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A Dynamic Panel of Award Winning Advocates and Authors Call for Leadership, Mentoring, and Investment in Young People on Capitol Hill.

July 12, 2016

From Left to Right: Fatima Shahbaz, Bishop Corletta Vaughn, Leylah Simone Grimes, Bishop Shirley Holloway, Angelle B. Kwemo, H.E. Omar Arouna, Bershan Shaw, and Mocho Ochoa Nana.

From Left to Right: Fatima Shahbaz, Bishop Corletta Vaughn, Leylah Simone Grimes, Bishop Shirley Holloway, Angelle B. Kwemo, H.E. Omar Arouna, Bershan Shaw, and Mocho Ochoa Nana.

The Honorable Bobby L. Rush served as the honorary host of an exemplary panel of women writers and advocates who had gathered to discuss mentoring, leadership, and the importance of investing in young people on Capitol Hill on Tuesday July 5, 2017.  The event titled “Unleashing Our Youth’s Potential”included Bershan Shaw, Author and Leadership and Business Coach from the Oprah Winfrey Network, Bishop Coletta Vaughn, Author from the Oxygen Network Preachers of Detroit and Fatherhood Initiative Advocate, Bishop Shirley Holloway, Author, and Anti-Poverty and Homelessness Advocate, Angelle Kwemo, Author, Managing Partner at Washington Media Group and of Believe In Africa, and the event was moderated by Mocha Ochoa Nana, Chief Strategist at the Oracle Group International.

Based on life lessons and proven strategies in mentoring and leadership, the panel served as the official launch of Ms. Kwemo’s debut book “Against All Odds: How to Stay on top of the Game”.  Foregoing a traditional book release, Angelle decided to instead convene a panel of accomplished mentors known for their exemplary work with young people to initiate a call to action and highlight the urgency of the need to invest and develop tomorrow’s leaders.  The panelists stressed the importance of encouraging millennials to be involved in the civic process and how they can affect change by engaging with policy makers who have the ability to create change.
Panel of the Distinguished Speakers

Panel of the Distinguished Speakers

“The time is far spent and we are long overdue in mentoring tomorrows leaders on how to affect and create change”, says Ms. Kwemo “It is up to us to invest in the development of young people, and to be transparent with our successes and failures, so perhaps their journey to reaching their full potential will not take as much time as ours did.”

The event, which was free and open to the public, took place at the Rayburn building in a packed room of government officials, community leaders, and students.  His Excellency Omar Arouna, Ambassador of the Republic of Benin, gave opening remarks, followed by Abiola Afolayan, Senior policy Advisor for the Congressional African staff Association, and then Luis Clavell, Program Manager and Immediate Past President of Blacks in Government, welcomed the audience to the session.  16 year old Fatima Shahbaz, Vice President of the “Speak Up” initiative quoted Kwemo in her speech, saying “competence has no race, no gender and no age”, and expressed her gratitude for the invitation to attend the event.
Angelle B. Kwemo

Angelle B. Kwemo

The youngest speaker, 9 year old Leylah Simone Grimes from the Stop Bullying Club, closed the program by sharing her own personal story of how having a mentor inspired her to start the Anti-Bullying campaign that through a partnership with her Mayor will be replicated throughout her community. Omar Chinmoun (Embassy of Cameroon), Karim Soumana (Embassy of Niger), Steve Richer (Primapact), Bah-Pna Dahane Ndaba (Mandela representative), and many other leaders were in attendance.

“Renew Inspire Serve and Empower (RISE)”Leadership initiative plans to create town halls across the country to encourage youth development.  For additional information, please contact Angelle Kwemo at info@believeinafrica.org.
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