By: Samuel M. Gebru
Friday, June 25, 2010
I arrived in Washington, D.C. yesterday, June 24, 2010 in the late afternoon from Boston. After getting settled I was invited to attend a dinner at U Street’s Almaz Restaurant. What I thought was simply going to be a short dinner turned into a three-four hour intellectual exchange of ideas—and most importantly, solutions.
Joining me was a professor, a community organizer and three doctoral candidates. We discussed Africa—youth, leadership, economic growth, African Americans, politics, the United States of Africa and the 2010 EAYI Conference. The brilliant exchange of ideas further solidified my belief that we Africans need to work closely on matters of common interest, such as regional and continental economic growth and social responsibility.
The message out of the dinner was simple—we Ethiopians do not live on an island and therefore it is senseless to consider ourselves, at any rate, superior to our African and African American counterparts. The social and intellectual wealth of the “African World” needs to be combined to realize a sustainable future for the continent and its descendants. This can only be done through grassroots involvement and leadership. The best movement is the one that is born out of the people and that continues to survive off the blessings of the people.
The Ethiopian American Youth Initiative will have to continue the Pan-African movement because in reality we are all interdependent. This is a movement that further solidified the relations between Ethiopians and African Americans. This is also the same movement that moved the Ethiopian American Youth Initiative to select Howard University as the Presenting University of its first annual conference. It is critical that youth take the initiative to promote understanding, dialogue and knowledge. The learning of our collective and individual history will be paramount in realizing the African Dream.
Samuel M. Gebru is the President of the Ethiopian American Youth Initiative