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  • Event Recap

International Volunteer Day 2019

On December 5, 2019, CorpsAfrica friends and supporters gathered in New York City to celebrate International Volunteer Day. We highlighted the important contributions of volunteers worldwide, with a focus on CorpsAfrica Volunteers who dedicate a year of their lives to serving in remote communities and partnering with local people to initiate small-scale, high-impact projects.

We heard from CorpsAfrica Alum Zizwa Mwafulirwa about his projects, lessons learned, and insights from his time serving in a rural village in his home country of Malawi. We also heard from Chef Pierre Thiam and former WNBA player Ashley Battle about what CorpsAfrica means to them and how its model for African-led development intersects with their values.

Thanks to Board Member Karli Hagdorn and CulinArt Group for the amazing Moroccan hors d’oeuvres, pastries, and cocktails that added to the evening’s warm and inspiring atmosphere. Thanks to Joanne and Bill Mansfield for hosting us in their beautiful home, and thanks to Board Member Jocelyn Zuckerman for moderating an engaging discussion. 

International Volunteer Day Photos
Here are some snapshots from the event. You can view the full album here.

Featured Speakers:

Dr. Zizwa Mwafulirwa is from Mzuzu in northern Malawi. He holds Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degrees from University of Malawi’s College of Medicine. He was elected Vice President of the University of Malawi Medical Students’ Association (UMMSA) and served as class president for three consecutive academic years. From 2017-2018, Zizwa served as a CorpsAfrica Volunteer in Malawi. He is currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Global Health Policy and Management at Brandeis University on scholarship. Zizwa plans to apply his expertise toward making healthcare in Malawi effective and accessible for all.

Pierre Thiam is a chef, author, and social activist best known for bringing West African cuisine to the global fine dining world. He is the Executive Chef of the award-winning restaurant Nok by Alara in Lagos, Nigeria and the Signature Chef of the 5-star Pullman Hotel in Dakar, Senegal. He is also the executive chef and co-owner of the pan-African restaurant Teranga, which is housed inside the Africa Center in New York City. The restaurant has received rave reviews from the New York TimesThe New YorkerFood and Wine, and more.

How a CorpsAfrica Volunteer is helping Chef Thiam change the world
In his landmark new book, The Fonio Cookbook: An Ancient Grain Rediscovered, Chef Thiam celebrates fonio, an ancient “miracle grain” of his childhood that he believes could change the world. In line with this vision, CorpsAfrica/Senegal Volunteer Faty Ka facilitated a fonio cooperative at her site in rural Senegal. The Fonio Cookbook will be available for purchase and signing at this event, and it is also available for purchase online

Ashley Battle is a former WNBA player and now works in Basketball Operations at NBA headquarters. She was first drafted by the Seattle Storm in 2005 and then joined the New York Liberty for the 2006 through 2009 seasons, where she developed a reputation as a key defensive weapon. She also played in college at the University of Connecticut, where she established an NCAA women’s basketball record with 70 consecutive wins. Battle was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year her sophomore year, and earned the reputation of being the top defensive player in the nation.

Jocelyn C. Zuckerman has more than 25 years experience as a writer and editor, specializing in agriculture, the environment, and the Global South. She has served as executive editor of Modern Farmer and Whole Living and as deputy editor of Gourmet. The recipient of a James Beard Award for feature writing, she received a Master’s degree, with honors, from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Jocelyn’s first book, Planet Palm, will be published next year by The New Press.


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