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Pan-African Women’s Action Summit

Minneapolis Community and Technical College is the educational partner and host of the groundbreaking Pan-African Women’s Action Summit (PAWAS 2011), to be held Aug. 11-13 at the MCTC campus, 1501 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis.

PAWAS is an initiative of the Pan-African Women’s Philanthropy Network, a global coalition of diverse women of African descent devoted to social change. Convened to celebrate the UN’s Declaration of 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent, PAWAS 2011 (www.pawas2011.net) is an extension of MCTC’s commitment to diversity and inclusion for the benefit of all.

PAWAS 2011 is open to the public and will welcome over 200 Pan-African women from more than 20 countries and their allies for networking, technical assistance and health and wellness seminars. World class speakers, including prominent poet and activist, Sonia Sanchez; Dr. Julianne Malveaux, president of Bennett College; Judge (ret) LaJune Lange of international Leadership Institute; Crystal Roman of the Black Latina Movement; and First Lady of Ekiti State, Bisi Adeleye-Faymeni of Nigeria, among others, will highlight the Summit.

“MCTC has been an outstanding partner, providing technical support, meeting space, commitment and moral support to make this historic event a success,” says Jackie Copeland-Carson, PAWAS chair. “They even used our members’ Pan-African recipes. We could not have a better partner, and we couldn’t do an event of this scale without them.”

“MCTC’s diverse student population inspires cross-cultural dialogue on our campus. Because of our commitment to engagement with diverse cultures in the community, we welcome this extraordinary opportunity to be partners with PAWAS and to learn from each other,” says Yvette Trotman, Special Assistant to President Davis for Diversity at MCTC. “On behalf of the MCTC community, I am thrilled to welcome the Summit to our campus.”

Summit passes are available in 1-day and 3-day blocks at www.pawas2011.net. On August 11, Giving Stories showcases Pan-African women’s philanthropy and social action worldwide, including African, African-American, Afro-Latina and Afro-Caribbean practices. The day also kick-offs its Pan-African Women’s Film Festival featuring D. Channsin Berry, the director of the film, “Dark Girls” and Crystal Roman, producer of “Memoirs of a Black Latina.”

Friday, August 12 kicks off with “A United Nations of Giving” rally featuring Naomi Tutu, local elected officials and cultural presentations as well as sessions devoted to women’s economic empowerment and community development.

The Summit will also include Pan-African Market Day with Urban Mavens Small Business Showcase at the Midtown Global Market, 920 E. Lake Street, Minneapolis, on August 14 from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

The Summit features over 30 empowering workshops, free technical assistance for nonprofits, author readings and book signings, an August 13 health and wellness fair, “Being Well While Doing Good,” and a host of other activities.

The Summit’s theme revolves around global philanthropy as a means of uniting the diverse communities of the African Diaspora. “These celebrations are a sort of ‘United Nations of Giving,’” says Copeland-Carson, PAWPNet Founder and Chair. “They move beyond the divisions of the global Black community to share our diverse giving traditions, mobilize resources, and increase our impact on the common challenges facing our communities-from America to Kenya; from Mozambique to Minnesota.”

Drawing on its extensive network of social entrepreneurs, philanthropists and activists, PAWAS 2011 seeks to further promote and support the positive contributions that diverse black women make to their societies worldwide. “PAWAS 2011 highlights and supports the work of Pan-African women as they are at the forefront of community leadership, giving and volunteering,” says Karen Kelley-Ariwoola, vice president of Community Philanthropy at The Minneapolis Foundation and PAWPNet member. “Afro-Latinos from Bahia to San Juan honor their African heritage which includes philanthropy,” says Elsa Vega-Perez, a Latina philanthropy expert and PAWPNet member.

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