I’m not a natural when it comes to networking, but I’ve been trying to push myself in that regard lately and having the blog gives me a good talking point. To that end I attended the third #DCAfrica Tweetup yesterday at Lost Society on 14th and U and instead of taking the 14th street bus home, I then continued the festivities at the Nigerian Embassy, where there were some major heavyweights in attendance.
The #DCAfrica crowd, convened by the supremely impressive Semhar Araia (she was just off of chairing a panel at the CBC’s Africa Braintrust) of the Diaspora Woman’s Network was young and friendly. I stayed for only about 45 minutes and managed to meet an Africa watcher at a European embassy, the director of a fellowship program targeting Africans at a major think tank, an Advancement Officer of a major NGO focusing on Africa, and I had another brief encounter with the leader of Sino-Africa DC, who I feel like I am long overdue for an in-depth conversation with.
The crowd that convened at the Embassy of Nigeria to conclude the Constituency for Africa’s Ronald Brown African Affairs Series was much more mature. My attempts to speak Hausa with several Nigerians were met with a frosty response (there was one exception). However, there was good food and I stuffed myself with meatballs, shrimp, and chicken wings.
There was also a brief program, which was hard to follow as the acoustics of the large lobby were quite poor. The Chair of Nigeria’s governing party, Bamanga Tukur, who I recently heard critiques of at SAIS by the Speaker of Nigeria’s House and a fellow party member, was among those recognized. Bala Mohammed, a Senator representing Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, also received an award. The Ministers of Petroleum Services and Trade and Investment were listed on the program and I believe they also were present (not positive though). A former US Ambassador to Nigeria, Howard Jeter, also made some brief remarks.
Panafest, another African festival in downtown Silver Spring is today, but I will be taking a break from Africanist events this weekend after a very busy week.