The San Diego Diplomacy Council is proud to announce our Global Leaders Online Forum, a series of virtual events that will offer our online community the opportunity to hear from and re-connect with current and emerging international leaders who have previously visited San Diego as part of an SDDC-hosted exchange program (our alumni!). Each event will highlight the unique experience and expertise of our international alumni on specific global issues and the impact of international exchange.
Our first Global Leaders Online Forum event, “Covid-19 in Africa: Select Stories from IVLP Alumni,” will be held on Thursday, April 16th from 10:00 – 11:30 am Pacific Time. This live webinar will feature a panel of alumni from various African countries, who will share how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting them and their respective communities. Panelists will also share how their international exchange experience in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) has impacted their lives and professions, highlighting their various areas of expertise.
We are proud to announce our panelists for this event: Ms. Franciose Mukuku and Dr. Dickens Howard Akena.
Ms. Francoise Mukuku is a prominent women’s rights and LGBTQ+ activist in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Ms. Mukuku runs a social enterprise named Amazone advisors, an organization that works across Africa to solve social, humanitarian as well as environmental issues. Previously, Ms. Mukuku ran the feminist organization, Si Jeunesse Savait (“If Young Women Knew” in French), which built the leadership skills of young women in sexual and reproductive rights, information and communication technologies, and entrepreneurship. Ms. Mukuku also previously worked as a journalist at RadioOkapi and as a communication specialist for Oxfam. She has consulted international development agencies and other bodies on sexual minority issues.
Ms. Mukuku visited San Diego in June 2016 as part of an IVLP delegation focused on political and civil rights for LGBT activists. She was impressed and inspired by the programs public representatives and citizens had in place, and that they were inclusive of LGBT issues.
Dr. Dickens Howard Akena is a Psychiatrist and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry at Makerere University. He teaches both undergraduate and post-graduate students, and conducts clinical duties at the Butabika National Mental Health Hospital. Dr. Akena is a recipient of funding from a number of prestigious institutions including the Medical Research Council in the United Kingdom and is co-investigator on a number of the National Institutes of Health projects.
Dr. Akena visited San Diego in July 2019 as part of a multi-regional IVLP delegation focused on the topic “Recovering from Conflict and Trauma”, where he and other delegates met with various community members and organizations, such as San Diego Family Justice Center, Survivors of Torture International, and Center of Excellence for Stress & Mental Health (CESAMH).