For Immediate Release         Tuesday September 30, 2009  



Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science and the Washington, D.C.-based Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa will honor Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos at “Embrace Africa & America,” a special program and reception on the university’s campus at noon on Friday, Oct. 2.

During the program, Dr. Keith C. Norris, Charles Drew University’s Interim President, will confer an honorary doctoral degree on President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. Angolan Ambassador Josefina Pitra Diakte, a featured guest at the reception, will travel from Washington D.C. to accept the honor on behalf of President dos Santos.

In addition to Dr. Norris, the program for the conferring of the degree will be attended by faculty, staff and students of Charles Drew University and other distinguished guests. The public is also welcomed to attend the special program, which will begin promptly at noon on Friday, Oct. 2 in the atrium of the W. Montague Medical Education Building, 1731 East 120th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90059.

President Eduardo dos Santos, a former Angolan liberation fighter, is one of the longest serving leaders in Africa, celebrating 30 years in power.

Angola, currently Africa’s top oil producer, joined the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in 2007 and, as this year’s president, will host a December 22 meeting in its capital, Luanda. Within three years, it will expand energy exports when it begins shipping natural gas with help from California-based Chevron Corp.

“President Eduardo dos Santos is a role model for us all,” said retired Congressman Mervyn M. Dymally, a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. “He was an early leader in the national movement to free Angola from oppression and since then he has lead his nation on an independent course, both politically and economically. “

Since 2001, Charles Drew University, as part of its mission of service, has worked closely with the Angolan government to help the young nation address problems of AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said Dymally, who heads the University’s Urban Health Institute.

Charles Drew University’s work in Angola has received support from the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Defense, the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Bernadette B. Paolo, ESQ., President and CEO, Africa Society of National Summit on Africa, said that “Embrace Africa & America” is a way of connecting the historic links between Africa and America.

“By forging this partnership, we strengthen ties for the future and merge two vital missions, that of The Africa Society and Charles Drew University which will have a profound impact on thousands of people’s lives,” she said. “We’re looking to build on a unique collaboration of educating our youth and providing quality health services which will bear fruit both on the continent and right here.”

Angolan Ambassador Josefina Pitra Diakte is the third ambassador to the United States since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1993. She holds a law degree from the Agostinho Neto University in Angola. She began her professional career in the Secretariat of State for Cooperation, rising to become the national director of technical assistance before moving to the Ministry of External Affairs.

Charles Drew University, a private nonprofit medical and health science institution, has provided quality college, graduate and post-graduate education and training to thousands of qualified minority and other students for more than 35 years. As part of its mission, the University provides training and patient care throughout Africa.

The Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa is a non-profit dedicated to educating Americans about Africa’s peoples, diverse cultures, histories and economies.  The Society is an outgrowth of the National Summit on Africa, which constituted, from 1997 to 2000, the largest mobilization of Africa-focused individuals and groups the history of the United States.

For more information on Embrace Africa & America, please call (323) 292-3300 or e-mail:

  For more information, please contact:
John L. Mitchell
Media Advisor at
Charles Drew University of Medicine & Science
Telephone: (323) 563-4981 or cell (323) 681-4225

1731 East 120th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90059
p 323 563 4987  f 323 563 5987

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