By Phelps Stokes Team
2011 is the year of the Afrodescendants. In celebration of this occasion, there will be a summit focusing on the issues surrounding Afrodescendants around the world. The summit is scheduled to take place August 18-21, 2011 in the city of La Ceiba, Honduras. The First World Summit of Afrodescendants announced its launch May 26, 2011 at the Pan American Health Organization building in downtown Washington, D.C.
The event was led by Dr. Marijke Velzeboer from the Pan American Health Organization. “We are committed to equality in health and health for all; and it is really a privilege to be supporting this summit,” remarked Dr. Marijke Velzeboer. Dr. Santiago Cantón, Executive Secretary of the Inter American Commission of Human Rights of the OAS; Dr. Jorge R. Hernández, Ambassabor of Honduras to the United States; Mr. Jim Coffin, Acting Vice-President of Phelps Stokes; were just a few of the people asked to speak at the launch. There were also performances by Vicky Leyva and Efraín Martínez.
The President and Executive Secretary of the summit, Mr. Celeo Álvarez, wants to have tangible results from the summit. He hopes the summit will result in the creation of a recognized body for Afrodescendants in the United Nations. In addition, he’d like to create a fund for Afrodescendants in Honduras. It is important that this summit set a chain reaction that will be felt throughout the world. It isn’t enough to just recognize how marginalized Afrodescendants are treated throughout the world, but it is time to be proactive. The summit will be about creating solutions to help Afrodescendants all over the world.
When asked about the importance of the First World Summit of Afrodescendants, Dr. Santiago Cantón commented on the historic oppression of Afrodescendants. He added that it is important for everyone to work together to solve the issues that face Afrodescendants. Analyzing the gaps between Afrodescendants and other ethnic groups around the world is one of the principle goals of the summit. Honduras’ Ambassador to the U.S., Dr. Jorge R. Hernández, mentioned that Honduras has several Afro-Latinos working in the government, ensuring that Afro-Latino have representation in the government. The Honduran government has set in place quotas that guarantee Afrodescendants a place to work. Many attendees echoed the words of Colombia’s Vice President, Angeliono Garzon, that there should be a certain percentage of government officials that are Afrodescendant and Colombia’s Vice President made this statement in a press release addressing Afrodescendants in Colombia.
Afro-Peruvian singer, Vicky Leyva is excited about the summit. She expressed her happiness to see progress occurring in the world, as it relates to Afrodescendants. The summit’s website states, “The main purpose of this Summit is to harness the unique opportunity presented by the proclamation of the “2011 International Year of African Descent” for a critical analysis, assess the conditions of Afro-descendant populations, the achievements under the implementation of international treaties, and not least, an analysis of the social status of Afro-descendant movement.”
For Registration and additional Information, visit the official World Summit of African Descendants (Cumbre Mundial de Afrodescendientes) website: http://cumbremundialafro.org.