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U.S. Foundation Honors Africa First Ladies

African first ladies in attendance of an honoring ceremony held by the Women United Foundation in Washington D.C.

African first ladies were honored on Monday ahead of the opening of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit by the Women United Foundation, a U.S. entity that provides an international platform for women globally which will project a united message favoring women empowerment.

For more on the global initiative, the host of VOA’s Daybreak Africa James Butty spoke with Deborah Elizabeth, the founder, and Executive Director of Women United Foundation.

US Organization Prioritizes African First Ladies
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The interview was edited for brevity and clarity.

VOA: Tell us more about the event your organization held ahead the opening of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit on Tuesday.

Elizabeth: The event was focused on honoring the first ladies of Africa, because our organization was founded with the mandate of giving a platform to female leaders so they can speak more on the good works coming out of the continent and ensuring that they control Africa’s narrative.

We have a program focused on using the first ladies as Africa’s cultural ambassadors because they are not elected yet they represent their nations on several forts, especially in areas such as culture and what we call “soft diplomacy.”

The participation of the first ladies will be in the form of a panel focused on educating people on how they can contribute towards empowering the continent.

VOA: How many first ladies were in attendance of the event?

Elizabeth: Six first ladies confirmed their attendance, among them was the first lady of Sierra Leone, who is also our international spokesperson.

Other first ladies who could not attend the event sent delegates, among them Nigeria, Namibia, and Burundi.

VOA: Were there any members of the U.S. Congress in attendance?

Elizabeth: Three Congresswomen confirmed their attendance, among them is Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Congresswoman Cori Bush.

We were also joined by other members of the U.S. government, such as the U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield.