Launching Conference in Addis Ababa

1. Background

This season is the last chance Africa has. It makes or breaks its future. Right now, the continent is at a crossroads.

Africa has been lagging behind almost in every sector, far behind. If Africa continues this path because the continent is using the same approaches and with the usual pace that led Africa to this point, there is no better future for its people and the coming generations. Africa must take this season seriously and as its last chance to redeem itself. This is time to chart a new path, turn a new page. Otherwise, Africa will remain behind forever.

Africa now, however, has a new hope regardless of those skeptics who dubbed it ‘The Hopeless Continent’. Africa is the youngest continent endowed with untapped potential.  These give the continent a competitive advantage to come out of its predicaments. What is more? Regardless of past misfortunes, betrayals, and brutalities in the forms of colonization, slave trade, and so on, Africa demonstrated resilience and survived. Now, we see so many encouraging changes in many parts of Africa. Hope is on the horizon.

21st C is Africa’s. The continent is an upcoming star in the universe. It is set to shine in the new Century. We at PRO Leadership see a bright future ahead for Africans. That is why we dedicated the next few decades to bridge the leadership gaps in the continent so that Africa may tackle the challenges and seize the opportunities the new era presents. We are committed to play our fair share- together with our strategic partners, for the transformation of Africa. History is in the making and we would like to be part of this history.

Nonetheless, Africa must tap into its human capital. Resting its hope solely on any form of revolution- industrial or technology- must stop now. The continent took too much time and failed to capitalize on these on time. These revolutions that helped other continents cannot accelerate its speed of growth to catch up with the rest of the world. It is too late. Financial and in kind assistances, technology transfers, and experience sharing from those who attained sustainable economic development alone cannot also allow Africa to experience true transformation in one generation.

The continent must make a paradigm shift from focusing on techniques, systems, and technologies alone to investing in its people, especially on its youth and the most crucial section of her society- women. Africa should also tap into the Diaspora community well beyond its contribution in the form of remittance.

In short, Africa may need to undergo lots of changes and use various approaches at multiple fronts before the continent attains sustainable development. Regardless of multitudes of development efforts Africa must undertake and at multiple fronts, it should put developing its human capital at the center. These efforts cannot be successful both in short and long terms without raising competent leaders in quantity and quality. In the next few decades, raising leaders at all levels should be the focal point of Africa’s transformation.

2. Launching conference in the US

That is why PRO Leadership has been focusing on African leadership and dedicated its annual conference on “Bridging the leadership gaps to tackle the major ills Africa faces”. The first launching conference of this initiative was held on May 29th 2019 in Washington DC, US. The keynote speaker was H.E. Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, African Union (AU) Ambassador to the US. Because of an urgent call from the Headquarters of AU, she couldn’t make it but she sent a short video message. Click here to listen to her message.

Speakers, panelists, and organizing committee memebers

The following were confirmed speakers:

1. Guest of Honor Speakers:

  • Marc Elrich, County Executive of Montgomery County
  • Tom Hucker, Councilmember of Montgomery County
  • Mohamed E. ‘Mo’ Seifeldein, Councilman of Alexandria Virginia. He couldn’t make it because of an urgent legal matter.
  • Congressman Joe Neguse couldn’t make it but sent his remark. Click here to read his statement.

2. Panelists:

1. Viola Llewellyn, Co-founder & President of Ovamba

2. Samson Teffera, Board Member and Communication Lead of TASFA

3. Matthew Breman, Regional Director, Africa of International Youth Foundation 

3. African Leaders Success Story Speakers:

  • Julian Kiganda, Transformational Brand Strategist
  • Dr. Omekongo Dibinga, Director of UPstander International
  • Chiko Abengowe, CEO/Founder of Perfect Staffing Solutions, LLC

4. Presentation about the Initiative:

  • Dr. Assegid Habtewold, Founder of PRO Leadership Global Inc.
Partial view of the audience…

3. Launching conference in Addis

The Addis conference is a follow up to the US launching conference. We decided to hold the first consultative conference as part of launching the Initiative on the soil of Africa- Addis Ababa, the capital city of African Union, on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 at Addis Ababa University (AAU).

The keynote speaker is H.E. Dr.-Eng. Getahun Mekuria Kuma, Minister of Innovation and Technology. We anticipate the participation of high-level government officials, youth and women leaders; diaspora returnees; representatives of those relevant institutions in Addis that serve the youth, women, and the diaspora communities; diplomats as the guest of honors; representatives from universities, international organizations, development agencies, private foundations, and so on. Below are the core elements of the program of the upcoming conference in Addis:

  • Brief opening remarks by guest of honors (Elected officials, diplomats, VIPs, Major sponsor);
  • A keynote (s);
  • Presentation about the Initiative and May 29th resolutions;
  • Panel discussion focusing on the three pillars to bridge the leadership gaps;
  • Success stories of a diaspora returnee, a women and a youth leader;
  • Consultative discussion among strategic partners concerning next steps and future projects.

For your info, founded in 2009, PRO Leadership Global is a tax-exempt 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization based in Maryland, USA. PRO Leadership PROmotes leadership, PROduces leaders to bridge the leadership gaps (Geographic, Gender, and Generational leadership gaps) to tackle the major ills of the world one community at a time.

4. Goal

The main goal of this follow up conference in Addis is to bring key stakeholders together and brainstorm on how to bridge the 3G (Geographic, Gender, and Generational) leadership gaps in Africa to overcome the challenges the continent faces starting from Ethiopia, the seat of AU.

5. Objectives

The conference is designed to achieve the following specific objectives:

  • To share the resolutions of May 29th conference in the US
  • To discuss the importance of raising competent leaders for the transformation of Ethiopia in particular and Africa at large
  • To examine the challenges Ethiopian youth and women are facing that prevent them from taking leadership initiatives to serve their respective community
  • To brainstorm on how to equip and empower youth and women leaders
  • To recognize the crucial roles the diaspora may play to contribute its share in bridging the gaps by transferring the leadership lessons they gained from their respective hosting countries
  • To brainstorm some of the ways strategic partners should work together to begin bridging the leadership gaps in Africa starting from Ethiopia

6. Outcomes

It is our hope that the remarks by the keynote speakers and other speakers will increase the awareness of participants about the critical role leadership could play to tackle the major challenges Africa at large, Ethiopia in particular face. We also anticipate the following main outcomes at the end of each conference:

  • Identification of the most common unique challenges the youth and women leaders in Ethiopia are facing and the corresponding actions that should be taken
  • Recognition of crucial contributions of diaspora returnees on the ground and other diaspora members in contextualizing the leadership lessons they gained into Africa’s culture
  • Clarity among key stakeholders on who plays what roles Formation of partnership with some of our strategic partners to immediately begin implementing the initiative small scale

7. The Team leading the launching of the Initiative

7.1. Advisory Committee for May 29th launching conference in the US

Members of the Advisory Committee provide advices, suggestions, and recommendations to the Organizing Committee. Members include:

  1. Tebabu Assefa, Co-Founder of US-Africa Diaspora Business Council
  2. Omega Tawonezvi, Director of Southern African Community USA
  3. Mali Phonpadith, CEO of SOAR Community Network
  4. Krish Murti, Community Leader and Senior Project Management Expert
  5. Obang Meto, Executive Director of Solidarity Movement for New Ethiopia
  6. Dr. Tylema Miabe, Executive Director of National Congress for Democracy
  7. Shim Mekonnen, Chairman of the Board of Your Ethiopian Professionals network
  8. Kalewongel Tesfaye, UN Youth Advisory Board and Founder of YouthToYouth
  9. Dr. Yetnayet Demessie, Empowerment Coach and Consultant
  10. Dr. Gabe Hamda, Founder of Go PRO21 Community
  11. Eric Rasch, Operations Manager of Silver Spring Civic Building
  12. Mary Assefa, Consultant and Co-Founder of Jantilla

7.2. Organizing Committee for May 29th launching conference in the US

Members of the Organizing Committee are dedicated volunteers who carry out the day-to-day execution of the conference’s program. Members include:

  1. Yeabsira Zewdie
  2. Peyton Brooks
  3. Semhar Woldetnsae
  4. Besu Bekele
  5. Rahawity Haile
  6. Dr. Eche Wilson

7.3. Advisory Committee for July 17th launching conference in Ethiopia

Members of the Advisory Committee provide advices, suggestions, and recommendations to the Organizing Committee. Members include:

  1. Dr. Desalegn Mengesha Degefaw, Former President of the University of Gondar (UoG)
  2. Meti Shewaye Yilma, Former President of Association of Women in Business (AWiB)
  3. Dr. Kassu Jilcha Sileyew, Director of Addis Ababa University Career Development Center
  4. Selam Teshome, General Manager at GHBS Management Consultancy
  5. Dr. Abebe Kebede, Founder of Ethiopian Science and Academic Network
  6. Obolessa Adola, Program Producer at Evangelical TV
  7. Sara Tadios, Founder & Managing Director, iCAN (International Career Advisory Network)
  8. Dr. Asmamaw Mengestie, CEO of American College of Technology
  9. Kalewongel Tesfaye, UN Youth Advisory Board and Founder of YouthToYouth
  10. Ahadu Gebereamalk, Managing Director, Center for African Leadership Development
  11. Dawit Betseha Merawi, Senior Presenter on 105.3 AfroFM
  12. Maskarm Haile, Author of Abyssinian Nomad

7.4. Organizing Committee for July 17th launching conference in Ethiopia

Members of the Organizing Committee are dedicated volunteers who carry out the day-to-day execution of the conference’s program. Members include:

1. Assegid Mulugeta

2. Dureti Tolasa Barkesa

3. Hana Hailu

4. Kalkidan Tadesse

5. Mekonnen Asfaw

6. Sisay Mengistie

7. Dr. Yidnekachew Mogessie

8. Target Audience

We anticipate the dynamic participation of many Ethiopian youth and women leaders, and diaspora returnees. We also believe that many youth and women leaders from other African countries, some Ethiopian Ministers, Diplomats, leaders of Non-Governmental Organizations, Private Foundations, UN Agencies, and other Multinational and Regional Development Institutions that are fighting poverty, conflict, diseases, unemployment of the youth, and gender inequality in Africa will join us. We also expect the active engagement of top leaders from some universities, organizations that serve the youth, women, and the diaspora community. Though the conference is going to be held in Ethiopia, we believe that many leaders from other African countries will join us to participate as strategic partners.

9. Tentative Program for the July conference in Addis

Below is the tentative program of the conference:

1:00 – 2:00:   Registration and Networking

  • Come and network with likeminded leaders

2:00 – 2:05:   Welcoming

  • Master of Ceremonies, Meti Shewaye Yilma

2: 05 – 2: 15: Opening remark (President of AAU, Prof. Tassew WoldeHanna)

2: 15 – 2: 35: Remarks by Guest of Honors

  • Guest of Honor 1
  • Guest of Honor 2
  • Guest of Honor 3
  • Guest of Honor 4

2:35 – 3:05: Keynote Speaker (H.E. Dr.-Eng. Getahun Mekuria Kuma)

Theme: The significant place and roles of leadership to transform Ethiopia

3:05 – 3:20: Briefing on the Initiative and May 29th resolutions

  • Dr. Assegid Habtewold, Founder of PRO Leadership Global Inc.

3:20 – 3:35: Break and Refreshment

3:35 – 3:50: Dr. Eyob Mamo on ‘The Leadership Qualities Needed to Transform Africa’

3: 50 – 4: 35: Panel Discussion*   

  • Moderator
  • Panelist 1 focuses on Bridging the Geographic Gap- the roles of the diaspora
  • Panelist 2 focuses on Bridging the Gender Gap
  • Panelist 3 focuses on Bridging the Generational Gap
  • Q&A

4:35 – 5:35:   Consultation among stakeholders on the next steps and future projects

  • African diaspora community organizations, youth, and women associations
  • Multinational organizations that are working to alleviate poverty, resolve conflict, fight inequality, youth unemployment, and so on
  • Private foundations that are active in Africa to contribute their share for sustainable development
  • Universities and colleges that have leadership and management schools, and African studies

5:35 – 5:55:   Ethiopian Leaders Success Stories

  • Success Story 1
  • Success Story 2
  • Success Story 3

5:55 – 6:00: Closing remark by a guest of honor

10. Resources needed

We need support for the following expenses ($4, 250 USD):

  1. Flyer design and promotion ($300)
  2. For vendors who take and edit pictures and video clips ($1000)
  3. Reception food, refreshments, and water ($1500)
  4. Audio/Visual equipment rental ($200)
  5. Design and printing poster, banner, repeat, stationary, & other unexpected expense ($1, 250)

We would appreciate if you sponsor the conference by contributing financially toward covering the cost of the aforementioned expenses. In-kind contributions in the form of goods and services are also welcomed. The above amount would change if refreshment is sponsored in lieu of cash.

11. Sponsorship Packages

Below are the sponsorship packages to choose from:

I. Platinum (1): Equivalent of 1000 USD

  • Table at the event (to promote your company, showcase your products and sell)
  • A brief message (3- 5 min) during the opening session
  • Acknowledgment of sponsorship from the stage during opening and closing
  • Logo on PRO Leadership website
  • Name mention on flyers, the event’s program
  • Logo on step and repeat stand & PRO Leadership’s facebook page

 II. Diamond (2): 500 USD

  • Table at the event (to promote your company, showcase your products and sell)
  • Acknowledgment of sponsorship from the stage during opening and closing
  • Logo on PRO Leadership website
  • Name mention on flyers, the event’s program
  • Logo on step and repeat stand & PRO Leadership’s facebook page

III. Gold (3): 200 USD

  • Logo on PRO Leadership website
  • Name mention on flyers, the event’s program
  • Logo on step and repeat stand & PRO Leadership’s facebook page

IV. Silver (4): 100 USD

  • Name mention on flyers, the event’s program
  • Logo on step and repeat stand & PRO Leadership’s facebook page

V. Bronze (5): $50 USD

  • Logo on step and repeat stand & PRO Leadership’s facebook page

We really appreciate your support!

12. Contacts

If you have any questions or need further explanation about the program and/or would like to involve, please contact the coordinators of the Organizing Committee:

Kalkidan Tadesse                                 Mekonnen Asfaw                                
Email: tadaykal@gmail.com Cell: 903184404   Or       Email: nobilamak@gmail.com            Cell: 939290069  
  • If you would like to learn more about the sponsorship packages, please contact:

Sisay Mengistie

Email: mengstiesisay7@gmail.com  

Cell: 912072262

  • If you would like to volunteer on the big day, please contact:

Dr. Yidnekachew Mogessie

Email: esksenioradvfornorthandeastafrica@gmail.com

Cell: 922392838

  • If you would like to learn more about media coverage, please reach out to:
Assegid Mulugeta           Dureti Tolasa
Email: assaefeker467@gmail.com
Cell: 929315640
Or      Email: duretijesuse@gmail.com           Cell: 703-870-1207
  • If you would like to engage on social media, please reach out to;

Hana Hailu

Email: hanahailu016@gmail.com

Cell: 935965345