BY YANERIS ROSA
This year’s Africa Summit, organized by Fasil Amdetsion and Heather Cannady, found members of Harvard’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA) visiting the countries of Ethiopia and Tanzania. The BLSA students themselves were representative of the African Diasporas from the USA, Ethiopia, Haiti, Barbados, and the Dominican Republic. The group spent the majority of the time in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, meeting with leaders of the Ethiopian legal community. They also interacted with a group of New Generation University college students.
The group then visited Lalibela, a small town in the middle of the Ethiopian highlands, to explore the rock-hem churches built during King Lalibela’s time. The churches, considered the 8th wonder of the world, were carved from solid rock, including some completely free-standing ones.
Tanzania, a second African country, was the final destination of this year’s Africa Summit. The students spent a few days exploring Dar es Salaam, the capital, and Zanzibar, an island known for its magnificent beaches.
Africa Summit is a committee of the Harvard Black Law Students Association which undertakes massive fundraising to send BLSA representatives to African countries, such as Ghana, Botswana, South Africa, Kenya, and Namibia. The goal is to expand BLSA’s community and develop ties to the larger African legal, political, and humanitarian aid communities. Another crucial goal is to establish links between Africa and the African Diasporas from the USA, the Caribbean, and Africa. As many as fifteen students have gone to Africa in a given year to represent BLSA. While abroad, students have visited and engaged in cultural exchanges with local law schools, the US Embassies, High Court judges, Attorney generals, Human Rights organizations, and local community service groups and orphanages.