UPDATE: Sam Kahamba Kutesa is no longer the opening speaker at Africa Forum
The president of the United Nations General Assembly, a leading international education advocate, a U.N. ambassador and a globally renowned expert on intellectual property law will serve as keynote speakers at the 6th Africa Forum.
The four keynote speakers were announced this week by Africa Forum organizers. They are Sam Kahamba Kutesa, Eliya Limbani Nsapato, Dr. W. Aubrey Webson and Prof. Ruth L. Okediji. All are leaders and experts in their respective fields.
Africa Forum is the continent’s premiere conference for blindness and visual impairment advocacy. Perkins International is a founding sponsor of the conference, which is scheduled for Oct. 4-8 in Kampala, Uganda. View registration information.
“Our keynote speakers represent some of the sharpest minds in the fields of international relations, education, disability advocacy and intellectual property law,” said Martin Kieti, program coordinator for the Institutional Development Program (IDP), which hosts Africa Forum. “We hope to learn from their personal and professional insights, and are eager to collaborate on solutions to some of Africa’s most pressing disability and development issues.”
The theme of the 6th Africa Forum is “Beyond 2015: Delivering on the Agenda for Persons with Visual Impairment in Africa.” Each day of the four-day conference will address specific components of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a sweeping new international development agenda that world leaders are expected to adopt in late September. The keynote speakers are:
His Excellency Sam Kahamba Kutesa (Speaking Oct. 5)
Kutesa is the president of the 69th Session of the U.N. General Assembly, which is made up of all 193 member states and serves as the U.N.’s main policymaking body. (Kutesa will be replaced as General Assembly president just before Africa Forum, when a new General Assembly is called in September.) Previously, Kutesa served for nine years as Uganda’s minister for foreign affairs.
Eliya Limbani Nsapato (Oct. 6)
Nsapato is the executive director of the Africa Network Campaign on Education for All (ANCEFA), which promotes the right to quality education by partnering with groups like the African Union, UNESCO and national education coalitions in 35 African countries. Nsapato, who was born in Malawi and now resides in Zambia, also works as a policy analyst, project and business specialist and creative writer.
His Excellency Dr. W. Aubrey Webson (Oct. 7)
Webson is the U.N. ambassador for the Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda. Previously, Webson served as director of Perkins International, where beginning in 2010 he oversaw programs and services for children around the world who are blind, deafblind and visually impaired with multiple disabilities. He has also worked for Sightsavers International, Helen Keller International and the Caribbean Council for the Blind.
Prof. Ruth L. Okediji (Oct. 8)
Okediji is a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, where she teaches copyright, contracts and international intellectual property law. She is an internationally renowned expert and scholar on the subject of intellectual property law – and specifically how it relates to international development. Okediji has provided expert assistance to intergovernmental organizations, regional economic groups and the nations of Uganda, Botswana, South Africa, Zambia and Nigeria. She was the head of the African Delegation at the World Intellectual Property Organization during the negotiations for the Marrakesh Treaty.