While the selection of the host country reportedly prompted some high-profile delegates to decline invitations to the event, which has previously been attended by the likes of Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Colin Powell, the Sullivan Foundation counts more than 1,000 delegates this year.
Special guests on the Summit’s first day included H.E. Thomas Yayi Boni, the president of the Republic of Benin and chairman of the African Union, H.E. Ernest Bai Koroma, the president of Sierra Leone, H.E. Dr. Elhaj Adem Yousif, vice president of Sudan, and H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria.
A change in schedule Monday led to the cancellation of sessions on artistic expressions in the African Diaspora, human security and development and building human capital. It was unclear whether or when they would be rescheduled. Planned discussion topics during the remainder of the four-day Summit, according to the official program, include the role of women in African society, the arts and youth entrepreneurship. In addition, a session on democracy, human rights and citizenship promises to address “additional steps that are needed to bring about full democratic participation, stronger protection of human rights and greater expansion of citizenship across the continent.”
Jenée Desmond-Harris is The Root’s staff writer. Follow her on Twitter.