Header July 2011 

Message from the Executive Director

semharEvery year around every July, DAWN is busily preparing to celebrate its annual birthday.  Four years ago this month, we were just a handful of women who wanted to meet after work for dinner and make connections. Now, we are a network of over 150 women professionals of the African diaspora who are focused on African affairs and we continue to grow.  And tonight, we will celebrate our birthday in Washington, DC.  Tickets are almost sold out, but we welcome you to join us!!

I am constantly impressed by the contributions and successes of our members and proud to be a DAWNer. From non-profit professionals, to entrepreneurs, to policy advisors and international development experts, we are cultivating a new generation of African diaspora thinkers who will contribute to African affairs and policymaking.  

We are excited about our upcoming year and invite you to join the Executive Committee, or volunteer in some other way! We will also be holding our DAWN Membership Drive in September! For more information on the Executive Committee or the drive, please email admin@dawners.org

Semhar Araia

Executive Director and Founder of DAWN  

TONIGHT! DAWN's 4th Annual Dinner -July 30, 2011!
2011 Anuunal Dinner 

In honor of Pan-African Women's Day and DAWN's 4th Birthday, we invite DAWNers, DAWNistas and DAWN MOMs to join us for DAWN's 4th Annual Reception & Dinner on Saturday July 30th 2011. 


This year's dinner will be a chance to celebrate DAWN's growth and accomplishments over the past year as well look ahead to our upcoming priorities and goals as an organization. 


To purchase your tickets, go to http://www.dawnanniversary.eventbrite.com/  and make it a night to remember! If you have any questions, email events@dawners.org


DAWNer of the Month

     Milen Zerabuk  

milen zerabruk


Milen Zerabruk is a security intelligence analyst at iJET International Inc., a risk assessment firm based in Annapolis, Maryland. As a member of the Africa team, Milen forecasts potential security, economic and operational business risks for a variety of private, public and non-governmental clients operating across Sub-Saharan Africa. She also monitors events across the region to identify growing trends that may impact business operations, ranging from the environment to political unrest. Before joining iJET, Milen worked as a litigation assistant at Finnegan, a leading intellectual property law firm in Washington, DC. She also spent time working with the Mayor's Office on African Affairs in Washington, DC.

Born to Eritrean parents in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Milen moved to northern Virginia at the age of three. After receiving an undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary in International Studies, she traveled to Asmara, Eritrea, to intern at the UN and Multilateral Organizations division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The experience deepened her commitment to foreign policy issues affecting the African continent and its Diaspora. She has been a member of several community-based organizations in the Washington, DC area, including the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students where she served as the youth program manager until January 2010.


She also participated in grassroots efforts to mobilize support among the African Diaspora community for Obama's 2008 election bid, including Eritreans for Obama and African Diaspora for Obama. Milen is currently a graduate student at George Mason University, pursuing a master's degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution.Masters of Science Degrees in Middle East Politics and African Politics from the School of Oriental

and African Studies in London, England. 


Congratulations Milen! We are so proud you are a DAWNer!
DAWNista of the Month

Felicia Alderman 


Felicia Alderman 

 Felicia is of Nigerian descent, born and raised in Spokane, Washington. She attended Temple University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in African American Studies. Currently, she is pursuing her Master of Arts degree in Applied Sociology, along with a Graduate Certificate in the Nonprofit Sector from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Felicia is passionate about making the world a better place, and she is intent on achieving this mission through the utilization of her research skills. By designing and conducting social science research projects, she hopes to tackle some of our most pressing issues both domestically and abroad, and subsequently inform policy that will improve the lives of others. Previously, she has focused much of her research on the health disparities faced by individuals, specifically women, of African descent in the United States. She is also interested in economic research projects, particularly concerning sociological issues of fair trade initiatives in different parts of Africa.

Aside from completing school and pursuing a career in research and analysis, in her free time, Felicia assists with her sister's nonprofit organization, W.E.A.P.O.N., (Women &girls, Education and Arts Providing Opportunity Now), which strives to promote and facilitate the continued education of girls in their father's village of Agbugugu Enugu, Nigeria.

Congratulations Felicia! We are so proud you are a DAWNista!

African News

Africa's blossoming middle class

Africa is often painted as a continent of misery, despair, and hopelessness. On a daily basis, news and pictures are presented by the media which perpetuate this image. A CAI paper highlights Africa's burgeoning middle class as key to the African Renaissance. The report shows that Africa's middle class has tripled over the last three decades to 313 million, or approximately 34% of Africa's population. Read More


Zimbabwean teen new face of Louis Vuitton  

Zimbabwean-born Nyasha Matonhodze, 16, is turning heads on high streets across the world after being chosen as one of the faces of Louis Vuitton's 2011 Autumn/Winter campaign.Read More   


DAWN's Monthly Inspiration 

"I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself."

 -Nelson Mandela
In This Issue
DAWN 2011 Annual Dinner
DAWNer of the Month: Milen Zerabuk
DAWNista of the Month: Felicia Alderman
African News
DAWN July Birthdays 

4- Tina Byenkya

6- Andrea Bediako

12- Margot Bokanga

12- Tina Musoke

12- Minia Mikael-Debass

14- Mamesho Macaulay

20- Malaika Jeter 

30 -Rahama Wright


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The Diaspora African Women's Network is a non-profit organization whose mission is to develop and support talented women and girls of the African diaspora focused on African affairs.

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