Bisila Bokoko and MacDella Cooper to Deliver Keynote Addresses at the 5th Annual Young African Leadership Symposium in NYC


Bisila Bokoko

The Council Of Young African Leaders will host the 5th annual CUNY Young African Leadership Symposium (YALS) at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, New York. This year’s theme Transforming Africa Through Partnerships will focus on the importance of public and private partnerships, within the African community and abroad. The Young African Leadership Symposium gathers students, leading businesses, professionals, influencers and entrepreneurs to discuss many topics affecting Africa and its various countries. This year’s program will feature keynote addresses by Ms. MacDella Cooper, CEO of MacDella Cooper Foundation and Ms. Bisila Bokoko, Businesswoman, Entrepreneur, Speaker, and Philanthropist among other high profile speakers and panelists.


MacDella Cooper

 According to the African Development Bank, Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) have emerged over the last decade as one of the best ways to foster development. Similar to a Town hall Debate, the symposium is designed to be engaging, encouraging speakers, panelists, and the audience to discuss the most pressing African issues and how they can be solved through partnerships. Discussion will feature:

  • African Diaspora’s Assimilation vs Acculturation 
  • Social Enterprise; Funding an African-Driven Development
  • Ebola Lesson Learned from a Deadly Epidemic
  • ICT and African Development 
  • How to successfully implement PPPs in Africa and the Role of the Youth and Women

“This symposium is a unique opportunity for African students and young professionals to get involved in the pressing African issues,” says Loukman Lamany, Director of Programs and YALS Chairman. “In order to accelerate Africa’s development, collaboration between all the stakeholders, the public and private sectors, Africans on the continent and in the diaspora are needed for a greater collective impact.” Due to the steady rise of youth participation in both the private and public sectors, Africa’s youth are proving to be crucial players in social, political, and economic changes on the continent.

The CYAL is proud to partner with the CUNY University Student Senate on this symposium to provide a platform for African youth to lead the way in formulating Africa’s solutions.

Registration and program Open:



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Internet Domain Name .Africa faces hurdles

* This interview is part of an article that was written by Gareth Van Zyl of, SouthAfrica.  Article can be found on the link.
However, DCA made public the  full interview and the thoughts of Ms. Sophia Bekele- CEO of DotConnectAfrica (DCA) Trust and DCA Registry.

Image curtesy of opennet Africa

In addition to explaining the current status of the IRP Process with ICANN, the CEO of DCA Registry also used the opportunity to expound on the implications of the DCA vs. ICANN IRP as a proper test of the accountability mechanisms of global Internet Governance processes as represented by ICANN; and also stressed that the delays over .Africa are amply justified since Africa’s Internet scene would be hurt more by a miscarriage of justice when there is no room for proper accountability. Ms. Bekele also argued whilst responding to the Q&A that the need to satisfy accountability for the public good and global public interest seriously outweigh the need to roll out .Africa domain names faster. The full Q&A can be found below.
Fin24Tech: Q1. What is happening to DCA’s appeal against ZACR being awarded .africa? Can you give me a status update on this?

SB: First, we would like to clarify that our appeal is not against ZACR being awarded .africa.  Our principal case is with ICANN – hence we took them to the Independent Review Panel (IRP). Of course, we also strongly believe that ZACR should not benefit from a situation whereby ICANN has committed certain actions that are injurious to DCA Trust including a possible wrongful award of the .Africa domain name to ZACR as the registry operator.

Now, coming back to your question, the IRP is still in progress.  Certain interim decisions, especially with respect to procedure(s) have been taken. The IRP Panel recently ruled to accept DCA’s position on procedural framework,  including a binding order and document production as well as power to interpret and determine the IRP Procedure as it relates to the future conduct of these proceedings.

Earlier this year prior to this, the Panel granted an injunction order that temporarily prevents ICANN from further processing of ZA Central Registry’s (ZACR) application and moving ahead with the delegation of the .Africa domain name to ZACR.  This was meant to allow the Panel time to consider arguments from DotConnectAfrica Trust (DCA Trust) and ICANN on DCA Trust’s claims regarding the .AFRICA TLD.  So we continue to engage to see how the process will develop.

Fin24Tech: Q2. Has DCA had to draw on any funding in this battle for .africa?

SB: As you may very well know, any legal proceeding of this nature is financially involving, but thanks to God, DCA Trust has managed to cope so far, and we can only hope that justice prevails.  Really, for DCA Trust it is not about what we have spent all along.  We are more concerned about the integrity of our cause, which we believe to be just.

Fin24Tech: Q3. What is your view on how ICANN has handled this whole process?

SB: Since we are already in the middle of an IRP process with ICANN, we do not like to comment on how ICANN has handled this process. Our views on the matter are already part of the public record and this is well known by all those who have been following the process from the beginning.

After the Beijing Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) Objection Advice in April 2013, DCA Trust prepared and submitted a response to ICANN. When the ICANN Board NGPC (New gTLD Program Committee) accepted the GAC Objection Advice against DCA’s application, we disagreed and asked them to reconsider. When the ICANN Board Governance Committee (BGC) denied our reconsideration request, we followed the route of demanding accountability for the ICANN Board NGPC actions, and this is what then led us; first, to the Cooperative Engagement Process (CEP) with ICANN, which was followed by taking our case to the Independent Review Panel (IRP) at the International Center for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) of the American Arbitration Association (AAA). Throughout this protracted and complex process, prior to the IRP, we were not happy with ICANN, because we have always believed that they did not listen to our complaints at the initial stage. ICANN had an opportunity to resolve this problem amicably during the CEP stage but this did not happen.

Now that we are at the IRP stage, there is no further need for us to say anything about how ICANN has handled the process. That is now the responsibility of the IRP Panel to decide – whether with respect to ICANN Board NGPC decisions regarding DCA Trusts’ application for the .Africa new gTLD – whether the ICANN Board actions violated the ICANN Bylaws and new gTLD Guidebook or not.

Fin24Tech: Q4. Do you think this fight for .africa and the delays around it is hurting Africa’s internet scene?

SB: I will tell you that .africa was among the most promising domains when I first started to campaign and promote it to ICANN, the African Union Commission and other international publics.  However, we do not think that the fight over .Africa and the associated delays have hurt Africa’s Internet scene. Africans would be hurt more if there was a severe miscarriage of justice without any room for accountability.

“TSBhe delay that .Africa has encountered is an unfortunate situation, but for the interest of truth, justice and transparency, it is better for Africans and other stakeholders to be reassured that the global mechanisms of Internet Governance as represented by ICANN are accountable for the public good and global public interest. We sincerely think that these bigger issues are actually more compelling, and profoundly outweigh any potential “benefits to be derived from rolling out domain names quicker”.  

The controversies regarding mistakes that have been made by other parties regarding the .Africa new gTLD process, have already hurt the prospects of any new gtld application. This therefore underscores why there should be accountability and justice for DCA Trust so that faith can be restored in the entire process, even for the sake of those who might want to bid in new gTLDs in the future.

Fin24Tech: Q5. Would DCA look to win over domain names like .nairobi or .mombasa, similar to how the ZACR has won the right to roll out .joburg and .capetown?

SB: DCA Trust is in the domain name business, and as you may probably know, DCA Registry Services Ltd. is based in Kenya, where some of our esteemed technical partners are also based. We would like to conclude the .Africa new gTLD issue first before unveiling any other strategic plans regarding prospective city domain names that we may wish to apply for in any second new gTLD application round.

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Should Gender Matter? Revisiting the Gender Question: Women as Agents of Change

As African countries develop, we are seeing a new generation whose greatest opportunity is creating societies where their gender and age is an asset to their personal and career development, and not a liability. We continue to see that growing the human capital of Africa presents the greatest challenge for business and political leaders. Yet new generations of women and young people throughout Africa are emerging and developing innovative strategies to overcome daily problems at a local and national level. Unfortunately, their combined capacities have not been fully harnessed nor realized.

  • Where are the pioneering efforts being made in education, training and skills development for both the youth and women?
  • What are the key barriers in both social and political spaces that hinder their full participation in development projects?
  • How do today’s leaders (corporate and government) incorporate both the youth and women in overall economic and political leadership?
  • How can we tap the full potential of women and young people?

This conversation was part of the 2014 CUNY Young African Leadership Symposium.

Below is a take from Ms. Mary Olushoga who served as the moderator:

8 Quotes from African Women Entrepreneurs at the CUNY Young African Leadership Symposium

Mary Olushoga, Founder of the AWP Network moderated the women’s panel at the 2014 CUNY Young African Leadership Symposium, which took place at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

On the panel were entrepreneurs: Funke Bucknor-Obruthe – owner and creative director at Zapphaire Events, Karen Nungari-Waweru – special education specialist,  and Mobolaji Akiode – professional basketball player and founder of Hope 4 Girls Africa.

Here are (8) memorable quotes from the event:

(1) “Support me because I am competent not because I am a woman.”

(2) “I don’t see myself as a woman, I see myself as a human being.”

(3) “I truly believe that success always transcends gender.”

(4) “Being an African woman in 2014 is still a stigma.”

(5) “Women need to be more forceful, and not laid back or passive.”

(6) “I want more African women and girls to know that you can be anything you want to be.”

(7) “Get out of the it’s not possible mode, everything is possible.”

(8) “Never underestimate the power of having a role model or mentor – find one.”

Should gender matter? what does it mean to be an African woman in 2014? Please share your comments, thoughts, ideas with us twitter – @Africwomenpower

Link to the Article:

P1020794 P1020792 P1020791

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