Joe Biden

Press Release - President Biden Announces the Inaugural Members of the President's Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement in the United States

September 26, 2023

WASHINGTON – Today, President Biden is announcing the inaugural members of the President's Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement in the United States. The establishment of this Council was a significant commitment announced by Vice President Harris on behalf of the Biden-Harris Administration during the 2022 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, aimed at enhancing dialogue between United States officials and the African Diaspora.

The African Diaspora in the United States, a rich and diverse community of African Americans and African immigrants, is foundational to our 21st century partnership with Africa. This community, which includes descendants of enslaved Black Americans, has long advocated for the prosperity of the African continent and its people, and strengthened the unique relationship between the United States and Africa.

In accordance with Executive Order 14089, the Advisory Council comprises up to 12 members appointed by the Secretary of State, and represents the diversity of the African Diaspora from African American communities around the United States and African immigrant communities across the continent and the Caribbean. The Council's members include individuals who have distinguished themselves in government, sports, creative industries, business, academia, social work, and faith-based activities. They will provide invaluable guidance to reinforce cultural, social, political, and economic ties between the U.S. and Africa, and promote trade, investment, and educational exchanges between the United States and Africa.

Rev. Dr. Silvester Scott Beaman will serve as Chair of the Council. Bishop Beaman's extensive experience and deep roots in Africa will enable him to lead the Council to achieve its full potential.

The members of the Council for the 2023-2025 term are:

  • Silvester Scott Beaman of Delaware, Chair
  • Mimi E. Alemayehou of Washington, D.C., Member
  • Rosalind Brewer of Georgia, Member
  • Viola Davis of Rhode Island, Member
  • Helene D. Gayle of Georgia, Member
  • Patrick Hubert Gaspard of New York, Member
  • C.D. Glin of Connecticut, Member
  • Osagie Imasogie of Pennsylvania, Member
  • Almaz Negash of California, Member
  • Chinenye Joy Ogwumike of Texas, Member
  • Ham K. Serunjogi of California, Member
  • Kevin Young of Washington, D.C., Member

President's Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement in the United States

Silvester Beaman, Chair

Silvester Beaman is the 139th elected and consecrated Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He is currently the Presiding Prelate of the Fifteenth Episcopal District serving in South Africa, Namibia, and Angola. Prior to his elevation to the episcopacy in July 2021, Bishop Beaman served as the pastor of Bethel AME Church, Wilmington, Delaware for twenty-eight years. He pronounced the benediction at the Inauguration of President Biden in January 2021. Bishop Beaman is married to Mrs. Renee Palmore Beaman, RN, BSN, MHA. They have two married daughters and four grandchildren.

Mimi Alemayehou, Member

Mimi Alemayehou is the Founder and Managing Partner of Semai Ventures LLC, which collaborates with mission-driven enterprises to advance sustainable development in emerging economies. She is also a Senior Advisor of the Three Cairns Group, an investment and philanthropic firm working to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. Previously, she was Senior Vice President for Public-Private Partnerships at Mastercard where her portfolio included initiatives designed to catalyze social impact and financial inclusion in emerging markets. As Managing Director of the Black Rhino Group and Chair of Blackstone Africa Infrastructure, she advanced major energy and infrastructure projects across Africa. Her government service includes an appointment as Executive Vice President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and as the U.S. representative on the Board of the African Development Bank. She is on the board of the ONE Campaign whose mission is to end extreme poverty. Previously she served on the board of Climate Change Crisis Real Impact and the board of Energy for Growth Hub. Her other board roles have included Fin Dev Canada, the US African Development Foundation, and Twitter, Inc.

Rosalind Brewer, Member

Rosalind (Roz) Brewer most recently served as Chief Executive Officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. from March 2021 through August 2023. Prior to that, she was Chief Operating Officer and Group President at Starbucks from October 2017 to January 2021. Before joining Starbucks, she served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Sam's Club, a membership-only retail warehouse club and division of Walmart, Inc., from February 2012 to February 2017. Brewer previously held several executive leadership positions with Walmart beginning in 2006. Prior to joining Walmart, she led the Global Nonwovens Division for Kimberly-Clark Corporation, a global health and hygiene products company, from 2004 to 2006, and held various management positions at Kimberly-Clark beginning in 1984. She currently serves as Chair Emerita of the board of trustees for Spelman College, where she did her undergraduate work. Brewer is also a board member of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture and formerly served on the boards of directors for Starbucks, Amazon, Lockheed Martin Corporation, and Molson Coors Brewing Company. She is currently ranked #7 on Fortune's 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and was named one of the 25 most influential women by the Financial Times in 2021.

Viola Davis, Member

Viola Davis is a critically revered artist, activist, producer, philanthropist, and New York Times best-selling author. Davis has earned EGOT status through her Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, and multi-Tony Award wins. She was honored in 2017 by Time 100 as one of the world's most influential people and, in 2022, was honored with the Public Counsel's William O. Douglas Award for her commitment to social justice causes. Davis has partnered with multiple programs to eradicate childhood hunger in the United States. In 2012, Davis and her husband Julius Tennon founded their production company, JuVee Productions, with its focus on giving a voice to the voiceless through strong, impactful narratives. JuVee creates scripted and non-scripted television, film, documentary, theater, and digital immersive content for global audiences. It remains at the forefront of innovation, while developing and producing a library of socially relevant entertainment, defined by inclusion. A graduate of The Julliard School, Davis received an Honorary Doctorate during its 109th Commencement Ceremony and she also holds an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts degree from her alma mater, Rhode Island College.

Helene D. Gayle, Member

Dr. Helene Gayle, M.D., M.P.H., began serving as the 11th president of Spelman College on July 1, 2022. Dr. Gayle previously served as president and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust one of the nation's oldest and largest community foundations. A pediatrician and public health physician with expertise in economic development, humanitarian, and health issues, she previously worked in leadership roles at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and was the president and CEO of the international humanitarian organization, CARE. Dr. Gayle serves on public company and nonprofit boards, including The Coca-Cola Company, Organon, Palo Alto Networks, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Brookings Institution, Center for Strategic and International Studies, New America, and the ONE Campaign. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, and Council on Foreign Relations among others. She is a tenured Full Professor in the Department of Environmental and Health Sciences at Spelman College and has received 18 honorary degrees.

Patrick Gaspard, Member

Patrick Gaspard is the president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, a leading public policy think tank working to build an inclusive and just nation. He has been a leader in government, philanthropy, labor, and global diplomacy, with an insistent focus on equity.

Gaspard most recently served as the president of the Open Society Foundations (OSF), one of the largest private philanthropies in the world, where he confronted significant global threats to democracy and rights. He shaped the foundation's $220 million commitment to civil rights groups in the wake of the national reckoning on race following the murder of George Floyd, and refashioned investments in global health infrastructure in the context of the COVID 19 pandemic. He is proud to have launched the Foundation's work in Culture and Arts as intrinsically tied to human rights practice. During his tenure as U.S. ambassador to the Republic of South Africa, Gaspard renewed the critical bilateral cooperation on security, health outcomes,and fair trade. He led the effort to redesign U.S. HIV/AIDS funding in the region and integrate it effectively into the South African health care system. He also successfully led trade negotiations that resulted in the unprecedented 10-year renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act. Gaspard served as the National Political Director for Barack Obama's historic 2008 campaign and went on to lead in the President's Administration as the Associate Director of Personnel for the Obama/Biden Transition, and Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Political Affairs. Gaspard has had a long career in labor and workers' rights movements, which peaked during his service to healthcare workers as Executive Vice President for the Service Employees International Union / Local 1199. Gaspard attended Columbia University and is the recipient of honorary doctorates from Columbia University and Bard College. He has also been awarded the Spingarn Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the NAACP

C.D. Glin, Member

C.D. Glin is President of the PepsiCo Foundation and Global Head of Social Impact for PepsiCo. In this role, Glin leads the food and beverage company's global social impact and community engagement efforts as well as a portfolio of global employee giving and volunteer programs. Glin oversees the PepsiCo Foundation's strategic direction and execution around three core issues of addressing food insecurity, providing access to safe water, and creating economic opportunities for historically underserved communities. Prior to joining PepsiCo, Glin served as President and CEO of the U.S. African Development Foundation, a U.S. government agency dedicated to supporting African-led, African-driven development solutions via catalytic financial investments in and local technical assistance to African grassroots communities and local enterprises. Previously, as an appointee in the Obama-Biden Administration, Glin was the first Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Global Partnerships for the Peace Corps. Earlier, he was the Associate Director for the Rockefeller Foundation based in Nairobi, Kenya, and served and consulted with numerous global non-profit organizations. Glin began his career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the first group in South Africa, during the transformational presidency of Nelson Mandela. Glin earned his B.A. from Howard University, a Masters-level diploma in Strategy and Innovation from the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, and completed the Leadership for Senior Executives Program at Harvard Business School. He and his wife, Jacqueline, have three daughters.

Osagie Imasogie, Member

Osagie Imasogie is Chairman of the Investment Bank and SEC/FINRA registered Broker-Dealer, Quoin Capital and Quoin Advisors. In addition, Osagie is a co-founder of PIPV Capital, a private equity firm that is focused on the life sciences vertical and has invested over $1 billion into that industry. Prior to co-founding PIPV Capital, he established GlaxoSmithKline Ventures and was its founding Vice President. Osagie has held senior commercial and R&D positions within pharmaceutical companies such as GSK, SmithKline Beecham, and DuPont Merck. He has also been a Price Waterhouse Corporate Finance Partner as well as a practicing attorney with leading U.S. law firm, Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis. Osagie is a serial entrepreneur and investor who serves on the board of a number of financial institutions such as FS-KKR Capital Corp and Haverford Trust, institutions that cumulatively manage over $28 billion. He is an adviser to Brown Advisory, a firm that manages in excess of $140 billion. Osagie is the Vice- Chair of the Executive Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and a member of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Nominating & Governance Committee of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center. In addition, Osagie is a Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, a member of the Executive Committee of the University, and is also the Chairman of the Board of the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, where he is an Adjunct Professor of Intellectual Property. Osagie holds LLM degrees from the London School of Economics and the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, and is a member of the New York State Bar in addition to being admitted to practice in other jurisdictions.

Almaz Negash, Member

Almaz Negash is the founder of the African Diaspora Network (ADN), an organization with the mission of informing and engaging Africans in the Diaspora and fostering direct collaboration with social entrepreneurs, innovators, and business leaders. This collaborative approach aims to drive investment and uplift the lives of individuals across the African continent and in our local communities. Under Almaz's visionary leadership, ADN has become a pivotal platform for various initiatives. The organization is now home to the African Diaspora Investment Symposium, an annual event held in Silicon Valley that brings together influential minds and changemakers. ADN also spearheads programs such as Builders of Africa's Future, Accelerating Black Leadership & Entrepreneurship, and Impact & Innovation Forums. Almaz is currently devoted to mobilizing Africans from the Diaspora, encouraging them to explore innovative approaches for diaspora engagement that go beyond remittances and extend to sustainable investments on the continent.

Chinenye Ogwumike, Member

Chinenye "Chiney" Ogwumike is a 2-Time WNBA All-Star for the Los Angeles Sparks and a full-time, multi-platform ESPN host and NBA analyst. Chiney stars on ESPN daily on ESPN's NBA Today and NBA Countdown, and also stars on the court as a forward for the Sparks.

Chiney is a proud first generation Nigerian-American, born in Cypress, Texas. The 1st overall pick in the 2014 WNBA Draft, she graduated from Stanford University with an International Relations degree under the mentorship of Dr. Condoleezza Rice. Chiney led Stanford to three Final Fours while distinguishing herself in academics, earning multiple honors for her academic success, including being named the 2014 Capital One Academic All-American of the Year and the Pac-12 Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Chiney Ogwumike was the 2014 WNBA Rookie of the Year and is a 2-Time WNBA All-Star (2014, 2018). She served as the vice president of the WNBA Players Association (WNBPA) from 2018 to 2022, instrumentally helping negotiate the groundbreaking 2020 collective bargaining agreement. In August 2020, Chiney became the first Black woman to host a national, daily sports-talk radio show. The 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree also holds the title of Executive Producer, producing an ESPN Films documentary "144" on the 2020 WNBA season. In 2018, Chiney became a full-time multi-platform ESPN NBA Analyst, becoming one of the youngest national sports studio analysts and one of the only full-time professional athletes to currently hold a regular national sports media position. She has made numerous trips to Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya, and South Africa with NBA Africa and other nonprofits to help launch youth empowerment and education initiatives, using basketball as a tool for development.

Ham Serunjogi, Member

Ham Serunjogi is the Co-founder & CEO of African fintech giant, Chipper Cash. As CEO, Ham heads the Executive Leadership Team and is responsible for leading the company's overall direction and strategy. Chipper Cash has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital funding, reaching a valuation of over $2 billion. It is widely considered one of the most valuable startups in Africa. After Graduating from Grinnell College in 2016 with a Bachelor's Degree in Economics, Ham began his career at Meta (formerly Facebook) where he worked in their Dublin, Ireland office managing relationships with some of Facebook's top advertisers. Today, Ham serves on the Board of Trustees of his alma mater Grinnell College, where he sits on the Investment Committee, which is charged with the responsibility of overseeing and allocating of the college's approximately $2.5 billion endowment. Ham was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Social Studies during Grinnell College's commencement. At a personal level, Ham swam competitively for many years and represented Uganda in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. Prior to attaining his degree in Economics from Grinnell College, Ham attended the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa, Kenya, serving as President of its Student Council. He was recently names to the 2023 Forbes 30 Under 30 list, headlining the finance category. Ham is based out of Chipper's global headquarters in San Francisco, California.

Kevin Young, Member

Kevin Young is the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, Young served as the Director of The New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture from 2016 to 2021, and spent two decades prior as a distinguished professor of creative writing and English. The author of fifteen books of poetry and prose, Young's most recent works include Stones (2021), a finalist for the T.S. Eliot Prize, and a children's book, Emile and the Field, named one of the best children's books of 2022 by the New York Times. His first nonfiction book The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness (2012) was a New York Times Notable Book and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Young is also the editor of nine volumes, most recently the anthology African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song (2020). Young holds degrees from Harvard College and Brown University and has held a Stegner Fellowship in Poetry at Stanford University and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. Also the poetry editor of the New Yorker magazine, Young is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Society of American Historians, and was named a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Both sides of his family hail from Louisiana; he lives and works in Washington, D.C.

Further details on the Council, and commitments from the 2022 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit can be found here:

Joseph R. Biden, Press Release - President Biden Announces the Inaugural Members of the President's Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement in the United States Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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