The evening began at 6pm in the Reception room with the arrival of Ambassador George W. Haley and his wife, Doris, who shares the same birthday and playfully chides him for being born on a different year. During the reception, they received and took pictures with distinguished guests.

Some of the distinguished guests included Chairman of the event, Ambassador Blaise Cherif of the Republic of Guinea, Dr. Carolyn Rudd, founder, President, and CEO of Corporate Resources, Incorporated (CRP) and husband, Ambassador Horace Greeley Dawson, Jr., former US Ambassador to Botswana, Ayiana Gregory, daughter of Comedian and Civil Rights activist, Dick Greogry  (photo not included), HE, Ambassador Blaise Cherif, Amb.  Republic of Guinea, Ms. Jan Du plain, Ambassador Haley with Mr. Burke, Howard University director of Arts, Cathryn Stanley, Mrs, Stanley, and friends.

At dinner, Nefer Ra played the flute and Soprano Saxophone accompanied by the sultry sound of vocalist Jenise Brown. The beautifully stunning Ms. Marsha Reeves-Jews, World Ebony Network board director and Event Director of the Frederick Douglas Museum, Baltimore, MD was the Mistress of Ceremonies. Ms Ezi Mecha, the Founder and President & CEO of World Ebony Network shared the mission and goals of World Ebony Network and the chairman of World Ebony Network Col. US Army (Ret) Frank E. Underwood, Sr. offered his vision of the organization.  Tiffany Mecha Agina followed with a rendition of the United States national anthem.

The dinner was catered by Alena Schofield, who in spite of her Grand Mother’s funeral on the same day prepared a sumptuous feast. After dinner, affiliate organizations were allowed to present their organizations as part of World Ebony Network’s solution to achieving its mission. These were Cathryn Stanley, and her friends, and family, who traveled from New Jersey and who will be opening the 2nd World Ebony Network youth chapter in New Jersey and Ms. Priscilla Ofusu of Lean on Us Unity, a group home for pregnant teens.

Ms. Ayiana Gregory, who was performing at another location that night broke away to come and give tribute to Ambassador Haley with a Civil Rights song. Dr. Hypolite Fofack, an economist at the World Bank and a protégée of the ambassador presented a more detailed history of the lives and accomplishments of the ambassador and his wife.

Lt Col US Army (Ret) Stanley Hathorn read a heart moving tribute from Ambassador Haley’s friend, Ambassador Howard Jeter, former United States ambassador to Nigeria and the Patron of World Ebony Network.

The ambassador of Guinea, Chairman of the occasion, praised the organization and gave tribute to Ambassador Haley.

Michael Ajakwe, Emmy-winning TV producer, two-time NAACP Award-winning playwright, director, writer, and producer- introduced the “Reflections” play director, Amas Ggbugbemi, Artist, Writer, Social Entrepreneur- Anthill Africa Community Arts, Wales, England. He told the audience that Amas directed the play from Wales, United Kingdom over Skype. The name of the play is “Reflections, which is the life story of Kunta Kinta. The play was presented by World Ebony Network’s youth group, Ebony Youth Empowerment.  The actors included Tiffany Agina (narrator), Destiny (Binta), Rashad Horne (the village chief), John-Nathan Mecha-Agina (Kunta Kinte’s father and the white slave master), and Marqist, Kunta Kinte.

Ambassador George W. Haley Inaugural Award for distinguished service was presented to Ambassador Haley and a gift was also presented to his wife by World Ebony Network. The plaque was specially created and it was symbolic of the goals and aspirations of the organization and his service to mankind. The evening included the special introduction of the Gambian community by Tijan Masanneh Ceesay, The Gambian Cultural Group – Odialeh Hunting Society presented the ambassador with a robe from Gambia, as the honorary member for life.

Ezi Mecha gave the final message of the evening, by thanking those who traveled from afar to join in the celebration, especially, Engineer Chiljioke Igwe, Vice-Chairman of the Board for Aveon Offshore Limited (Nigeria), who is an avid supporter of the organization and who traveled from Africa to join in the celebration, Amas Gbugemi, who came from Wales, United Kingdom, and others.

– Christine Shepherd

Photos from Jyll Turner for Urban Peace Photography and Christine Shepherd