Review the 2015 Conference Agenda. Meet our speakers.
AGAG’s annual conference is one of the few meetings specifically geared for funders working in Africa. During the conference we spoke with Raoul Davion and Rohit Berman about how attending the 2015 AGAG conference helped to deepen their understanding of trends in philanthropy to Africa.
Raoul Davion is Associate Director of Girls Secondary Education at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in Chicago.
Typically in the grantmaking that MacArthur and I imagine other large endowed philanthropies do we, can be somewhat “siloed” around the issue areas that we’re addressing. In my case currently girls secondary education but before that higher education in Africa. So the conference has been a regular opportunity for me to get more of a big picture sense of what’s happening not just in philanthropy but also in Africa more broadly, social trends that are going on that I might not be aware of and demographic trends very much in evidence in this year’s conference focus on youth. It also exposes me to compelling work that’s going on in other fields and in some instances allows me to identify emerging leaders either at the individual or organizational level.
Rohit Burman is Executive Director of the Global Philanthropy and Corporate Citizenship division of the Estee Lauder Companies in New York.
The conference has been a phenomenal resource in a couple different areas. One is just connecting with colleagues. It has provided a really wonderful opportunity and balance to have conversations in more curated sessions and then free flowing conversations as well. The ability to connect with colleagues from across the sector is something that I don’t get to do on an ongoing basis that is extremely valuable.
This conference provides me with an opportunity to meet a lot of folks who are representing a variety of different donors or funding institutions as well as individuals that are working on the continent. That is a tremendous value because the reality of my schedule and work based in New York is that I don’t get to be on the ground on a frequent basis. So to connect with people who are practicing on the ground and are there more is an incredible opportunity as well to get to hear those perspectives. Another thing that it is incredibly valuable is the questions that are asked and how you are challenged to think about your practice of work and issues that filter across a number of different areas.
AGAG being an affinity group that is not based so much on an issue or an identity but around the geography, there are a lot of issues that it encompasses. So the breadth of issues that one could actually encounter over the two-day conference here is incredibly valuable. You’re not focusing only on one aspect but also you’re spreading wide so have the chance to go deep in your individual conversations or sessions as well.
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