The African Writers Endowment (AWE) is pleased to announce that the governor of the great state of Ekiti, Nigeria, His Excellency Dr. Kayode John Fayemi, will receive the 2019 Quintessence Award on Saturday, September 28, 2019. The event will take place at the Princeton Westin Hotel, Forrestal Village Princeton, New Jersey starting at 7 pm. The new date and venue are changes from a previous press release.
The Quintessence Award is the preeminent Pan-African Leadership Award in North America, presented each year to at least one continental African leader and at least one African American leader for distinguished accomplishments in the person’s field of endeavor, and for outstanding contributions to the history and heritage of African peoples. Often accompanied with joint resolutions from the New Jersey Senate and the New Jersey General Assembly in recognition of the honorees, the award is presented during Quintessence Ball: A Celebration of African People in World History.
In a letter dated May 27, 2019, the Executive Director of AWE, Dr. Ugorji Okechukwu Ugorji, congratulated Governor Fayemi on his recent election by the Nigeria Governors Forum as its Chairman, and invited him to consider being received and honored in New Jersey. Ugorji further wrote that “your accomplishments as a former and current governor of the great state of Ekiti, and as a writer/scholar of note, combine with your tenure as the Minister of Solid Minerals Development in the Federal Government of Nigeria, to make you a most appropriate choice for the award in 2019.”
In response to the invitation, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Fayemi on Diaspora Affairs, Mr. Femi Odere, wrote to state that “Pursuant to your letter inviting His Excellency Gov. Kayode Fayemi as the recipient of the 2019 Quintessence Award of the African Writers Endowment, it is my pleasure to inform you that Governor Fayemi has accepted the invitation to receive the Award.”
Started in 1998, with the then Nigerian Ambassador to the UN and celebrated international statesman diplomat, Professor Ibrahim Gambari as the first honoree, the event has seen several world leaders and writers as honorees, including Professor Chinua Achebe, Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Professor Ngugi wa-Thiongo, Chief Gani Fayemi, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, Congressman Donald Payne, Ambassador Joe Keshi, Mr. Gill Noble, Ambassador Mosima Masekela, Secretary of State Lona Hooks, Mr. Kassahun Checole, Professor Toyin Falola, Governor Chibuike Amaechi, and Professor Molefi Kete Asante, to mention a few. In each case, the recipients were present in person to receive the award, which is a requirement.
Hosted by the AWE, the Quintessence Ball (Q’Ball) brings together African people (and their friends) from Africa, North America, and the Caribbean. The event has been supported over the years by Western Union, Good Works International, Sungai Books, TallDrums, and political and business leaders in the State of New Jersey.
AWE AND MRS. FAYEMI’S TRIBUTE TO THE LATE TONI MORRISON
In addition to the ceremonies surrounding the Q’Award, three distinguished African writers will pay tribute to the late Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison. The tribute will take place just before the banquet in a separate room, from 5:30 pm to 7 pm. After the tribute, the writers will have a book signing. This activity will be led by Her Excellency, Mrs. Erelu Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi – the First Lady of Ekiti State. An accomplished writer and activist, Mrs. Fayemi will be signing copies of her latest book entitled Loud Whispers.