Brain Storming Session Moderators

Moderated by Jackson Mvunganyi ,Voice of America

A native of East Africa, Jackson has had a multi-faceted broadcasting career so far, working in both radio and television, in Africa and the United States. Jackson is passionate about Africa, politics, social development, arts and culture and the African diaspora. He has a bachelor’s degree in Multimedia development from American University in Washington D.C., and a Masters degree in Information Management from the University of Maryland at College Park. He volunteers his time with African communities in the Diaspora to seek ways to keep the connection with the continent.Jackson is the co-founder and vice president of Rwanda International Network Association. He serves on the board advisors for of Indego Africa INDEGO AFRICA an innovative social enterprise nonprofit social enterprise that lifts women-owned businesses in Rwanda toward sustainable economic independence through access to markets and education. He has moderated numerous academic panels around the country on issues ranging from Youth,Justice,Development,leadership etc. He was a featured speaker at the Young African Innovators Forum–a State Department initiative to Engage Young African leaders. Check out his award winning blog at

Africa’s growing middle class–Is it a myth or reality?

Hafiz Juma (AIM Group, Tanzania) &  Zoe Gadegbeku (Georgetown)

Hafiz is a self-defined “specialist of the general”. His passion lies in creative production specifically in relation to narrative forms. He is also a keen social and political commentator with specific interest in ideas regarding the post-national state. He is the Creative Director for AIM Group – a Tanzanian based New Media Agency, Co-Founder of we dont reed Publishers – an independent publishing house and a Director of E-Fulusi Africa an R&D company with focus on mobile tech for financial services. He is also a co-licensee and organizer of TEDxDar.  & @Hafizj on Twitter.

Zoe Gadegbeku is a 20 year-old Ghanaian student at Georgetown University. She plans to declare a double major in Psychology and French as well as a minor in Education,Inquiry and Justice. Outside of the classroom, she is engaged in various organizations on campus. In addition to acting as a member of the Events Committee of the African Societyof Georgetown, she serves as the Events Chair on the 2015 Class Committee. She also tutors for the DC Schools Project, acts as an academic peer advisor for some members of the 2016 class and works as a RHO assistant for Georgetown Housing and Facilities. Zoe is also in the process of collaborating with a classmate to revive a publication for minority students dubbed “The Fire This Time”. After college, she hopes to return to Ghana to work and contribute to the community that has made her who she is.

Is the African diaspora in a bubble? Do we direct conversations about the continent or on the continent. What is our real role? How grounded are our ideas about Africa?

Solome Lemma (Africans in the Diaspora) & Neyat Daniel (Georgetown)

Solome Lemma is a philanthropist, activist, and organizer. She is currently a grantmaking program advisor at The Global Fund for Children (GFC). For over five years, she served as GFC’s Senior Program Officer for Africa, managing a large portfolio that included work with over 100 grassroots organizations in about 25 countries. Solome is also co-founder and coordinator of HornLight, an online platform that promotes diverse, nuanced, and dignified narratives on the Horn of Africa. She currently spends most of her time working to establish Africans in the Diaspora (AiD), a new organization that aims to unleash the philanthropic and intellectual capital of the Diaspora to advance sustainable development in Africa. In the past, Solome has worked with the UN Development Programme in Ethiopia, Human Rights Watch in New York City, and International Rescue Committee in Liberia. Solome received a master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and an undergraduate degree in international relations from Stanford University. & @innovateafrica on twitter.

Neyat Daniel is an Eritrean-American hailing from Dallas, Texas. She is currently a senior at Georgetown University pursuing a double major in Psychology and Sociology. She is interested in development, with a particular focus on gender and education. She has recently returned from her junior year abroad when she spent semesters in Ghana and Turkey. On campus, Neyat is involved with the African Society of Georgetown on the events committee and the Justice and Diversity in Action community. She also teaches with the One World Youth Project as a project ambassador helping develop and teach a global awareness curriculum to middle school aged students in Washington D.C.

Africa’s tech boom, Can Africa use technology as a crutch to leapfrog in development?

Tsega Belachew (Ashoka) , Elen Walom (Diversitech)  & Huda Ibrahim (Georgetown)

Tsega: A dedicated student of positive social change and believer in the power of creative, grassroots solutions; Tsega currently works as the Global Digital Media Strategist at Ashoka coordinating online strategy for an organization working to build a global ecosystem where every individual has the capacity and motivation to be a changemaker.

Her interests are in approaches for social change that integrate social impact to the market through social entrepreneurship/intrapreneurship and take advantage of networked innovation through technology. She is especially passionate about projects that empower youth and women in Africa and take full advantage of storytelling from the grassroots.

Tsega has worked in a program management capacity for the U.S Federal Government and has done partnership building for a Social Innovation Fellowship. She has also worked as a digital strategist in multiple capacities including designing and coordinating for two websites that aim to shift the African narratives through storytelling, the UN Foundation and an Africa-focused, technology social enterprise amongst others. and on twitter @tsepeaces

Huda Ibrahim is a senior at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, where she is pursuing a double major in Finance and International Business, as well as an Arabic minor. Although she was born and raised in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, Huda requently travels back to her country of origin, Ethiopia, in order to remain connected to not only her extended family but her cultural roots as well. Having developed an interest in the economic advancement of the developing world, particularly in Africa, she was fortunate enough to intern for the LIONS@FRICA Partnership, a new public-private alliance created in May of 2012 to enhance and deepen the startup and innovation ecosystems of targeted fast- growing African economies.  In addition to her continued role with this partnership, Huda is also a Management Leadership for Tomorrow Career Prep Fellow, a student advisor for the McDonough School of Business, and the Vice President of the African Society of Georgetown.

Online initiatives/products/services: Are we limiting our base by focusing strictly on those with access to the internet?

Nosarieme Garrick (My Africa is) & Naa Adejeley Kome- Mensah (Georgetown)

Nosarieme Garrick: A product from around the Globe, but loudly repping Nigeria, Nosarieme Garrick is a writer, activist, and entrepreneur doing her part to see the advancement of Africa. As a writer, she followed the African culture beat contributing articles to Afripop!, MTV Staying Alive Foundation, Women’s Enews, and Sahara Reporters, creating networks with young African leaders in various sectors. In 2010, she founded Vote or Quench, a youth empowerment campaign educating young Nigerians on the importance of their vote. She headed back to Nigeria from New York to see the initiative through, and spearheaded the live production of the first youth centered presidential debate. Following her time in Nigeria, she did a 6 month business management internship with the Economist Group in the UK, mentored by the company’s CEO, Andrew Rashbass.

She received a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and French from St. John’s University. She has also spent time DJing, teaching English in France, and travelling around Latin America. and  @nosalikes on twitter.

Naa Adjeley Kome-Mensah is a freshman in the college and currently an undeclared major, though with a growing interest in Physics and French. Born and raised in the capital city of Ghana, Accra where her family lives, she is in the United States- Georgetown specifically- for college. She lives in Village C West where she is Vice President of the VCW Hall Council, helping to organize and coordinate events for VCWers in collaboration with the campus-wide InterHall Council. Having lived in Ghana her entire life and interacted with people from all corners of Africa at her high school, she is beyond gingered up to share ideas with the African Society of Georgetown concerning everything African, and looks forward to an experience of home away from home. ASG, she says, is her opportunity to be educated more about Africa -an opportunity she embraces with unequalled passion.

How does dependency on foreign aid in Africa either cripple or enhance African healthcare systems?

Leila Yosef (USAID)  & Nancy Oduro (Georgetown)

Leila Yosef has been working for US Agency for International Development for the past three years in the Global Health Bureau in the Office of Population and Reproductive Health. She supports USAID Field Missions and programs in Sub-Saharan Africa address commodity security and public health supply chains issues to improve availability of key essential medicines at various levels of the health system.  She also assists the field on informing and drafting project designs around community based healthcare programming and social marketing. Leila is the co-chair for the Global Health group under the Diaspora of African Women Network (DAWN). This group serves as a platform to utilize members’ public health expertise to exchange opinions and knowledge with each other; service Diaspora communities; and ultimately influence the public on relevant health issues in African Affairs. She studied International Affairs and Global Health from the George Washington University.

Nancy Oduro a Senior from Jersey City, NJ currently studying Health Care Management and Policy and pursuing a certificate in International Health. As the youngest child of two African immigrants, Nancy has always had a strong connection with the African culture. She studied abroad at the University of Ghana where she enrolled in a Development Studies Program. During her time there, she interned at the West Africa AIDS Foundation where she organized and coordinated the NGOs 2011 World AIDS Day Concert. At Georgetown, Nancy is heavily involved with diversity related work. She serves on the leadership boards for Diversability, the African Society of Georgetown, the Minority Health Initiative Council, DC Reads, and Diversity Action Council. She is also a Lime Connect Fellow as well as a member of the Diaspora African Women’s Network (DAWN). Ultimately, Nancy hopes to pursue work within the fields of International Development and Global Health Policy.

How can African female leadership successes be converted to success amongst women in rural areas? What does empowerment of African women mean for not just Africa but the world?

TMS Ruge (Project Diaspora, Villages in Action) &  Ty Johnson (Georgetown) 

TMS “Teddy” Ruge cofounded Project Diaspora, an online platform for mobilizing, engaging and motivating members of Africa Diaspora to engage in matters important to the continent’s development. A technology enthusiast, Ruge writes and speaks extensively on Africa’s current renaissance driven by technology, youth and the Diaspora. He is a frequent contributor to several online publications including CNN, New York Times, PopTech, The Globe and Mail, and The Guardian. In January 2012, he was awarded a ‘Champion of Change’ award by the White House for his community development work in East Africa. His work includes serving as a founding board member of Hive Colab in Kampala, Uganda — a co-working space for young digital entrepreneurs working on web applications in Uganda. As an active social entrepreneur, he is a director and shareholder in Uganda Medicinal Plants Growers, ltd., an agricultural start up dedicated to the value-added export of indigenous medicinal crops. Ruge is also the host of The Digital Continent Podcast, an interview podcast featuring the key innovators and entrepreneurs whose work is shaping the digital economies of Africa.

He was born in Masindi, Uganda and grew up in Uganda, Kenya and the United States. & @tmsruge on twitter.

Ty Johnson is a senior in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. She is studying International Politics with a concentration in Foreign Policy and is pursing a minor in African Studies. She has been involved in various clubs and activities on campus including working as a commissioner for the Student Activities Commission, outreach coordinator for Georgetown Women of Color and of course political chair for the African Society of Georgetown. Outside of Georgetown She has worked with various organizations such as Vital Voices Global Partnership as an Africa Program intern, The Batonga Foundation and EducationUSA at the US Embassy in Ghana. She had the pleasure of studying abroad in Ghana at the University of Ghana in Legon and is pleased to say that it expanded her understanding of Ghanaian culture and traditions and strengthened her desire to explore the African continent and the various countries, traditions and cultures it holds.

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