- July 30, 2014
Post submitted by Ashley Fowler, HRC Global Engagement Assistant
This past Monday, HRC had the privilege of hosting a reception for young African leaders who are in Washington, DC, as part of the White House’s Young African Leaders Initiative. The reception honored LGBT individuals and allies participating in the three-day Summit, and introduced them to U.S.-based advocates working on international LGBT issues.
The 500 young leaders at the summit were selected from over 50,000 applicants from sub-Saharan Africa. These young leaders were provided six weeks of intensive executive leadership training, networking, and skills building, followed by this week’s Presidential Summit in Washington, DC where they were able to engage with U.S. government officials, business leaders, and civil society representatives.
Attendees at the reception gathered together in HRC’s Equality Center, where Ty Cobb, Director of Global Engagement at HRC, Jane Thirikwa, HRC Global Fellow from Kenya, and several other coalition representatives addressed the young leaders. They commended the leaders on their accomplishments and encouraged the LGBT leaders and allies in attendance to continue advocating for LGBT rights in their respective countries.
Earlier on Monday, the young African leaders were able to meet with President Obama, who, building on his trip to Africa during the summer of 2013, will host heads of state from 32 of the 37 nations in Africa for the US-Africa Leaders Summit next week in Washington, DC. This summit, the largest of its kind to date, is meant to strengthen ties between the US and Africa. The theme of the summit is “Investing in the Next Generation.”
HRC, in conjunction with numerous other coalition partners, sent a letter to President Obama last week urging him to include civil society voices in conversations during next week’s summit. In addition, earlier today, HRC and Human Rights First released a report on LGBT rights in Africa.
Other co-sponsors of the young African leaders reception were American Jewish World Services, Amnesty International, Council for Global Equality, Freedom House, Global Rights, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, National Black Justice Coalition, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Open Society Foundation, and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights.