I had the privilege to attend the 2016 African Youth Education Awards (AYEA) in Hamburg which for me belongs to one of the well-organized events by the African Diaspora in Hamburg.
In terms of event management, the African Diaspora has constantly been linked to a clichee of disregard for time, ill-prepared programs, less attention to detail and unprofessionalism.
Traditionally, one can also argue that most African communities in Germany have placed much focus on socio-cultural programs (Outdoorings, Funeral Celebrations, Cultural Shows, etc.) to highlight their existence in the public domain.
I humbly want to proclaim that the AYEA program is now one of the leading platforms to showcase a different image of the African Diaspora in Germany.
My confidence in making such a proclamation thrives around my personal observations whilst attending the AYEA awards. Essentially, I’d restrict my opinions to the following:
The organizers of the AYEA have clearly understood that the regard for punctuality directly translates into respect for participants and also lays the foundation for effectiveness.
The program started on time – which was the first surprise I took notice of- and it was executed within the allocated time. This brings to mind that I have to give a big credit to the 3 young African female moderators who combined glamour, professional expertise and resolute assertiveness to drive this event to the expected targets.
Attendance & Awards:
The AYEA program was patronized by signficant personalities from the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, representatives from the Hamburg Local Government, Embassy of Uganda, Notable Parliamentarians, Student Associations and many more distinguished individuals. For me, this platform delivered the ever so important avenue for vital engagements between the political divide in Germany and the African Diaspora. The presentations stressed the need for the African Diaspora to consolidate its position within the society at large by taking advantage of all integration avenues.
At the same time, the awards to our young African brothers and sisters can be seen as powerful motivation factors, however, I am of the view that they clearly depicted an increasing trend of the African youth walking a different path in comparison to the older generation. Specifically, this is an indication that they have embraced the idea that achieving excellence in education is a core prerequisite for career development and social integration in Germany.
The event sequence combining formal presentations, entertainment acts and motivational speeches were driven in a manner which captured my attention from beginning to end. Boredom factor was zero and I believe this is achievable through experience which the organizers have gained in the last couple of years.
Writing your Story:
Unfortunately, Africans (both on the continent and in the diaspora) have never had the joy, resources and the platform to write and communicate their own history (culture, religion, traditions, etc.) to the rest of the world. This role has often been occupied by foreign media, especially western media who, evidently, have always presented Africans in the light of their own expectations, imaginations and purposes.
Going forward, this situation has to change and the AYEA showcased that this is a viable avenue for the African Diaspora to tell its own story.
Logistics, Hospitality and Services:
As a Professional Project Manager, I could see that a lot of planning, time, resources and engagements have been invested into this event or I’d say project.
The outcome was simply remarkable – participants neither noticed any technical issues nor logistical challenges.
On the other hand, I thought the representation and involvement of the African Diaspora in Hamburg leaves much to be desired. Yes, more hands on deck! Hamburg has the largest number of Africans in Germany and I am convinced they could put more resources together to expand the dimensions of this event. I’d also expect to see more African businesses in Hamburg taking up the role of sponsors for this event.
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