Award are H.E. Edith Ssempala, Ugandan Ambassador to the United States and Uganda's representative to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund since 1996; University of the Virgin Islands professors Ededet Iniama and Solomon Kabuka; St. Peter & Paul Cathedral Monsignor Jerome Feudjio; and St. Thomas neurologist James D. Nelson.
Nathan Braithwaite from Liberia, co-chair of the award committee, said in a release the premier honorees have distinguished themselves in furthering the interests of Africans. Co-chair Annette Raimer from the Virgin Islands added the honorees and the local community at large deserve the "exceptional gala being planned; it will add to the significance of the Black History Month."
The 7 to 11 p.m. event will include a sumptuous international buffet featuring African cuisine, an African fashion show, and music headlined by V.I. vocalist Lorna Freeman. Ambassador Ssempala will give the keynote address.
The public is invited. Call 779-2810, 690-7019, 779-2626, or 776-0397 for tickets, which are $65 for adults and $35 for children under 16 years.
The association "was established in the Virgin Islands some ten years ago to foster the cultural, social and general interests of Africans in the Diaspora, particularly on St. Thomas and St. John, and those on the African continent", its president, Dr. Solomon Kabuka from Uganda, said in a release. Over the decade, he said, the Association has supported various African heritage social and cultural activities in the community such as productions at the Reichhold Center for the Performing Arts, and initiatives by the V.I. Humanities Council.
Members of the association spend at least one month each year — the Black History Month — visiting and talking to students in local schools about Africa. Current initiatives under way include developing of an African studies curriculum at the University of the Virgin Islands.

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