The very poised, collected, graceful African First Ladies shown here were a breath of fresh air and a striking contrast to the scorching hot temperatures that marked Day 1 of their Health Summit-Leadership for Health 2009.
Seated in the courtyard of the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles April 20 are (top left to bottom right):
Ida Odinga, wife of Kenyan prime minister, First Ladies Laraba Tandja of NIger, Penehupifo Pohamba of Namibia, thandiwe Banda of Zambia, Maria da Luz Dai Guebuza of Mozambique, Mathato Sara Mosisili of Lesotho, Sia Nyama Koroma of Sierra Leone, Adelcia Barreto Pires of Cape Verde, Chantal Biya of Cameroon, Ana Paula Dos Santos of Angola, Queen Inkosikati LaMbikiza of Swaziland and Turai Umara Yar'Adua of Nigeria. (Photo by Charlene Muhammad)
At approximately 10:00 A.M. three customized buses carrying the First Ladies pulled into the entrance of the Skirball Cultural Center. A fourth bus had broken down but passengers were OK and arrived safely. One by one, the women leaders approached the carpet, greeted their hosts, Ted Alemayhu, founder and executive chairman of U.S. Doctors for Africa and Jean Stephane Biatcha, executive secretary of African Synergy against AIDS and suffering.
Afterward, they attended an opening press conference and posed for press photos.
California's First Lady Maria Shriver presented the keynote address for today's luncheon and pledged to continue a long lasting relationship with African First Ladies.
Their work today consisted of more than just photo opportunities, but they participated on workshop panels that addressed their roles highlighting HIV/AIDS, maternal, reproductive and child health, as well as girls' education.
More on the Summit in The Final Call soon.
Ted M. Alemayhu, Founder/Executive Chairman of U.S. Doctors for Africa (photo by Charlene Muhammad)
(Pamela and Charles Anchang, publishers of The New Immigrant Magazine....photo by Charlene Muhammad)
Meet Mrs. Chantal Biya, First Lady of Cameroon and Founding President of African Synergy against AIDS and Suffering.
First Lady Biya (shown above left greeting children and other members of the Cameroon community in Los Angeles during a VIP reception for her at the Intercontinental Hotel in Century City April 19) is in the United States to convene the African First Ladies Health Summit April 20-21.
This afternoon, approximately 100 eager Cameroon natives and well wishers lined the red carpet, waiting to receive, touch or take a picture with Mrs. Biya.
Although, according to her protocol staff, she had just arrived in the country, she graciously took careful time to greet as many of them as she could, paying special attention to her youngest admirers.
"This was my Michelle Obama moment," exclaimed Andre Manga, a native of Cameroon, who has lived in the U.S. for some 17 years now. "I am just so proud of her and the work that she is doing with African Synergy," he told The Final Call.
The Summit is being hosted by US Doctors for Africa and will feature 15 First Ladies from African countries, including Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Comoros, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique and more.
Organizers say the Summit will assist the First Ladies in addressing critical issues of HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, and girls' education throughout Africa. Following a press conference and luncheon on Monday, the Summit kicks into a series of workshops that will include health policy experts, political figures and key organizations.
On Tuesday evening at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, US Doctors for Africa and others will commemorate the historic inauguration of the African First Ladies Health Summit and honor the women for their leadership.
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