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About the Society

Bernadette Paolo and Teach Africa students

President & CEO Bernadette Paolo with Teach Africa students

The Africa Society is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan and diverse organization formed as a direct outgrowth of the National Summit on Africa, which launched in 1997 with grant support from the Ford Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. This initiative resulted in the largest mobilization of Africa-interested individuals in the history of the U.S., with delegations from every state and territory. After contemplating how best to meet the needs and demands of nearly 20,000 constituents, the Summit’s Board of Directors and Secretariat voted to establish an organization devoted to educating Americans of all backgrounds, ages and statuses about the continent of Africa. To meet this goal, The Africa Society was launched in January 2002 at an event sponsored by one of its primary partners, Discovery Communications, LLC. Since, the Society has developed a wide range of educational programs targeting every age group and academic level.

Bernadette PaoloServing as a combination think-tank and public education organization, The Africa Society is now building upon the momentum generated during the National Summit. By facilitating a paradigm shift, the Africa Society is working to ensure that Africa assumes its rightful place in the knowledge base of all Americans. As we highlight the richness and diversity of Africa, as well as the economic opportunities that it offers, we continue to acquaint Americans with the lifestyles and peoples of the 54 nations of Africa, thereby fostering goodwill and understanding. This not only benefits Africa; it engenders respect for and appreciation of the diverse backgrounds and cultures of African descendants in America.

In our eight years of existence, we have worked to reach our educational goals while simultaneously providing strategic and crucial information to policymakers and stakeholders in an effort to stimulate constructive action for socioeconomic growth in Africa. Our mission thus offers an exceptional channel for our youth and general public to engage fully and successfully in their local communities and the larger globalized world;a world that we hope will become progressively egalitarian, equitable, and peaceful.

The Africa Society is open to both Americans and continental Africans of all races, cultures, ages, and points of view.