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Pan-African Women’s Film Forum to be held at St. Kate's

awdfThe African Women's Development Fund USA (AWDF USA) has launched the Mother Africa Campaign to raise awareness and support across the U.S. of African women's leadership.  In Minnesota, the national campaign will debut on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, from 1-9 p.m. with a Pan-African Women’s Film Forum co-sponsored by St. Catherine University.

The event will include award-winning films that feature Nobel Peace Prize winners, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Dr. Wangari Maathai of Kenya as well as the stories of veteran African-American civil rights champions, Daisy Bates and Shirley Chisholm. Tickets can be purchased here.

"The recent Nobel Peace Prizes to two stellar AWDF leaders, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee of Liberia, have increased American interest in African women’s issues," says AWDF USA Executive Director Dr. Jackie Copeland-Carson. "The Pan-African Women’s Film Forum is a unique opportunity to learn more about African women leaders, as well as the longstanding contributions of African-descent women in America too.  We truly appreciate the support of St. Catherine University for helping to make this wonderful dialogue and learning opportunity possible.”

A US-based public foundation, AWDF USA was created a decade ago by its pioneering sister organization, the African Women's Development Fund (AWDF), headquartered in Accra, Ghana, and a coalition of American women to advance American support for African women's development, leadership and rights. Together AWDF, Africa's first women's foundation, and AWDF USA have provided almost $20 million in grants to more than 1000 women's organizations in 42 African countries over the past decade.

As noted by AWDF USA Minnesota co-chair, Antonia Wilcoxon, “AWDF USA is America’s bridge to the African women’s movement, creating a way for us all to be deeply involved in advancing their priorities for the continent’s development.”

For Coventry Cowens, Assistant Director of St. Catherine University’s Multicultural and International Programs and Services, “The Pan-African Film Forum is a strong fit with the University’s commitment to building and promoting diverse women’s leadership.  We are delighted to be a partner, sharing these wonderful films with the University community as well as the broader public.”

In addition to the films, the forum will include a panel presentation featuring Minnesota women activists and AWDF USA members, including leaders such as Semhar Araia, Executive Director of DAWN, an African diaspora next generation women’s coalition; Chingwell Mutombu, Executive Director of First Step Initiative, a Minnesota-based nonprofit that develops microenterprises in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Zainab Hassan, Program Officer with The Minneapolis Foundation; Tsehal Wodajo, Executive Director of REAL, an Ethiopian girls education initiative; Betty Emarita of Development and Training Resources; and Dr. Zenzele Isoke, a University of Minnesota Women’s Studies Professor.

“The forum uniquely combines film and community dialogue to raise awareness and build a constituency for African women.  We encourage all Minnesotans interested in women’s leadership to join us for this exciting event," says Amel Gorani, AWDF USA’s Minnesota Committee Co-Chair.


AWDF USA is a US-based 501(c)(3) public charity that works nationally to promote increased understanding, financial and other support in the United States for effective development initiatives and organizations led by African women. America’s partner for African giving, AWDF USA services include grantmaking, evaluation, research and public awareness initiatives that strengthen American philanthropy for the African women’s movement.

For more information about forum partners, AWDF USA, visit the website at Click here for forum registration and tickets.

Sep. 14, 2012 by Melissa Kaelin

See also: Leadership, Social Justice, Students