President of Burkina Faso and African Union Commission leader join festivities.
By Donna Shor
Photos by Gustave Asiri
Dr. Gloria B. Herndon, the CEO and president of GB Group Global hosted a dinner at The Georgetown Club when two African leaders, President Blaise Compaoré of Burkino Faso and the African Union Commission’s Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Diamani Zuma stopped in Washington on their way to the United Nations.
Earlier that day both participated in Congresswoman Karen Bass’s Brain Trust Panel “Africa’s Future: Regional Stability and Growth.” Later President Compaoré addressed an overflow crowd of diplomats and political figures at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars where he discussed his “Cottage Plan for peace in Africa,” reaffirming it at the dinner.
The plan features the same diplomatic leadership and patient negotiation President Compaoré displayed in securing the release of Western hostages from a Saharan Al Qaida-connected group and resolving other outbreaks of violence and warfare, most recently in Mali. He emphasized the necessity of de-fanging these outbreaks which disrupt African unity.
Dr. Herndon underscored the plan’s importance in gaining the peaceful cooperation that ensures steady growth of the African Renaissance. At the dinner President Compaoré received the “Peace” award for his facilitation of that goal, presented by Amb. Joseph Huggins, the former ambassador to Botswana.
National Museum of African Art Director Dr. Johnnetta Cole presented Dr. Nkosazana Diamani Zuma with her award as a “Visionary and Renaissance Legend in Africa.” Dr. Zuma, head of the AU Commission, the executive arm of the 54 nation African Union, spoke of Africa’s increasing development and the need for closer ties with America. She discussed these topics with President Obama when he visited Africa in June, in U.S. acknowledgement of Africa’s growing importance on the world scene.
President Compaoré and Chairperson Zuma were recognized for their dedication to the development of local communities by the World Conference of Mayors (WCM). Awards were presented by WCM CEO & President and Maryland’s District Heights Mayor Dr. James L. Walls; and WCM founder Mayor Johnny Ford of Tuskegee, Ala.
TNI-Biotech was awarded for “Corporate Responsibility” by Rosa Whitaker of the Whitaker Group, in recognition of the company’s efforts toward affordable, accessible and sustainable healthcare in Africa. TNI-Biotech is focused on developing innovative and affordable immunotherapy treatment for diseases such as AIDS/HIV, cancer and Crohn’s disease.
Guests included Dr. Estelle Marie Heussen, COO of GB Group Global; Ms. Noreen McGurrin Griffin, CEO of TNI-BioTech; Dr. Ndiouga Dieng, vice president for Africa TNI-Biotech; Dr. Richards Afonja CEO of American Hospitals and Resorts; and Dr. Joseph Fortunak of Howard University School of Pharmacy.
President Compaoré was accompanied to America by his wife, Chantal Compaoré, Burkina Faso’s First Lady. Mrs. Compaoré, who is a fashion designer, was regal in a gown of her own design of heavy satin with a plastron of bugle beads outlining the fabric’s pattern.