BFA Celebrates Over 27 Million Books to Africa with Kenyan Ambassador and Nigerian Minister
Over 27 million books sent to 46 countries in less than 25 years?
Now that is something to celebrate! Books For Africa welcomed two very special guests to join us at our annual fundraising events in St. Paul, Minnesota, to celebrate our achievements and look forward to sending even more books to Africa for years to come.
Guests joined the Books For Africa staff, board of directors, and special guests on Tuesday, May 8th for a special donor reception at the University Club of St. Paul. Mr. Oluwesegun Ibidapo- Obe, Minister of Consular and Immigration Services of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Mr. Ibidapo-Obe made remarks on behalf of Ambassador Odebowale Ibidapo Adefuye of Nigeria, as he was unable to attend the event due to an unexpected trip back to Lagos.
Thanks to the generosity of John Rupp, owner of the club and long-time friend of Books For Africa, BFA has been holding events at the University Club for more than 20 years, including the founding board meeting in 1988. Rumor has it that F. Scott Fitzgerald, the American literary giant and frequenter of the club, carved his initials in the wood of the club’s bar. As noted by John Shaughnessy—Vice President of Corporate Relations at Thomson Reuters, a major partner of the Jack Mason Law & Democracy Initiative—there is no place more appropriate for a BFA event than a club with such deep roots in literacy and education.
Click below to play a slideshow of photos from our events!
Ambassador Howard Jeter, former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, made a very exciting announcement on behalf of BFA partner, the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF). Having already sent 32 containers of BFA books to Nigeria over the last year, SEOF pledged to send 32 containers more before 2012 comes to a close—that makes over 700,000 books! These books will help quell the hunger for books in Nigeria, where more than 40 percent of children under age eleven are not in school (UNICEF).
The next morning, His Excellency Elkanah Odembo, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kenya, welcomed guests with Father Dennis Dease, President of the University of St. Thomas, to the Leather Room of the O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library at the University's St. Paul campus. Members of the BFA Board of Directors, University staff and community members of the Kenyan and Nigerian Diaspora enjoyed a coffee reception with comments from Father Dease, the Ambassador and special guest, John Stacey of Course Hero.
Finally, more than 300 people gathered for lunch at the Town & Country Club of St. Paul for a luncheon event. Ambassador Odembo, the keynote speaker, worked as a teacher when he first graduated university in Nairobi. The Ambassador understands the incredible impact that books can have on development in Kenya and all of Africa. He noted that in order to eradicate poverty in Kenya, "There will be no shortcut; we will need to be able to read."
BFA was able to raise more than $125,000 at these events! We look forward to another year of bringing books to the children of Africa thanks to the support of our speakers, sponsors and guests.