By Vivian Onyebukwa

No fewer than 19 prominent people of African descent including Nigerians, have been honoured in an award ceremony organised by African Diaspora Champion Award.
The award was organised by Diaspora Innovation Institute, in partnership with United Nations International Decade For People of African Descent 2015-2024.
The winners included, HRH Oba Adefunmi II Oba Oyotunji, African Village USA, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, Governor, Ondo State, Nigeria, Nicole Ndongala, General Director Karibu Association Madrid, Spain, Tony Elumelu, CEO Heirs Holdings, High Chief VC Iweanoge, Principal Partner Havit LLC, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President African Development Bank, Dr Oluremi Alapo, Faculty, City University of New York, USA, and HRM Amb. Amina Temitope Ajayi JP , “Mama Diaspora”.
Others were Dr Olamide Brow, CEO, Flying Doctors, Jermaine Sanwo Olu, SSA on Diaspor, Lagos State Nigeria, Grace Mbarga, CEO Afiri Consulting International, Ngozi Omambala MD/CEO NMO Management Ltd, Dr Bayo Omolola Adjunct Professor, Morgan State University, Prof Byron Price, Professor Medgar Evers College, City University New York, and Papa Balla Ndong, CEO Federacion Union Africana Espana.
There were also Adeola Adeleye Fasuba, CEO, Oasis Foundation, UK, Kingsley Aikins, CEO Networking Institute Ireland, Almaz Negash, CEO African Diaspora Network, USA and Gloria Ekereuwem, Founder, Mujeres Entre Mundos Spain, the International decade for people of African descent who received the award.

Under the Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) and Government category, Casa Africa and Connect Nigeria, were equally honoured.
Awardees were from all walks of life- individual from private, public, NGO, Corporate and Government
The maiden edition of the African Diaspora Champion Awards was held at the prestigious Casa Africa Building in Las Palmas in Gran Canaria, Spain.

Speaking, Prince Akinwale Ojomo, Chief Engagement Officer of the Diaspora Innovation Institute who is a member of the World Economic Forum
as a Young Global Leader (YGL), stated that the recognition of the African Diaspora is a continuum. While applauding the efforts of the United Nations for the decade, he was emphatic that this will be an annual event across countries and continents.

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The goal of the Award is to showcase and recognize the Black and African Diaspora as promoted by the United Nations General Assembly via the Proclamation of 2015-2024 list of awardees.

The hosting of the event at Casa Africa (House of Africa), was another testimony to expand Africa-Spanish relationship in terms of education, cultural and economic collaborations.

Byron Price, Professor of Public Policy, Medgar Evers College, City University of New York Cuny, USA presented the African migration
lecture titled: Economic Migration As Opportunity For Global Development: A Case Study of African Diaspora In North America And Europe”.

A panel discussion titled, “African Village in Spain”, came after the lecture. Panelists included, HRH Oba Adefunmi II, Oba Oyotunji African Village USA, Ms Monica Barretto, CEO Buxhall, UK, HRH Oba Adefunmi II Oba, Oyotunji, African Village USA, Nicole Ndogala, Director General Karibu Spain, Jermaine Sanwo Olu, SSA on Diaspora, Lagos State Government, Nigeria and the moderator was Akinwale Ojomo, CEO Diaspora Innovation Institute EU.

Diaspora Innovation Institute is a migration and diaspora focused think tank to collaborate with African centric issues around the world. It was established in 2012 with the goals of creating a platform for migration research, diaspora engagement, conferences, exchanges, training, recognition and special projects.
Currently, DII have partnership with Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, Adeyemi College of Education, Federal University of Technology, Akure and Public Service Training Institute, Ondo State, Nigeria.
Also, there is collaboration discussion with Casa Africa and University of Las Palmas University, among others.