For Immediate Release         September 17, 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 Eduardo dos Santos at the first annual “Embrace Africa & America” dinner on October 2.
The gala evening at the California Science Center, 700 Exposition Park Drive in Los Angeles, will begin with a reception at 6:30 P.M. followed by dinner at 7:30 P.m.

Prior to the event, Charles Drew University will present President dos Santos an honorary doctorate, which will be accepted in his honor by Angolan Ambassador Josefina Pitra Diakte, a featured guest at the dinner.

“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 Angola 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.”
In addition to Dymally and Paolo, Dr. Keith C. Norris, Charles Drew’s Interim President, serves as an honorary chair of the Oct. 2 dinner. The honorary committee hosting the event includes: Rep. Donald M. Payne, who chairs the Congressional  Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, Rep. Diane Watson, a member of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health; Ambassador Amadou L. Ba, of Senegal, Mr. Noah Samara, founder and CEO of WorldSpace; Luddy Hayden, member of Africa Society’s Board of Directors, Mr. Michael Nouri, a noted actor, and Darrell Miller, partner, Fox Rothchild LLP.

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 the first annual reception and dinner, Embrace Africa & America, please call (323) 292-3300 or e-mail:
Invitation card



  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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