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When Diplomats, Academics, others celebrated ECOWAS at 49 in New York, USA

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Group at the United Nations (UN) and the ECOWAS Commission on Friday, June 7, 2024, hosted a High-Level Dialogue at the UN Headquarters in New York,  United States to mark ECOWAS Day 2024.

The June 7 event is a precursor to the Golden Jubilee celebration of the establishment of the Regional body, that comes up on May 28, 2025. ECOWAS was founded on May 28, 1975 to promote economic integration among its 15 Member States.
The Dialogue was held in collaboration with Partners – the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs-Department of Peace Operations (DPPA-DPO), Africa Scholars Forum of the John McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, University of Massachusetts-Boston, among others.
It had as its theme, “ECOWAS @ 49: Regionalism, Democracy and Development in West Africa: Building Blocks to Strengthening Multilateralism,” and featured as Special Guest of Honor, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Other high profile personalities at the event who spoke include H.E Amb. Fatima Kyari Mohammed,  Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations, H.E Amb. Stavros Lambrinidis, Head of European Union Delegation to the United Nations and Prof. Nkiru Edozie, the Deval Patrick Endowed Chair of Political, Social and Economic Innovations & former interim Dean of the John W. McCormark School of Policy and Global Studies in the University of Boston.
Welcome remarks and introduction of session Chair was by Amb. Kinda Jawara-Njai, ECOWAS Permanent Observer to the United Nations while the Session Chair, H.E Amb. Cheikh Niang, Dean of ECOWAS Group of Ambassadors at the UN and Permanent Representative of Senegal to the UN gave an introductory statement befor Ms. Amina Mohammed’s Opening Remarks.
The keynote presentation was by Amb. Abdel-Fatau Musa, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, after which, in Session Two of the program, chaired by H.E Amb. Harold Agyeman, Deputy Dean, ECOWAS Group of Ambassadors at the UN and Permanent Representative of Ghana to the UN, High Level Panel Statements and Contributions were made.
Contributions,  in this session, came from Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Secretary-General and Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa and Mr. Leonardo Santos Simao, Special Representative of the Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel/Head of United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) based in Senegal.
There were also responses by Prof. Rita Kiki Edozie, Deval Patrick Endowed Chair, Africa Scholars Forum, University of Massachusetts-Boston for the Academia; Mr. Gilles Olakounle Yabi, Founder and CEO West Africa Citizen Think Tank (WATHI) and Non-Resident Scholar at Carnegie Endowment for Int’l. Peace Africa Program for the Civil Society and Mrs. Oge Onubogu, Director, African Program, Woodrow Wilson Int’l. Centre – Washington DC for International Partners.
Permanent Representatives of ECOWAS Member States to the UN also made remarks on the theme of the Dialogue before open contributions were taken from Scholars and Partners – New York University, Columbia University and the wrap up of the program by the Session’s Chair.
A Luncheon Reception followed the historic event while the dignitaries and other participants eagerly look forward to landmark 50th Anniversary celebration of ECOWAS next year.
Photographs are by JOHN OKO NYAKU in New York.

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