Virtual Event: Celebrating The International Decade for People of African Descent – Mar 8

On March 8 and 9, Aspire Artemis Foundation in collaboration is celebrating International Women’s Day with a virtual event to celebrate the International Decade for People of African Descent under the theme:

  • Celebrating Impact and Change through Storytelling & the Application of Equalizing Technology
  • Remote Learning and Community Storytelling for Underrepresented and Disadvantaged Groups.

This event also includes a musical performance.

Aspire Artemis will provide a platform for all, particularly the marginalized and underrepresented, to tell their life experiences through stories of triumph and struggles.

Virtual Workshops Celebrating The International Decade for Peoples of African Descent

The Event

With the current push for intersectionality, inclusion, and racial equity globally, this event seeks to allow underrepresented groups to claim the power of shaping their own narratives through inclusive and innovative technology platforms. This event aims to celebrate multiculturalism as a means to bridge divides. It seeks to integrate creativity and play with digital literacy, connection, and greater diversity in STEM fields.

The virtual training and advocacy workshops will be held over two days: March 8 from 1 pm to 5 pm EST and on March 9 from 6 pm to 8.30 pm EST. On day one, organisations across the globe will share policies and lessons learned from organisations across the globe, and on day two, attendees will take part in interactive sessions on actionable methods to use arts, storytelling, and technology to unlock the potential of the underrepresented and disadvantaged groups.

Day 1: March 8, 2021 (1:00 PM – 5:00 PM EST):


 Arts & Culture Session OPENING CEREMONY:  

Special Documentary Screening of Madaraka documentary and discussion with the film director, Wael “L” Abou Zaki on the power of Women in the African Diaspora who have instigated global change. He will discuss how stories can indeed change mindsets and lives. (30 Minutes) 

“Madaraka is a story about a mother and a son from the slums of Kisumu, Kenya and their work to educate and liberate their communities through creative collaboration, self-empowerment, entrepreneurship and sustainability.

With power comes great responsibility and the African people, from the youth to the elders are strong people with an entrepreneurial spirit which is not highlighted enough in the mainstream media. The saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” is the perfect anecdote. Madaraka characters range from community leaders, musicians, artists, politicians, activists and more.” (Source: 

With the passing of Simon Okelo’s mother in 2020, this film took on a new meaning, highlighting the power, strength, and resilience of a woman, her story, and the potential to leave a lasting footprint that echoes globally. Her work lives on through her son Simon, who continues to inspire and empower youth in slums all across Africa through arts, culture, and music.


Advocacy and Policy (3hrs): Rigorous discussion, sharing lessons and actions on advocacy, digital literacy, and policy on remote learning and engagement of the diaspora.

1:30 – 1:40: Introduction

  • Welcome Remarks from the Master of Ceremony 
  • Introduction to the event

 1:40 – 2:20: Advocacy, digital literacy, and training of citizens in utilizing digital technologies. 

Short presentations from Key UN member states on inclusion of underrepresented groups globally (including indigenous communities), remote learning and innovative use of technology during COVID-19 that specifically aims to address issues of accessibility of devices (Success stories/case studies that can be applied to nations to advance their digital literacy, tech usage, and storytelling capabilities through engagement of diaspora)

 Theme:  Overcoming Gender Obstacles in STEM

This discussion will centre on the cultural and structural obstacles women face (especially women of colour) in moving through the channels needed to reach employment in STEM fields and the disadvantages that they face when they do get there. It will touch on the role that advocacy, digital literacy, training and upskilling will play in reshaping the trajectory of women and girls from disadvantaged backgrounds, and getting them into productive ventures. How do we ensure an enabling environment so that we retain women in STEM?  Speakers will also discuss how young people would be able to transition into STEAM careers through specific internships and the support system that exists if they want to pursue STEAM.

  • Her Excellency, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, First Female Prime Minister of Mauritius
  • AU Permanent Fatima Kyari Mohammed (TBC) – “Replacing Weapons with Words” Storytelling: The importance of technology transfer and access to equalizing technology 
  • Ambassador Mohamed Siad Doauleh,(TBC) Permanent Representative of The Republic of Djibouti to the United Nations and Ambassador of Djibouti to the United States.
  • H.E. Kim Simplis Barrow, Philanthropist, Former First Lady of Belize
  • H. E.  Monica Geingos, First Lady of Namibia (TBC)
  • Prince Ermias Selassie of Ethiopia
  • Ms. Aissata M.B. Camara, (TBC) Deputy Commissioner for Operations and Strategic Partnerships, NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs

Remarks from United Nations system organizations on activities and initiatives that support the decade of action for the attainment of the SDGs and their work on diversity, inclusion and intersectionality in the tech field. (3 minutes per organization)

  • Ms Stefania Giannini (TBC), Assistant Director-General for Education UNESCO, representing the Global Education Coalition’s initiatives/advocacy/skills training
  • Ms. Lopa Banerjee, Director, Civil Society Division & Executive Coordinator, Generation Equality Forum, UNWOMEN
  • Ms. Olajobi Makinwa, Chief, Intergovernmental Relations and Africa, Global Compact

2:20 – 2:25: Break

2:25 – 2:33: Performances from Ghanaian singer, Molly

8 min: Performance (Pre-recorded 2 songs specifically for this event) Molly, Afro-Fusion    Ghanaian musician.

2:33 – 3:00: Presentation and case studies 

  • 3-5 mins: Presentation / Power talk – Global Citizen – insight into initiatives and interventions towards poverty alleviation and increasing advocacy/communication through storytelling
  • 3-5 mins: Power talk – Ms. Rachel Alwala – UN ITU: Unlocking the potential of underrepresented groups with technology, tech access, and science.
  • 3-5 mins: Creativity Visual – Ms. Anusha Dandapani  International Computing Centre NYC, – Using Data science to tell compelling stories to tackle SDG issues. Discussion on solution oriented food waste initiative.
  • 3-5mins: Power talk – Ms. Lani Cossette, Senior Director and Chief of Staff, UN Affairs – Microsoft, discussing equalizing technology and inclusive multilateralism. The cross-section of technology and humanity through storytelling, connection and collaboration.
  • 3-5 mins:  Power talk: Ms. Kim Blue Terrell, VP People Experience, Global Head of People Experience (HR Business Partners), Zoom . Discussing how zoom has served as an equalizing platform and played a role in connecting people in all sectors of society during a national emergency.  Some key sectors for discussion (Government, Education, Healthcare and Finance)
  • 3-5 mins: NYC Mayor’s Office for Partnership and International Affairs. 

3:00 – 3:05: Break

3:05 – 3:55: Inclusion and Access in the STEM field through integration of Arts and Culture; STEAM and Access to equalizing technologies.

Topic Frame: During this section on “access” our panel members will be asked to consider the effectiveness of current efforts, and examine the social paradigms that can inhibit, or encourage, equality and access. Beyond any structural or social impediments to improving gender equality in STEM, challenges may also remain when it comes to ensuring the quality and availability of training and skills development opportunities. Panel members will consider the challenges associated with technology skills transfers, either through integration into formal education channels or via informal extracurricular activities. 

Moderator: Ms. Indira Tsengiwe (South Africa), Founder Youngpreneur media, Founder BlueAvo


  • Dr. Camille Wardrop Alleyne, NASA, Founder of Brightest Stars Foundation
  • Ms. Anie Apke, Founder African Women in Tech
  • Dr. Stephon Solomon Alexander,  Physicist, Author, Jazz of Music
  • Mr. Gerald A. Moore, Founder, Mission Fulfilled 2030

3: 45 – 3:55: Special immersive and explorative experiential storytelling exercise by  Dr. Claire A. Nelson, Whitehouse Champion for Change, Forbes 50 Female Futurist, Sustainability Engineer, Storyteller,  Founder of Institute of Caribbean Studies. 

                                                                                                                                                             3:55 – 4:45: Panel session, Arts and creativity in STEM – the importance of marrying storytelling with STEM. 

Topic Frame: Throughout history, storytelling has been used as a medium to pass down messages of importance in a culture.  A culture’s history is in essence shaped by the stories that are told, whether by ancestors, through literature or by media outlets.  Panelists will be asked to explore ways in which the use of equalizing technologies can serve as a medium to showcase stories from smaller communities;  stories that are not normally not dispersed in global media outlets. 

Moderator:  Dr Nevada Winrow 

  • Ms. Amy Wang – Opnbx (Design & STEM/Storytelling)
  • Ms. Elizabeth Leiba, Founder, Black History & Culture Academy, Social Justice Professional
  • Ms. Genevieve Patterson, Co-founders, Trashapp (acquired by VSCO)
  • Ms.Hannah Donovan, Co-founders, Trashapp (acquired by VSCO)

Special address: Ms. Susan Naumlindwa – Executive Director at Africa Trade Desk, VP Canada –Africa Chamber of Business, Founder CEO Maama Watali, SheEO Activator, Global Ambassador Ocean EXP

4:45 – 5:00: Closing remarks and closing performances

  • Ms. Tiphanie Doucet, French Artist, Musician, Actor
  • Mr. Boddhi Satva, Pioneering African artist, founder of Offering Recordings & Father of Ancestral Soul

This event will be followed by a virtual after-party hosted by Mr. Boddhi Satva hailing from the Central African Republic, currently based in Portugal.

Day 2: March 9, 2021 (6:00 PM – 8:30 PM EST)

Premise: Application of Equalizing Technology to Create Impact and Change via Storytelling (2.5hrs) Interactive breakout sessions and training on storytelling and community engagement. This session will involve informational panels, breakout sessions with storytelling experts, and international performances.

6:00– 6:10: Opening intro/remarks from the master of ceremonies and introductions

6:10 – 6:30: A short panel on The Power and Impact of Storytelling.

Topic Frame: Storytelling has been a tradition throughout all of human history. Before the mediums we have today, storytelling was an oral tradition passed down from generation to generation. The art of storytelling has since taken many different forms: dance, music, written word, film, and many more. Many of these kinds of storytelling transcend the boundaries of age, culture, gender, identity, sexuality, religion, and language. As humankind has developed, each new advance brings with it a new way of telling stories. Regardless of the medium, however, the connections these stories foster have stayed true. There is an innate need in the human condition for connection, to know that we are not alone. Storytelling is an age-old tool to prove to one another that, regardless of the specifics of our experiences, nobody is going it alone. In this panel storytellers from a wide range of industries talk about how they make an impact through the power of storytelling.

Moderator: Ms. Piera Van de Wiel Singer, Songwriter, Founder of Stronger with Music


  • Ms. Maggie Mutesi, Senior Business Correspondent at BBC, Founder of MANSA magazine.
  • Ms. Uju Uzo – Ojinnaka CEO, Traders of Africa
  • Ms. Kaori Fuji, International Flutist, Founder and CEO, Music Beyond, Inc.
  • Mr. Simon (Javan) Okelo – Founder & Executive Director, One Vibe Africa 

6:30 – 6:35: A pre-recorded inspirational DANCE performance

5-8 participating locations/groups to dance in their chosen style to song Jerusalema. Each group has recorded their dance in a location in their city that means something to them. Each video will be stitched together into a final video. The video will be played during the event and geolocated in the location each dance piece was recorded via the Story City app.

6:35 – 6:55: Breakout Sessions – Interactive breakout session where different room leaders take participants through a short 20min workshop and/or exercise to tell their story. The breakout sessions for the event are concurrent sessions that participants can choose between, each breakout session is a mini 20min workshop run by an individual (or team) where participants take away an exercise or tool kit at the end that allows them to create a grassroots project in their community based on the workshop given by the breakout room leader.

Tell your story” is envisioned to allow the breakout session leader to essentially lead the audience through a journey (by way of example) of how they (session leader), in their specific field, utilize equalizing technology to tell a story. This is envisioned to be a method to assist participants to be able to tell their own stories via diverse mediums and industries, as well as give actionable methods to delve into their own storytelling journeys and grassroots movements. The session leader utilizes this method as an example of how the audience could find their inner passions and turn them into productive and positive ventures. That story would allow the audience to envision how they could more accurately tell their stories about their passions and use a technology based medium to do so.

–     Tell Your Story:  Breakout Session 1 Leaders

  • Global Citizen 
  • Opnbx
  • Ms. Anjani Harjeven, Chief Operating Officer WomHub/WomEng (South Africa)
  • Mr. C. Brandon Ogbunu, Assistant Professor, Yale University. – Merging science, technology, biomedicine, data, innovation, culture and creativity.
  • Mr. Martin Pratt,  Marketing Strategist, Tech Investor, The importance of partnership for Digital Transformation, Digital Currencies and Supporting Black Founders.
  • Mr. James C. Rhee, Investor, Educator,  Former CEO of Ashley Stewart 
  • Mr. Ahmed Nimale – Live Nation Entertainment–– Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Program and Product  – Universe Virtual Events 
  • Ms. X. Eyee, Research at Google, AI enthusiast, Military Veteran(TBC).

6:55 – 7:05: Equity of Technology Videos:

A series of short videos on how different storytelling tools work, such as Story City and other creation democratising tools/partners that seek to solve the equity of technology problem

  • Story City
  • Adobe: presented by Mr. Sergio Claudio, Senior Director, Global Head of Enterprise & Commercial Experience, Adobe (TBC)
  • VSCO

7:05 – 7:25: Story City training session – Stories You Can Live: Interactive and location-based storytelling.

7:25 – 7:35: Pre-recorded performance FILM on the power and impact of storytelling

7:35 – 7:55: Breakout Session 2 – Invite Your Audience Into Your Stories:

The second breakout session methodology is premised on being a bit more interactive than the 1st. This is where the session leader would “invite your audience into your story”, through demonstration of technological tools. It is about helping participants to tell their story in an interactive way that invites people to participate in the story rather than passively consume it.

Breakout Session 2 Leaders

  • Global Citizen 
  • Opnbx (Design/Community Engagement)
  • Ms. Amanda Johnstone, Technologist. TIME Next Gen Leader. CEO Magazine Exec of the Year
  • Ms. Jo Singel, Entrepreneur, Author, Philanthropist 
  • Dr. Lola Adeyemi, COO and Co-Founder of Magna Carta Health, Founder of MentoringHer, Forbes Next1000 Honoree
  • Mr. Glenn Lundy, Founder and CEO of 800%Club
  • Mr. Martel Metellus(TBC), Founder & CEO at Soko
  • Mr. Walter T. Geer (TBC),  Executive Creative Director, Experience Design
  • Mr. Wesley Hamilton(TBC), Executive Director, Disabled But Not Really, Philanthropist, Speaker, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist

7:55 – 8:10: Closing Remarks & Performance

Final pre-recorded performance MUSIC virtual choir.

  • A virtual choir: 15-30 vocalists and instrumentalists will record video and audio in a location that means something to them. These videos would be compiled into a virtual performance ofCommon/John Legend’s Glory. The video will be played during the event and geolocated in the location each song/instrumental piece was recorded via the Story City app as part of a trail with the other two performances from this day.