The Panamerican Panafrican Association, Inc. (the PaPa) marks its 23rd year as a NGO in Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
Founded by Dr. Robert Pritchard, a leading pioneer in the area of cultural, educational and economic exchange dating back to the 1960s, the PaPa was instrumental in the early 1970s in promulgating people-to-people programs between the emerging independent countries of Africa and the USA. Subsequently the PaPa also expanded its activities in promoting programs between the USA and countries in the American Hemisphere, in collaboration with such entities as the Organization of American States.
Through the efforts of Dr. Pritchard, who as a concert pianist and leading cultural figure authored the plan for the First World Festival of Black Arts implemented by the government of Senegal and UNESCO, the PaPa initiated a wide range of programs, including the 1965 the Black History Month Observance as a celebration of the contributions of peoples of African descent to the Americas.
The PaPa also participated in the welcoming celebrations for President Nelson Mandela’s first trip to the USA in 1990 after having worked vigorously in support of the anti-apartheid movement with the launching of the Cultural Boycott against Apartheid South Africa. Another centerpiece of the PaPa programs was to assist American firms wishing to do business in Africa in connecting with their counterparts in the continent. More recently, the PaPa has assisted African firms in accessing various funding resources from the US government for development projects.
A highlight of the PaPa’s exchange programs has been its collaboration with PaPa Japan in the area of cultural and economic exchange for almost twenty years. PaPa Japan contributed a grant to “Water Charity” in its project to bringing potable water to rural communities in the Dominican Republic. PaPa Japan has also donated to various charitable organizations in Africa.
The Papa continues its efforts to establish cultural, educational and economic exchange on a global level in the context of “Mutuality of Benefit,” which serves as the most effective way towards the continual pursuit of what the United Nations refers to as the “Culture of Peace”.
The participation of such organizations as the PaPa in the work of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) has been essential in advancing the dialogue on gender equality and the rights of women throughout the world. During this year’s CSW 62 that took place in New York during Women’s History Month, the Panamerican-Panafrican Association collaborated with two organizations which are working tirelessly to improve the lives of women and young girls in Tanzania and in Nigeria. Shina, Inc, a Maryland and Tanzanian-based organization, and Pleasant Gathering from Nigeria, partnered with the PaPa at CSW 62 to garner broader support for their important work in addressing the Priority Theme for this CSW 62, “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls,” by serving communities that are very often overlooked by larger organizations.”
Since its founding, the PaPa has advocated in favor of the concept of the “Four Pillars of Sustainable Development” promoted by the UN which includes support of economic development, social justice, environmental protections, and the preservation of cultural heritage. One of the underpinnings of these pillars for a sustainable society is open and transparent participation in the electoral process and preserving voting rights.
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