Africa-America Institute names new President


Image: AAI Past President and CEO Mora McLean(right) and Amini Kajunju. By AAI/
AAI Past President and CEO Mora McLean(right) and Amini Kajunju

The Africa-America Institute has announced the appointment of Amini Kajunju to the position of President and CEO of the New York-based international organization, which is dedicated to advancing education and professional training for Africans, and promoting engagement between Africa and America through education, training and dialogue.

Kajunju, a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is the first African ever to serve at the helm of the oldest nonprofit organization of its kind in the United States.

As President and CEO, Kajunju will lead in transforming the nearly 60-year-old education and policy organization into an innovative, vital hub of African talent, a convening forum for leading thought leaders and scholars on issues related to Africa, and a repository of extensive history, research and information on the continent. She succeeds Mora McLean, who stepped down after 16 years of outstanding leadership.

Kajunju will be responsible for driving a new strategic vision and direction for AAI's programming and strengthening its engagement with 23,000 AAI alumni and partners in Africa and the United States. Prominent AAI alumni include Wangari Maathai, the late Kenyan environmental and women's rights activist and Nobel Laureate; Namibia's Prime Minister H.E. Nahas Angula; and President Alassane Ouattara of Cote D'Ivoire.   

With 20 years of experience in entrepreneurial and economic development, Kajunju served most recently as CEO of Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO), a New York-based nonprofit small business development service provider servingNew York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

"Amini Kajunju is an entrepreneurial and tech-savvy leader who brings to AAI a proven record of working with nonprofit organizations to ignite innovation and achieve measurable results," said Kofi Appenteng, Chairman of AAI's Board of Trustees. "Her energy, vision, and deep experience will position AAI to be a leader in investing in African professionals to increase the continent's global competitiveness and economic success. The Board believes she is the right leader at the right time."

Since its founding in 1953, AAI has historically enabled Africans to earn advanced academic degrees and receive professional and leadership training within and outside Africa. "AAI has a rich history and a solid record of accomplishment that I seek to build on," said Kajunju. "I'm honored to serve as AAI's President and CEO and look forward to implementing a new vision to take the organization to a new level." 

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