President Stroble Invited to Speak at United Nations Forum About Africa

Sep. 21, 2018

President Stroble Invited to Speak at United Nations Forum About Africa
President Stroble and Provost Schuster with members of ARDN earlier this year during an agreement signing ceremony.

ST. LOUIS - Webster University President Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble will speak on a panel at the United Nations next week as part of the “Africa: Open for Business Forum.” The goal of the forum is to explore the way in which government agencies, private organizations and community activists can work together to promote African business, innovation and entrepreneurship that adds to the public good.

Stroble was invited to participate in the event by Djibril Diallo, the President and CEO of the African Renaissance and Diaspora Network (ARDN). Diallo previously served as the director of the UNAIDS Regional Support Team for West and Central Africa. The University signed a memorandum of understanding with ARDN in 2017. The ARDN works to support and further the sustainable development processes of the United Nations as they relate to Africa and the African Diaspora. ARDN works with government, educators, artists and other groups to help raise awareness of Africa and African issues. 

“We welcomed this partnership with ARDN to collaborate on a number of awareness campaigns affiliated with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” Stroble said. “Educational opportunities, specifically the kind that are available at our Ghana campus can help the U.N. meet these goals and I am proud to represent Webster University with these other influential leaders in business, government and education as we work together to create highlight the need for greater engagement with African nations and communities.”

In the past two years, the Ghana campus has held numerous public events, including a discussion on the state of journalism in Africa, the impact of W.E.B Du Bois on Ghana and the United States during Black History Month, and the challenges faced by African Leaders.

Webster is the first American University to open a campus that offers both undergraduate and graduate level degree programs in Ghana. The campus was established in Accra in 2013 and welcomed the first group of students in the spring of 2014. The Webster Ghana campus is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the government of Ghana.

According to a statement issued by the United Nations, the forum is being held because “The private sector has been influential in the development of Africa’s economy, particularly in regard to the Sustainable Development Goals.”

United Nations data indicate that private organizations invested $3.8 billion in Africa in 2016, supporting initiatives ranging from agriculture and energy to healthcare and financial sectors. The belief is that investing in “social good” creates an even bigger return, the U.N. statement says.

Stroble will participate in the “Local Governance, Education, Sport and Culture Roundtable.” That discussion panel will be moderated by Flo McAfee, co-chair of the African Renaissance and Diaspora Network Media and Communications Committee and the president of Summerland Studios. Other members of the panel include director and writer and chair of the ARDN Arts and Cultural Committee Chair Richard Gant; Alioune Gueye, the secretary-general for Réseau des Organisations des Jeunes Leaders Africains des Nations Unies; Amir Dossal, president of Global Partnerships Forum, and the Hon. Alfred O. Vanderpuije, president of the Global Alliance of Mayors and Leaders from Africa and of African Descent, member of Parliament of the Republic of Ghana, and former lord mayor of Accra.

The “Africa: Open for Business Forum” will be held at the United Nations on Sept. 26.

In 2018, Webster University and ARDN announced domestic and global initiatives for AIDS awareness and prevention during a joint press conference and live stream on World AIDS Day. The joint Webster University/ARDN plan will allow students to gain hands-on experience leading efforts to build awareness of HIV/AIDS in Africa and the United States, and to arrest its resurgence including communications initiatives and video storytelling projects; public health initiatives including public policy and community engagement; and executive leadership initiatives including though leadership.

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