SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - From Livingstone College: Livingstone College was the only historically black college from North Carolina represented at the HBCU Africa Homecoming Initiative Media Launch in Washington, D.C., on June 10.
Kimberly Harrington, assistant director of public relations, gave remarks and endorsed the initiative on behalf of Livingstone President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr.
Developed by Kwabena Boateng, founder of the African Diaspora Nation, the HBCU African Homecoming Initiative intends to be a one-stop clearinghouse to expand educational and economic opportunity exchange between Africa and Black America. It is providing the platform to connect HBCUs with African colleges and universities for collaboration and sustainability.
The initiative will convene Aug. 1-10 in Ghana, West Africa, during the “Year of Return, Ghana 2019,” which was announced by Ghana’s president last year and observes the 400th anniversary of the Atlantic Slave Trade. It is a call to Africans in the Diaspora to unite with their Africans brothers and sisters.
In her remarks, Harrington said, “President Jenkins has a popular saying on campus: ‘Love is an action word.’ I stand before you today to announce that Livingstone College supports this HBCU Africa Homecoming Initiative and that this affirmation is not without action as our past behavior will serve as an indicator of our future intentions.”
Harrington recounted the existing efforts underway by Livingstone to strengthen its relationship with African countries. In April, she visited A.M.E. Zion University in Monrovia, Liberia, on behalf of Livingstone and met with its interim president, Peter Kamei, and the Interim Management Committee. She toured Zion’s Po River Campus, where a 24-classroom building is under construction. As a result of that visit, Livingstone is planning to collaborate with Zion University on a student/teacher exchange program.
Livingstone and Zion University were both founded by the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.
In May, the Honorable Latim Da-Thong, Deputy Minister for Administration for Liberia’s Ministry of Education, was among special guests at Livingstone’s commencement ceremony. He met afterwards with Jenkins and Dr. State Alexander, executive assistant to the president and vice president of communications and public relations, to discuss strengthening the relationship between Livingstone and Liberia’s educational institutions as a whole.
Currently, Livingstone has an agreement with the Liberian Organization of the Piedmont, based in Winston-Salem, to host two exchange students every four years from Liberia.
“This HBCU Africa Homecoming Initiative could not be more timely because we were already exploring those possibilities,” Jenkins said. “This initiative provides the platform to facilitate those relationships and create a win-win educational ecosystem for HBCUs and African universities.”
Boateng noted the connection between African leaders, such as James Aggrey, to HBCUs. Aggrey was the first person from Ghana to attend an HBCU in that of Livingstone College. He later became a professor there and then a minister through Hood Theological Seminary.
Global politics is changing; China is competing hard for Africa; and Ghana is calling for the African diaspora to return home for the 400th anniversary of slave trade, Boateng said. “It looks like everything is aligned … Education is the foundation for this awakening. We need to work hard.”
Her Excellency Dr. Arikana Chihombori Quao, African Union Ambassador to the United States, delivered powerful opening remarks at the media launch on the need for the African diaspora to unite and partnership, endorsing the initiative.
“My mandate is to see to it that Africa and the United States are the best partners the world has ever seen. The United States - the Americas - is the only region that has a heritage connection to Africa, and it is for that reason that I am on a mission to see to it that the marriage between Africa and the United States is the best marriage the world has ever seen.”
The initiative is also endorsed by the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education.
Other HBCUs present were Howard University of Washington, D.C.; Delaware State University; Morgan State University in Baltimore; and Medgar Evers College in New York.
“It was the utmost privilege to participate in this historic event with my colleague, Keith Anderson (audio visual coordinator and radio station manager),” Harrington said. “North Carolina has more HBCUs than any other state, so it was also special to be the only one represented. This initiative substantiates our historic purpose, reinforces our relevancy today and solidifies our hope for tomorrow.”
To see Harrington’s full remarks, visit Livingtone College’s official Facebook page @Livingstone1879.