The final stop on the GYIN ambassador’s whirlwind tour was Washington DC. On September 20th, GYIN ambassadors Tiburce Chaffa, Solomon Allavi, Abigail Simmons, and Melissa MacMaster participated in the Ronald H. Brown Roundtable panel discussion on the role of the African Diaspora youth in today’s world. The panel was hosted by DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs, Phelps Stokes, The Africa Society, and The Constituency for Africa.
The panel brought together youth leaders from the African diaspora and the continent to address the topic of youth engagement in Africa, prompted by the question “How can the African Diaspora youth be successfully engaged and empowered to become agents of change in Africa… and what role can the United States play to support the African Diaspora youth…in this new global economic environment?” The goal of this conversation was to create and strengthen the connections between African youth around the world. Panelist Melissa MacMaster believes that these connections are the keys to successful solutions; “[Youth] need to connect each to other and use our resources to solve issues … on a global level. Youth has huge potential and are creative.”
The discussion was moderated by Ngozi Nmezi, director of the DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs, and included Dr. Reuben Brigety, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. Dr. Brigety spoke in support of the major goals of both this event and GYIN as a whole, “We [as a government]… try to ensure that [African youth] actually have a seat at the table in their home countries so that their host leaders…can look at young people not simply as the people that ought to be seen but not heard, but can see them as a true resource in their own country.” Panelist Leila Samara also spoke enthusiastically about youth involvement, “we as Africans and African Americans need to engage in the issue of our time. We can change the way our government works.”
The GYIN ambassadors have headed back to their homes around the world, ready to work hard and inspire change. Upon returning home to Benin, GYIN ambassador Tiburce Chaffa summed up the sentiment of the conference in an inspiring tweet: “Back in Benin, Africa ... a new era begins, a new me is born - Tell my future to watch out.”