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May 29, 2019

On May 24th, 2019, in New York, the African Union Mission to the United Nations celebrated 56 years of African unity under the theme of the year “Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa”.

The event organized at the United Nations Delegates Dining Room in collaboration with the United Nations African Ambassadors’ Spouses Group (UNAASG) and the Office of the Special Adviser for Africa (OSAA), was the culmination of three days of intense and constructive debates, the Africa Dialogue Series, an initiative of H.E. Ms Bience Gawanas, Under Secretary General, OSAA.

This second edition of the Africa Dialogue Series (ADS) took place at the United Nations from 21-23 May 2019. The African Union Commission was represented by H.E. Ms. Cessouma Minata Samate, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs and Ms. Ebba Kalondo, Spokesperson for the AUC Chairperson. Opening remarks were made by the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the President of the General Assembly H.E. Ms Maria Fernanda Espinosa, and the Prime Minister of Mauritius H.E. Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth. In attendance as well were Deputy Secretary-General Ms Amina J. Mohammed and the Chef de Cabinet of the SG Ms. Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti. Participation included representatives from key relevant UN agencies such as UNHCR, UNFPA, OCHA, and UNDP, as well as other International NGOs including the ICRC and representatives from Academia, the Diaspora, and the broader civil society. Closing remarks were delivered by the AU Permanent Observer, Ambassador Fatima Kyari Mohammed.

In line with the AU Theme, the objectives of the Africa Dialogue Series were to:

- Exchange best practices and lessons learned in African countries hosting refugees

- Discuss shared responsibility and the role of the UN, humanitarian and development partners as well as the private sector

- Raise the profile of the issue of internal displacement in Africa and discuss the benefits of the Kampala Convention

- Provide a platform for displaced populations to highlight their successes and challenges

- Identify concrete areas for practical and coherent international support

The Africa Day Celebration was thus the highlight of an enlightening week during which the United Nations vibrated to the rhythm of African priorities.

On that evening, the United Nations community, special guests, civil society, diaspora and the media sang the AU Anthem and listened to statements by Ms. Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces, President of the General Assembly, Ms Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General, Ambassador Mohamed Idrees, Permanent Representative of Egypt to the UN on behalf of the Chair of the African Union.

Ambassador Fatima Kyari Mohammed delivered the Message of the AUC Chairperson, H.E. Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat.

The special guest of the evening, representing Africa’s 6th region, H.E. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, was introduced by Ambassador Cheick Niang, Permanent Representative of Senegal and Africa Group Chair of the month, and gave a resounding speech on the role of the Diaspora.

Guests were then invited to share African culture and hospitality through music and dishes from all the regions of the continent by Mrs Yamile Luque Rocha, President of UNAASG.

The event benefited from important media coverage by the United Nations Correspondents Association and African press including social media.

Pictures can be found on the Official AU Mission Flickr album:

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