United African Congress pledges support for Brooklyn’s Cultural Museum of African Arts

By EULENE INNISS, Special to the AmNews | 1/7/2016, 1:01 p.m.
Distinguished United Nations ambassadors of several African countries honored Eric Edwards, executive director and founder of the Cultural Museum of ...
Hon. Sidique Wai President and National Spokesperson United African Congress Lem Peterkin photo

Distinguished United Nations ambassadors of several African countries honored Eric Edwards, executive director and founder of the Cultural Museum of African Arts, at their Honors Event, held at the prestigious Friars Club in Manhattan Dec. 16, 2015.

The event was hosted by the iconic Friars Club, African Union, United African Congress and United Nations NGO Judy Kuriansky, MD, while sponsors and conveners were Dr. Mohammed Nurhussein, national chairman, United African Congress; Gordon Tapper, founder and chairman, Give Them a Hand Foundation; and Sidique Wai, president and national spokesperson, United African Congress.

Through Ambassador Tekeda Alemu’s goodwill and advocacy, the newly founded Cultural Center of African art is on track to build a state-of-the-art center in Brooklyn. Alemu facilitated the initial funding by an African government leader and subsequently gained the financial support of the New York City Council.

Edwards has one of the largest collections of African arts and artifacts of any individual, totaling more than 3,000 pieces. His collection has been featured by CNN, NBC, the New York City affiliate of ABC, The New York Times and several other TV and print media outlets.

Nurhussein said, “Our twin organizations have been aware for some time of the value and immense potential of Mr. Edwards’ vast collection of African art. As Pan-African organizations, we have been collaborating with him to make his dream of disseminating and educating the culture and proud history of Africa, not only to African-Americans, but the public at large.”

In addressing the gathering, Edwards highlighted the museum’s mission statement, which states in part, “to educate and inform all people of the world through its artifacts collection, within a cultural context of Africa’s importance.”

The event afforded a great opportunity for the museum’s promotion at a high-level affair at the legendary Friars Club. Others in attendance included representatives of the United Nations Ambassadorial delegations of Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea; the permanent observer of the Caribbean Community to the United Nations; Dr. Djibril Diallo, senior advisor to the executive director of the Joint United National Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); Dr. Edmund Burke, distinguished professor emeritus of Medicine, SUNY Downstate Medical Center; Gary Schulze, board member, U.S. National Peace Corp, and trustee, United African Congress; Richard Lue, director, business development, VP Records Group; Milton Alimadi, publisher and editor, Black Star News; and Cheryl Wills, anchor, New York 1.

The Eric Edwards Cultural Museum of African Arts is promoting African culture and its value systems as it strengthens its ties between Africa and the U.S. through Edwards’s magnificent African artifacts collection. This museum will not only bridge the great divide between Americans of African ancestry and their culture, but also serve as a pivotal point for accepting and embracing self-pride while dispelling the myths. As an African proverb states, “No instruction can take effect if there is dislike.”