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Message from the Executive Director

semharIn honor of the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day on March 8,  I wrote a piece on the importance of celebrating women not just once a year, but every day.  The role of women in promoting change, growth and peace in our societies cannot be understated. And in DAWN alone, we have an incredible roster of women who are changemakers in every way, every day.  Just look at what we've had this past month.

First, DAWNer Tina Musoke accompanied the UN Women on their historic trip to Liberia in honor of International Women's Day and shares her thoughts in this month's newsletter.  Then we have DAWNer Bisila Bokoko will be honored at the Face2Face Africa Awards, along with Angelique Kidjo and Ngoli Okafor, for her leadership and contributions to Africa. Lastly, our very own DAWNer Jacqueline Musiitwa has recently been selected as the 2011 World Economic Forum Global Young Leaders Fellow and 2011 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Fellow, a huge honor and achievement that only a handful of people around the world can claim!

Its incredibly humbling and inspiring to celebrate each other's experiences and achievements.  In the spirit of Sisterhood and in honor of International Women's Day - DAWN salutes all our amazing members and thanks you for your support!


Semhar Araia

Executive Director and Founder of DAWN  

Because Change Starts with Women:  
By Tina Musoke,Head of Communications, Girl Up Campain, UN Foundation & DAWN Member

T.MusokeThree women. Three continents. Three strong examples of the potential of women and girls.

Earlier this month I was fortunate enough to be a part of history. As the Head of Communications for the UN Foundation's Girl Up Campaign, I traveled with Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women and former President of Chile; and Kathy Calvin, the CEO of the UN Foundation, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, with the first female president of an African nation: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.

Still recovering from its civil war, Liberia is full of opportunity and the determination to build back its country. But like in so many African countries, one thing was clear to me - and it is a belief we hold dear to in DAWN - change starts with women. 


Female UN peacekeepers join Kathy Calvin, CEO UN Foundation, left, and Executive Director of UN Women. Photo: Stuart Ramson/UN Foundation

While in Liberia, we met women from all walks of life who are redefining their role in the rebuilding of their country.  We met government ministers, senators and security officers. We met the first-ever full contingent of UN female peacekeepers. Each serve as incredible examples that Africa is practicing what it preaches and placing women in critical leadership positions to move the country forward.   


For example, we met with women in their communities, in rural villages and small towns. They introduced us to a "peace hut" program-- a community court, staffed by an all-woman team of volunteers who resolve conflicts in their neighborhood ranging from child support and domestic violence to land disputes and corruption.


And on March 8th, at a stadium filled with thousands of women and girls, President Sirleaf, Dr. Bachelet and Ms. Calvin, three powerful leaders on the world scene, came together to send the message that women matter, that girls count, and that our world can only progress if we work together to keep these issues at the top of the world agenda.  They brought together people from all over the country not to celebrate the day, but to celebrate the value of women.


The trip was more than an experience to me. It served as a reminder of what I already knew: that there is an entire generation of young women just like us who are ready to become future presidents, world leaders, ministers, community leaders and changemakers everywhere.    


So as we celebrate International Women's Day this month, let's think of all the women who have made an impact in our communities, our countries and our world, and let's learn from their journeys and their conviction-- that change starts with women.   


DAWN Spring Membership Drive:  Being Fearless in Our Excellence!

Spring is upon us!  It is a season that represents  

new life and new opportunities.  The title of DAWN's Spring 2011 Membership Drive is "DAWN: Being Fearless in Our Excellence"  From the social to professional development, DAWN is embarking this year on many initiatives that will give its members new opportunities to grow and flourish. 


Not only is spring a time for new opportunities, it is also a time for fearlessly reach for them.    From March 1 - 31, DAWN is opening up its membership to welcome new, dynamic women of the African Diaspora who have a proven commitment to the continent and her community.  We are looking for amazing women to fulfill our mission of "developing and supporting talented women and girls of the African Diaspora focused on African affairs."


If you know of women who are dedicated to Africa and her Diaspora, please encourage them to apply to join DAWN at or contact the Director of Membership, Nkechi Mbanu, at 


Deadline to apply is March 31st so HURRY!

Face2FaceAfrica Awards Honors DAWNer Bisilia Bokoko

Face2Face BBThis Saturday, March 26, Face2Face Africa will host the F.A.C.E List Awards in New York City to honor Fascinating Africans Committed to Excellence in their respective fields.

DAWN is proud to announce that Bisilia Bokoko, Executive Director of the US-Spain Chamber of Commerce and Founder of the Bisilia  Bokoko African Literacy Project, will be honored along with Lilian N. Blankson, Edward Armah, Ngoli Okafor, and Angelique Kidjo.

Bisila was recently featured in Essence Magazine and was DAWN's October DAWNer of the Month.  Please visit Face2FaceAfrica's website to purchase tickets and learn more about the event.  

DAWNer of the Month
     Jacqueline Musiitwa, Esq.  

Jaqueline MusiitwaJacqueline Muna Musiitwa, Esq. founded and acts as managing partner of Hoja Law Group, a boutique New York law firm which represents government ministries, businesses and non-profits in areas of political, corporate and intellectual property law.   Additionally, Hoja Law Group is specialized in assisting investors doing business in and/or investing in Africa.  She is currently based in Rwanda as an advisor to the Minister of Justice on legal matters related to trade and investment. Jacqueline was an associate at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, where she practiced in the area of corporate law.  She also clerked for SNR Denton's Zambia affiliate office, Corpus Legal Practitioners.  


Jacqueline is the founder of Transitional Trade, a non-profit whose mission it is to promote social trade, investment and entrepreneurship in post-conflict countries and transitional communities.  She has participated in the rebranding of several countries, capacity building for African companies as well as mentoring many African entrepreneurs.   Lastly, Jacqueline has been an Adjunct Professor of law at universities in the US and Rwanda.


Jacqueline has recently been selected as a 2011 World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and a 2011 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Fellow.

Jacqueline attended Davidson College where she received a BA in Political Science and International Studies.  She earned a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Australian National University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Melbourne. 


Congratulations Jacqueline! We are so proud you are a DAWNer! 

DAWNista of the Month

     Ahreej Eltayeb 


Ahreej Elzubeir Eltayeb is a 22-year-old young lady of Sudanese descent. She is the daughter of a broadcaster and a teacher who migrated from Sudan in 1984 to pursue the American dream. She was born and raised in the United States with strong ties to her homeland, due to her avid trips back to Africa and the Middle East.


Ahreej is a Howard University honorable graduate and currently attends The George Washington University School of Public Health to pursue a Masters of Science in Public Health, Microbiology, and Emerging Infectious Diseases.  


With her aspiring dreams and ambitious attitude, Ahreej strives toward accomplishing her goal of becoming a physician.She is currently working as a Breast Cancer biomedical researcher at Georgetown University Lombardi Center and plans to conduct Breast Cancer Awareness missions to nations in Africa that are deprived from developed equipments and resources to detect and help treat Cancerous diseases.  She wishes to dedicate her future career to uplift and aid in developing the continent in all aspects of health.  


In contrast to her scientific career, Ahreej has a strong passion and love for the Arts. She is also a rising Poet, Photographer, and a Blogger. Feel free to check out her pieces at or follow her on Twitter @Jeerha.


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

African News

Nobel Prize campaign for African women

The Italian Cooperation is working with over 30 local authorities and hundreds of personalities from the Italian and international institutional, cultural and entertainment worlds and civil society on a campaign to promote the group candidacy of African women for the Nobel Peace Prize.  Read More  


Google launches African tech incubator

In a bold move to foster business growth in Africa, Google announced the launch of it's new technology incubator; Umbono.  Read More


Upcoming Events



What: Membership Month Conference Call with DAWN's Executive Committee  
Time: 8PM - 9PM EST

Where: Conference Call# 1-605-475-4800 Pin# 976083

What: Tell your friends interested in joining DAWN to join a call with the Executive Committee who will share the organization's upcoming plans, overall objectives and our vision for 2011!


**MARCH 31 
What: DAWN Monthly Dinner
Time: 7PM-9PM EST

Where: TBD     


APRIL 10   

What: Salif Keita Benefit Concert  
Where:   Bohemian Caverns

What: DAWN is proud to be a sponsor for this concert in support of bringing awareness to issues related to albinism in Africa. Tickets are $100 at the door and $85 in advance.  


APRIL 16  

What: Servathon 
Time: 8:30AM - 1:30PM EST

Where: Harris Recreation Venter, 1330 V St NW Washington, DC

What: Join DAWN in our first SERVICE event of the year! We will join over 8,000 volunteers in the largest volunteer event of the year in Washington D.C. with Greater DC Cares. For instructions on volunteering email Kaade Wallace,  DAWN's Service officer, at


** This is a DAWNer Exclusive event. You have to be a registered member to attend it. To get access to events like this apply to be a DAWNer in this Spring membership Drive going on now.

DAWN's Monthly Inspiration 

"I have seen myself what women, often in the toughest circumstances, can achieve for their families and societies if they are given the opportunity. The strength, industry and wisdom of women remain humanity's greatest untapped resource. "

 -Dr. Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director, UN Women, Former president of Chile.  
In This Issue
Message from the Executive Director
Celebrating International Women's Day
DAWN Spring Membership Drive
FACE2FACE Africa Awards Celebrates DAWNer Bisila Bokoko
DAWNista of the Month:Ahreej Eltayeb
African News
Upcoming Events
Happy 100th International Women's Day!
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List!
Our Mission

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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