The 50th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Organization of African Unity/African Union: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Fifty years ago, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was established with the cardinal objective of promoting the unity, solidarity and cooperation of African States to achieve a better life for the peoples of Africa. Since its inception, the OAU has not only contributed to the total liberation of Africa from the vestiges of colonialism and apartheid but also has provided a unique framework for Africa's collective action. However, in light of the changing global order and the need to accelerate Africa's integration, member States felt it necessary to transform the OAU into the African Union. The African Union is no doubt playing a crucial role in addressing the multifaceted challenges confronting our continent and raising Africa's profile on the world stage.
Next year will mark the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of the OAU. This will certainly offer a unique opportunity to pay special tribute to the generation of Pan-Africanists and the founding fathers of the OAU, who in their wisdom and foresight, laid a solid foundation for the unity and solidarity of Africa. Indeed, this will be a time to reflect on Africa's journey over the last five decades and celebrate the unique role played by the OAU in the liberation of Africa from the yoke of colonialism and Apartheid as well as its invaluable contribution towards the objective of achieving unity in our continent. It is also a time to look forward with great hope and optimism for the fulfillment of Africa's aspiration for peace, democracy, development and unity and, hence, reaffirm the collective determination of member States for the realization of Africa's renaissance.
In cognizance of this historic milestone, the 16th ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, which was held from 30-31 January 2011, decided that the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the OAU/AU shall be celebrated in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 25 May 2013. In this regard, the Assembly requested the African Union Commission to make the necessary arrangements for this celebration in close collaboration with Ethiopia and member States of the African Union.
Similarly, the 18th ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, which was held from 29-30 January 2012, also declared 2013 as the Year of Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance. The Assembly encouraged member States and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to organize various events in close coordination with the African Union Commission to celebrate the Year of Pan-Africanism and enhance the awareness of the new generation of Africans about the ideals of Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance.
As host to the Headquarters of the then OAU and now the African Union, the celebration of the 50th Anniversary has a special significance for Ethiopia. Accordingly, the Ethiopian government has established a National Organizing Committee (NOC) tasked with the responsibility of organizing the celebration event. The NOC is composed of all the relevant stakeholders including sectoral ministries, state owned enterprises, Chambers of Commerce, Labor Union and a number of other professional associations. The national organizing committee has in turn set up seven sub-committees in charge of coordinating the major tasks to be undertaken to colorfully celebrate the event. The National Organizing Committee has so far held eight sessions and has managed to lay down the ground work for the celebration of the 50th Anniversary.
In line with the decision of the African Union, the NOC will closely work with the Commission and African Embassies accredited to the African Union to mark this historic event. Therefore, the NOC would like to call upon all sections of the society to contribute their share in building up the momentum towards the celebration of the 50th Anniversary with great pomp and enthusiasm.
26 April 2011
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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