I hope you had a restful and rejuvenating holiday season.
As we begin the new year, all eyes appear to be on Africa. President Joe Biden announced his plan to increase investment and improve the U.S. relationship with the continent, African musicians continued to top global streaming charts, and European companies are reportedly shifting more of their attention from Russia to tapping into African energy sources.
It was a rare circumstance for the majority of media reports to focus on African possibilities rather than problems. But it was a hopeful sight to see.
Current demographic trends show that by 2050, Africa will have 25 percent of the entire world’s population. Within the next 27 years, close to 40 percent of all children will be born African. There’s no question that if the world doesn’t pay close attention and change its relationship with the continent, opportunities for shared global growth, prosperity, and safety will be lost.
For The Africa Center, the continent has always been a place of possibility. This year, we will dive even deeper into why we believe this to be true. Our areas of focus will center on movement and migration of African peoples across the world, the ways in which people of African descent are reclaiming narratives about who we are through media representation, continued exploration of arts and culture as a gateway to authentic engagement with the continent, the ways in which climate change impacts life on the continent, and how we can continue to use technology to improve our quality of life.
Our team’s intention is to be a place where people from our communities can share, understand, and engage with the multiplicity of stories that shape the continent and will continue to shape the world. Our goal is to be a platform that connects, transforms, and evolves these relationships into something more powerful than ever before. That is what being a center for Africa means to us.
Through our exhibitions, public programs, and more, we hope to strengthen the network of individuals and institutions committed to improving the quality of life for Africa, African people, and people of the Diaspora. And this effort includes each of you.
Each time you participate in one of our programs to learn about contemporary African life, every time you share news about our work with your own community, you help us make that happen. So thank you.
If you have yet to visit us to see States of Becoming, don’t forget that due to a generous gift from Kimberly Steward, admission is currently “pay what you can.” We hope you’ll start your year with an exploration into the stories shaping the lives of the seventeen featured artists and their creative works.
As we look ahead to 2023, we invite you to join us in making our work even more reflective of and responsive to the needs of our growing global community. This includes people of African descent who live here in Harlem, in greater New York City, on the continent, and within the Diaspora.
Thank you for your partnership in this journey.
Wishing you a Happy New Year. We look forward to seeing you soon.
Uzodinma Iweala, M.D.
Chief Executive Officer, The Africa Center