September 13, 2010

U.S.-Based Board Members Prepare To Take AGYA To New Heights in 2011

Within the past 6 months, AGYA has received a grant from Save Africa's Children and 10 laptops from One Laptop Per Child. AGYA accepted a grant from, an organization that recognized AGYA Co-Founder, Divinity Matovu as one of the top social entrepreneurs under the age of 25 in May 2010. Additionally, AGYA's proposal to utilize extra space at our Center to establish an energy efficient music recording studio was recognized as an Outstanding Committment by the Clinton Global Initiative University at a conference at the University of Miami. This is just a snapshot of some of the exciting news coming from the AGYA camp!

While AGYA has had a strong core group of Board Members based in Uganda; we recently decided to re-vamp our U.S.-based Board of Directors (listed below) to include a diverse array of leaders from the fields of education, non-profit management, film, art, and business. AGYA is an organization poised for success, and with the support, enthusiasm, resources, networks and skills of our new Board of Directors, we are looking forward to moving ahead.

Dr. Charisma Acey

Acey is an assistant professor at Ohio State University’s Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture. Dr. Acey’s background includes extensive work, research and travel to countries in Africa and Central America. 

Her research focuses on international community development, poverty alleviation and human-environment interactions at multiple scales in urban areas of developing countries. Most recently, she had an article published in Gender and Development, "Gender and Community Mobilization for Urban Water Infrastructure Investment in Southern Nigeria," and is working to publish the findings from her doctoral dissertation, which investigated inequity in household access to potable water in rapidly urbanizing areas of Nigeria.

Dr. Acey served as a Department of State Fellow in the Economic/Political Section of the United States Embassy in Lilongwe, Malawi, where she carried out research on Export Processing Zones and democratic consolidation. She studied African Literature and Philosophy at the University of Zimbabwe. Dr. Acey speaks Spanish, Portuguese and Shona. At Ohio State University, Dr. Acey teaches classes in international development, GIS, and social equity. She earned her B.A in English and Pan African Studies from California State University, Northridge, and went on to earn both a Master's degree in Public Policy and Ph.D. in Urban Planning from the School of Public Affairs at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Raphael Anderson

Raphael Anderson is the CEO of RCA Enterprises LLC, a wealth/asset management firm. Anderson graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in Business Administration and International Business. Anderson has studied investment finance at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. In 2007, Anderson traveled to Botswana to conduct intense market research for three weeks before returning to Los Angeles to draft a strategic business plan to build two schools in Botswana.

Following his goals of becoming a full-time philanthropist and social entrepreneur, Raphael pursues his own entrepreneurial endeavors both in the United States and abroad. In addition to being a Board Member with AGYA International, Raphael also serves on the Youth Advisory Board of the Harlem Children’s Zone, a non-profit based in New York.

M.K. Asante

M.k. Asante is an award-winning author, filmmaker, and professor who the Philadelphia Inquirer calls "a rare, remarkable talent that brings to mind the great artists of the Harlem Renaissance." The author of three celebrated books, Asante is the recipient of the 2009 Langston Hughes Award. His latest book, It's Bigger Than Hip Hop, was hailed by the Los Angeles Times as "An empowering book that moves you to action and to question status quo America." His other books include the poetry collections, Beautiful. And Ugly Too and Like Water Running Off My Back, which won the Jean Corrie Prize from the Academy of American Poets.

An acclaimed filmmaker, Asante directed and produced The Black Candle, a film he co-wrote with Maya Angelou who also narrates the film. The Black Candle, which Time magazine called "fit for a poet," won Best Documentary at the 2009 Africa World Documentary Film Festival. Asante also wrote and produced the film 500 Years Later, winner of five international film festival awards as well as the Breaking the Chains award from the United Nations. Both films were produced through his Asante Filmworx production company and premiered on TV One. Asante studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, earned his BA from Lafayette College, and an MFA from the UCLA School of Film and Television. Born in Zimbabwe and raised in Philadelphia, Asante has presented his work in Africa, Europe, South America, the Caribbean, and throughout the United States. He has been featured on numerous TV and radio programs including the CBS Early Show, NBC News, Tom Joyner Morning Show and NPR. Asante’s essays on music, politics, and culture have been published in USA Today, Huffington Post, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Asante is a professor of creative writing and film in the Department of English and Language Arts at Morgan State University.

Divinity Matovu

Divinity graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Political Science and African-American Studies in 2008. After having a transformative experience while studying in East Africa as a college senior, Divinity decided to follow her passion for women’s issues and African culture by co-founding the Amagezi Gemaanyi Youth Association (AGYA) in Uganda. In addition to her work as a social entrepreneur, Divinity has been awarded for her scholarship on the study of hip-hop youth culture in Africa. Divinity is currently in pursuit of a Master’s Degree in Women and Gender Studies with a focus on International Development and Microfinance at Makerere University in Uganda.

Benjamin Rothschild

Rothschild graduated with honors in 2008 from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design with a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in sculpture. He created his first public work in 2006 in collaboration with the children at Milwaukee’s La Causa Crisis Nursery. The large-scale painted-steel sculpture entitled “Gertie Gets Her Ducks in a Row” was designed to connect a story from the past to the difficult times of today. The work is now on permanent display along the Milwaukee RiverWalk. Rothschild’s work has been published in Creative Quarterly and his art has been displayed nationally. In August of 2008 his steel sculpture entitled, “Big Wheel Flyer” was featured at the Craven Arts Council and Gallery’s 2008 Annual Sculpture Show in North Carolina and his sculpture entitled “M42149” was displayed and awarded honors at the Visual Arts Society of Texas’ 41st Annual Visual Arts Exhibition. While galleries have honored his work across the country, Rothschild would much rather create works of art for individual enjoyment. He has made it his routine to create works of art both for, and with, those that inspire him or need inspiration.

Defined as “unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another,” Rothschild sees more value in “love” than material gain. Rothschild has made it his goal to teach young artists how to make good paint and love their canvas. After traveling to Uganda in 2009 to volunteer his skills in fine art and facilitate a series of art workshops with the children and youth of Amagezi Gemaanyi, Rothschild was inspired to become active in his local community and now volunteers as an art teacher working with at-risk youth at the Milwaukee Hope House, a transitional living and emergency housing program. Rothschild is committed to helping AGYA create safe spaces and platforms where youth can use art to articulate their feelings, hopes and dreams.