Mrs. Obioma Liyel Imoke, First Lady of Cross Rivers State, Nigeria and Hajiya Fatima Ibrahim Shema, First Lady of Katsina State, Nigeria are amongst the distinguished participants who will speak at the annual WETATi International Women’s Conference in Linthicum Maryland. WETATi which means Women Empowered To Achieve The Impossible, is a women empowerment organization dedicated to bridging the gender gap and advancing the interests of women everywhere.
The two first ladies who are development activists have NGOS that? are making a difference in their respective states. Mrs. Imoke’s POWER (partnership opportunities for empowerment realization) has been active on issues concerning widows, orphans, abandoned children and HIV/AIDS, while Hajiya Shema’s NGO, SERVICE TO HUMANITY has been active on the issues of the physically challenged, sickle cell, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, and maternal health. Also participating is the former First lady of Kogi State, Mrs. Aisha Audu Emeje. Mrs. Dooshima Suswam, First lady of Benue State, Mrs. Sherifat Aregbesola, first lady of Osun State and Mrs. Chantal Biya, First Lady of the Republic of Cameroon have also been invited. While in the United States, the first ladies will have? opportunities to promote the investment and economic potentials of their various states.
Faida Mitifu, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Amelia Sumbana, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Mozambique, Seretse Tebelo, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Botswana, Cheikh Niang, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Senegal, Ade Adefuye, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Nigeria, Yvonne Kalumo, First Secretary (Tourism and Communications) at the Embassy of Malawi, and Vivian Okeke, Minister (trade and investments) Embassy of Nigeria are some of the diplomats who will participate in the conference.
The conference which takes place on March29-30, seeks to bring together individuals from different races, gender and ethnicity to discuss issues ranging from women empowerment to development issues in developing countries.? It is a must attend conference for those looking to build coalitions, business partnerships and alliances. It is a conference tailored for effective networking. The theme of this year’s conference is ?Woman Power: Front and Center in the 21st Century-the mindset of a WETATi Woman?.? The conference will take place at the Baltimore Washington International (BWI) Airport Hilton.
Some of the issues to be discussed include women and broadcasting, role of female legislators in Congress, doing business with U.S. government agencies, investments in Africa and the Caribbean, women and HIV/Aids, funding for women and minority owned businesses, the role of technology in women’s lives, and micro credit. Members of the African Female Diplomatic Corps will have a special forum to discuss the role of women in public diplomacy. It is interesting to note that the African female ambassadors in Washington constitute a large bloc of the diplomatic representation in Washington, DC. Experiences of U.S. Companies doing business in Africa and the Caribbean will also be discussed. ?This is a conference whose time has come?,says Dr. Mercy Obamogie, a physician and President of the Princess Ejemen Foundation. ?It will be an effective platform for networking and articulating issues of importance to women?.
Several governmental and non governmental agencies will be represented at the conference, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare institutions, investment firms, etc. Some of the other speakers and participants will include, Ms. Diane White, Chief Operating Officer, AFRICARE, Washington,DC, Mr. Patrick Mphepo, First Secretary (Trade and Investments), Embassy of Malawi, Washington, DC, Ms. Kim Watson, Vice President, Potomac Electric Power Company in Washington, DC, Mr. Rhino Mchenga, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Malawi, Washington, DC, Dr. Wilbert Jordan, Executive Director of Oasis HIV/aids Centers and Clinics in Los Angeles,? Ms. Yve Car Momperousse, President of Kreyol Essence, in Port Au Prince, Haiti, Dr. Leonard Madu, President of the African Caribbean Institute and African Chamber of Commerce of Nashville, TN,? Senator Barbara Mikulski (D) Maryland, Ms. Towanda Livingston, Director, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, Washington, DC,? Dr. Ijeoma Nwando Okereke, Consultant and Publisher, Lagos-Nigeria, Ms. Darlene Brown, Vice President, BB&T Bank, Bowie, Maryland, Ms. Melissa Proctor, Public Health Adviser, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Mercy Obamogie, Physician and President of Princess Ejemen Foundation, Maryland, Dr. Chris Arthur, Associate Professor and Director of Medical Education? and Faculty Development, University of Mississippi Medical Center,Jackson, Mississippi, Ms. Sharon Jackson, MBD Compliance and Outreach Manager,Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs, Baltimore, MD,? Ms. Diane Cashin, President and CEO, True North Enterprise, Washington, DC,? Ms. Diane Forte, Director of International Programs, AFRICARE, Washington, DC, Ms. Cynthia De Lorenzo, Chief Executive Officer, Success in the City, Fairfax, VA,? Ms. Diane Brown, Vice President for Business Services at Prince Georges Community FCU, Bowie, MD, Ms. Sylvia Robertson, Executive Vice President for Business Development and Public Relations, AGSC, Reading, Pennsylvania, Ms. Ifeoma Onyia, President, Miss Health Care Group, Beltsville, MD,? Ms. Justin Njafu, Director of Nursing, Metro Homes, Washington, DC, Ms. Justine Love, Director of Community and Public Affairs for CBS Radio Washington, DC, Ms. Renee J. Nash, Director of News and Public Affairs ?WHUR 96.3FM, DC, Dr. Chika Onyeani, Editor in Chief, The African Sun Times, New York, Mr. Femi Ogunjimi., Director, GFEM Radio.?? Dr. Jill Biden, 2nd Lady of the United States is also expected to attend.
A multicultural awards banquet and extravaganza will bring the conference to a close.