Diaspora conference in US to coincide with Kenya celebrations

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Preparations for the third annual Kenyan diaspora conference scheduled to begin at the end of the week in the US are complete.

Jean Kamau, the chief of missions at Kenya’s embassy in Washington, DC disclosed this during a press briefing earlier in the week.

Ms Kamau said that this year’s conference is being held in December and not the traditional month of October so as to coincide with Kenya’s 50 years celebrations.

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The conference is themed “50 Years onwards: Diaspora Past and Future Role in Development.”

“The third diaspora conference is being held in the year that Kenya is also celebrating her 50 years of independence, the year of Jubilee, Ms Kamau said.

It presents a unique opportunity to for us to celebrate Kenya’s achievements thus far and reflect on the opportunities in the future. This conference is well positioned to thematically address some of the most critical issues in diaspora affairs,” she said.

So far, close to 200 people have already registered for the conference but she expected the number to increase due Kenyans rushing to register at the last minute.

She said Kenyans living in North America who had not registered by the deadline announced earlier could still do so.

“Even though deadlines are important and necessary for planning purposes and we would prefer people adhere to them, we also appreciate the fact that there are those who may have not been aware of our deadline.

The conference is too important to shut out any person willing to participate,” she said.

Speaking to OneMicShow, an online radio show hosted by Ali Badawy and Humphrey Muturi, Ms Kamau said participants should expect better quality of presentations and discussions in the two-day conference that is schedule to run from Saturday, December, 14 to Sunday, December 15, 2013 at Hilton Crystal City at Washington Reagan National Airport.

Crystal City is in Arlington, Virginia.

MORE INTERACTION

Ambassador Kamau said that a review of the feedback submitted by participants of the last two conferences indicated that the diaspora community wanted more interaction and open engagement as opposed to lectures and PowerPoint presentations.

In addition, participants indicated a desire for the conference to provide sessions that focus more on the diaspora community and the issues that influence and affect their success and failures living in America as individuals, families and community.
“It is with this in mind that we are staying away from speeches from officials from Kenya. We want direct engagement by the diaspora with people in the business community and those who have identified the potential that the Diaspora has and are ready to recruit them,” she said.
Leading global firms like General Electric (GE) have developed programmes for young professionals to go back to Africa to work in its branches spread around the continent.

GE’s Back to Africa is a development strategy aimed at attracting African diaspora talent back to Africa to aid in accelerating growth in GE Africa.

According to GE, the programme offers exciting and challenging assignments that are aligned with functional and domain expertise, as well as leadership opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa.

FEATURED SPEAKERS

Ms Kamau also disclosed that ambassador Amina Mohammed, Foreign Affairs Cabinet minister who had earlier been touted as the keynote speaker would not be coming as she was held up in Nairobi.

“Because of the many things that are going on right now at home around Kenya’s 50 years anniversary celebrations, it was not possible for her (Amina) to come,” she said.

Among the featured speakers include governors Ali Hassan Joho of Mombasa County, Kinuthia Mbugua, Nakuru County, Nathif Jama Adam (Garissa County) and Senators Kipchumba Murkomen, Elkeyo Marakwet, and Amos Wako, Busia County.

Other senators are Beatrice Elachi, (Nominated Senator Women’s Rep) Peter Mositet, Kajiado County, Senator Mutahi Kagwe, Nyeri and Central Bank governor, Prof Njuguna Ndungu.

Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), Barclays Bank, Commercial Bank of Africa, Equity Bank and GE, are some of the sponsors of the conference.-nation.co.ke

Jean Kamau cutting the cake to celebrate Kenya's 50th anniversary in Atlanta, Georgia

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