NEW YORK, Sept. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- During the opening week of the UN General Assembly, The Africa-America Institute hosted its 60th Anniversary Awards Gala honoring the African Union and outstanding African leaders for their contributions to Africa and the world, and recognized Chevron's corporate social responsibility efforts in Africa on September 25 in New York City.
The Africa-America Institute (AAI) is a U.S.-based international organization dedicated to advancing higher education and professional development training for Africans, and promoting engagement between Africa and America through education, training and dialogue.
Celebrating under the anniversary theme "Unlocking Africa's Greatest Asset for 60 Years", nearly 500 distinguished U.S. and African leaders and top diplomats gathered for the annual black-tie affair that has become one of New York City's largest events celebrating African achievement.
"AAI is privileged to celebrate our extraordinary 60-year history of building Africa's human capacity and is energized to reach greater heights in our next 60 years," said Amini Kajunju, AAI's president and CEO.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield delivered an official congratulatory letter from President Barack Obama where the president reiterated Africa's importance to America.
African Heads of State and top diplomats exchanged perspectives on Africa's past, present and future in an exclusive, unscripted conversation with H.E. Hailemariam Dessalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Chair of the African Union; H.E. Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of Namibia; The Honorable Hannah Tetteh, Ghana's Minister for Foreign Affairs; and The Honorable Bernard Membe, Tanzania's Minister for Foreign Affairs.
H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chair of the African Union Commission, accepted the AAI Institutional Legacy Award on behalf of the AU, and called for a "skills revolution" for Africa's development.
Chevron received the AAI Award for Corporate Leadership and Philanthropy for its social investment programs focusing on leadership and skills that lead to economic empowerment and better health and education outcomes in African countries.
Dedicating his award to young African entrepreneurs, Tony Elumelu, Chairman, Heirs Holdings Limited and Founder, Tony O. Elumelu Foundation, received the AAI Leadership Award in Business and Philanthropy.
In accepting the AAI Distinguished Alumnus Award, Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella, CEO of UN Sustainable Energy for All, said AAI gave him "the biggest break of my life."
ABC News' Byron Pitts served as the Master of Ceremonies. Broadway star Thuli Dumakude entertained guests with her soul-stirring South African rhythms.
SOURCE The Africa-America Institute