Friday, November 9, 2001

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, among others, appeared at the 2001 Africare Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner Tuesday at the Washington Hilton in Northwest. The occasion celebrated the accomplishments of Louis W. Sullivan, former Secretary of Health and Human Services. Dr. Sullivan won the 2001 Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award.
Guests included former Rep. Ronald V. Dellums; Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy of Sciences; Rep. Eva M. Clayton; and Ahmedou Ould Abdallah, executive secretary of the Global Coalition for Africa.
During the keynote address, Mr. Powell said he is grateful for a “country blessed with a perfectable system of government.” He emphasized the need for solutions to the human rights atrocities of Sudan and the AIDS crisis on the continent. In light of the September 11 attacks, he thanked the crowd for attending the dinner and continuing life as normal. Referring to the tragedies, he said, “Out of this evil will come good.”
In receiving the honor, Dr. Sullivan joined past recipients of the award, including Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu, the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner; Sargent Shriver, the first director of the Peace Corps; Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa; and former President Jimmy Carter. During his acceptance speech, Dr. Sullivan said his parents taught him that “a relevant life is one that includes serving others, especially those less fortunate.”
Mr. Shriver, who attended the event with his son, Maryland Delegate Mark K. Shriver, said Africare is one of the best organizations for helping humanity. He added that he was thankful for the racial diversity the group promotes. “The comprehensive quality of the programs is excellent,” Mr. Shriver said. “They are very loyal to what they believe.”
There was an overwhelming consensus among the guests that more resources should be allocated for the AIDS epidemic in Africa. The dinner was dedicated to the victims of HIV and AIDS on that continent. “We need to invest more money in research for AIDS,” Mark Shriver said while eating hors d’oeuvres at the reception before dinner.
John Woody, Africare’s director of finance, said the organization hoped to raise $1 million from the evening. About 2,000 guests were expected to attend the dinner. The money donated will benefit families and communities in Africa with food security, agricultural assistance, AIDS education, democracy development and emergency relief from natural disaster and war.
“We spend $26 million in programs a year in Africa,” Mr. Woody said. “The [U.S. Agency for International Development] is our primary support.”
William Washington, director of program development at Lockheed Martin Corp. in Bethesda, said his company recognizes the importance of Africa and hopes to build a better partnership with it. “AIDS is a real problem there,” he said, “but Africa is bigger than AIDS.”
Mustafa Salim Nyang’Anyi, the United Republic of Tanzania’s ambassador to the United States, said Africare’s work directly affects his country. “We have nearly 1 million refugees from Burundi and Congo,” he said. “Africare has been helping us serve them.”
Traditional African attire worn by many of those attending added flair to the evening. Chigozie F. Obi-Nnadozie, minister-counselor of the Embassy of Nigeria, came dressed in a handmade silk outfit called an ashoke, complete with headdress. “The women sit a long time to make something like this,” she said. “It costs about $150 in U.S. money.”
C. Payne Lucas, president of Africare, said he was pleased that guests attended the dinner even though a war is going on in Afghanistan. He added he was excited by the cultural diversity the evening provided.
“Every color person is here,” Mr. Lucas said. “It looks like lilies of the field.”

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