Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo Photo Credit Jon-alexander.com
Our 10th Sullivan Honors event brought together Africanists from around the US, ready to see the 2011 Sullivan Honorees revealed. It was an exciting evening that brought together members of the African Diplomatic Community, Heads of State, Congressmen, and Senators.
The Sullivan Honors are named for the late Reverend Leon H. Sullivan, and Honorees were being recognized for championing human rights, democracy, good governance, poverty eradication, and a commitment to solving Africa’s ailing issues in economic development.
The 2011 distinguished Honorees were former Ghanaian President John A. Kufuor, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, and the African Union.
Mrs. Hope Sullivan Masters, President and CEO of the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation stated at the 2011 Sullivan Honors, “Tonight, we honor Africa…we celebrate all of Africa…and we celebrate very significant sons of Africa this evening.”
US Agency for International Development Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah was also in attendance and gave a speech stating, “We (USAID) remain committed to making sure we engage with the continent…in a manner that is respectful, in a manner that prioritizes partnerships, in a manner that respects the great innovation and incredible success of so many African economies; that even during this challenging time for the global community are growing at 7, 8, 9, or 10%.”
The role of development: promoting economic growth, eradicating poverty, and creating an environment of hope, is one in part of the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation’s ideals.
Dr. Shah went on to say, “We stand with you in a spirit of real partnership and support, and we seek to learn as much from our engagements on the continent as we have to offer…”
Distinguished guests of the night included members of congress such as Congressman Bobby Rush, who was honored with the title of “Sullivan Soldier”—a title given to individuals for their commitment toward building community service projects and providing a voice to individuals who have none. Other Sullivan Soldiers included Reverend Peter Mathews, Reverend Tony Lee, and Ralph Perkins.
Congressman Bobby Rush, in the opening of his speech, paid tribute to the late Rev. Sullivan stating that, “Dr. Leon Sullivan was a visionary who saw beyond our problems and recognized our potential, he saw beyond our differences and recognized our distinction, he saw beyond our poverty and recognized our prosperity. Let me remind you that the Sullivan Principles are the proven pathways for Africa and the diaspora…”
The 2011 Sullivan Honors ended with R&B singer Tyrese Gibson and remarks by John Hope Bryant, CEO of Operation Hope and a member of President Barack Obama’s Presidential Advisory Council on Financial Capability.
The evening’s Master of Ceremonies was Dr. Mark Lamont Hill, a leading Hip-hop intellectual, Columbia University professor, TV Host, and writer for the Washington Post, Essence Magazine, and the New York Times. Other distinguished guests included President Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea, who had the opportunity to speak, and Prime Minister Guillaume Soro of Ivory Coast. Former President of the World Bank and former Under Secretary of the Department of Defense Mr. Paul Wolfowitz was also present.
We also want to make sure that all of our Sullivan constituents and sponsors know how grateful we are to each and every one of them for their longstanding support and contributions to the mission and vision of the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation