Dennis Boatwright, II
Political Activist

Dennis Boatwright

Detroit-NY Delegation Seeks Africa Ties at Faso Days in DC

The rapid formation of the Alliance of Sahel States (AES) instilled confidence and pride among people of African descent on the continent and throughout the Diaspora in a manner that many say has not been felt in quite some time. Fortunately, the momentum generated by the AES abruptly reached the United States last weekend.

When the director at The Center for Pan African Studies was told that the Burkina Faso embassy was hosting an event in Washington D.C. he was thrilled.  But when he received an invitation to attend, he was elated because most world affairs analysts never imagined they would witness such an event in their lifetimes.  Hence, director Dennis Boatwright II wasted no time organizing a Detroit-New York City delegation to attend the two-day event hosted by the Burkina Faso Embassy in the nation’s capital.

Group photo of Faso people and us

Before the delegation embarked on the trip to Washington, they pledged to show solidarity and support for the three African countries present at the event.

Upon arrival to the Burkina Faso Consulate the seven-member delegation was greeted with a spectacular reception almost like those typically accorded to ambassadors and foreign ministers. Though none of the CPAS members are officeholders, they came as representatives of the African Union Sixth Region Global, an official designation created by the African Union that empowers Civil Society Organizations in the Diaspora to participate and contribute to programs, initiatives and events of signatories of the charter of the African Union.

Even though the event was touted as The Faso Days, it was apparent that the program was also held to raise awareness and to celebrate the accomplishments of the other two members of the Alliance of Sahel States, Mali and Niger.

Mali Ambassador to US, Sekou Berth

Dr. Fatimata Sonogo, the organizer of the event, extended hospitality to CPAS that made our delegation feel right at home. In addition, Dr. Sonogo exposed us to African foreign ministers, ambassadors, and charge d’affaires who also projected the feeling of brotherhood. For us, this reception dispelled the myth that continental Africans look upon African Americans with disfavor.

For example, Ambassador Sekou Berth of Mali assured Mr. Boatwright that his country is in favor of creating linkages with CPAS and other African American organizations. To demonstrate his willingness, he gave Mr. Boatwright his contact information.

Piankhi with Fatimata

There was a host of other Africans that exchanged contacts with CPAS, but our interaction with Mr. Mohamed El Maouloud Ag Hamid left an unforgettable impression. Mr. Mohamed is the founding president of Association Timidwa. This grassroots organization is an artisan collective from Timbuktu, Mali dedicated to the preservation of the rich, cultural heritage of the Tuareg community through their unique craftsmanship and community initiatives.

Mr. Mohamed invited CPAS to Mali for us to experience firsthand the community work being done by Association Timidwa.  CPAS is planning to visit Mali to assist Mr. Mohammad in his pioneering work.


The second day of our visit to Washington D.C. brought us to a red-carpet dinner gala hosted by the African Diaspora Development Institute, an organization founded by Dr. Arikana Chohombori Quao. This event, too, was sponsored by the Burkina Faso Embassy. It is here that CPAS members established contacts to deepen our connections with those working to free Africa from negative external interference. The gala allowed us to relax and interact with other persons on an intimate level.  The African-centered drums and the delicious meals gave the impression we were in a west African village.

While everyone enjoyed their spicy dinner, the ambassador to Burkina Faso gave a riveting report on the serious challenges facing the country he represents.

The Burkinabe Ambassador pointed out in the closing remarks of his talk that the biggest threat posed against his country are militant insurgents who have created security problems in his country since 2012. However, he added that the Diaspora can play a big role in bringing peace and prosperity back to the country by visiting Burkina Faso and donating food, clothing, technology, and money.

Dennis Boatwright, Marvin Redman arrive at Burkina Faso compound

At the conclusion of the event, it was difficult for us to leave our amazing hosts. But before we departed, elder Piankhi of Detroit proudly handed Dr. Sonogo two classic books written by Dr. Yosef Ben-Jochannan to be gifted to Dr. Arikana in appreciation of the work she does for people of African descent. In the end we left with a sense of reaching an inflection point in African history. We agreed that our accomplishments far exceeded our expectations on a trip that was planned at the last minute. Moreover, what was obvious to all participants is that Pan Africanism is alive, and that Dr. Fatimata Sonogo is one of the rising daughters of Africa, who we confidently feel will continue the work needed to help place Africa back in its lofty position before invaders, enslavers, and colonizers, upended its peace and prosperity.

Posted: Thu, Jun 27

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