Liberian Education Roundtable to Kick Off 36th Annual ODUNDE Festival

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Councilwoman, Jannie L. Blackwell, chair, City Council Education Committee and University of Pennsylvania President, Dr. Amy Gutmann, to Host Education Forum “Exploring Opportunities in International Education.”

Organizers of the ODUNDE Festival, a four-day long cultural event, whose programs reach audiences of more than 500,000 persons, today announced that it will host a Liberian Education roundtable discussion, led by Philadelphia City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and Dr. Amy Gutmann, president, University of Pennsylvania.

The Roundtable will be the first scheduled event of the four-day annual festival.

Philadelphia claims more than 40,000 African immigrants, with more than 53 percent of those persons being of West African descent, specifically of Liberia, Nigeria and Ghana. More than 32,000 international students, matriculating, nationwide, in private and public colleges and universities are from African nations.

ODUNDE, Inc. is an educational and cultural organization that sponsors year-round programs featuring the African Diaspora, as well as the annual ODUNDE Festival, which was initiated in 1975 by Lois Fernandez and Ruth Arthur, and has since gained a national reputation as one of Philadelphia’s brightest cultural jewels.

Sponsors of this year’s activities include, Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, Greater Philadelphia Traditions Fund, Keystone Mercy Health Plan, Pennsylvania Lottery, Philadelphia Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Universal Companies, University of Pennsylvania Medicine and Wells Fargo.


  •     Hon. Jannie L. Blackwell, Chair, City Council Education Committee
  •     Dr. Amy Gutmann, president, University of Pennsylvania
  •     Stanley L. Straughter, chairman, Mayor’s Commission on African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs, and board member of ODUNDE
  •     Oshunbumi Fernandez, president and CEO, ODUNDE Inc.

WHEN:     Thursday, June 9, 2011

WHERE:     University of Pennsylvania
Iron Gate Theater
3700 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, Pa


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