Delivered Webster University Commencement address
Like Webster University, Djibril Diallo, president and CEO of the African Renaissance and Diaspora Network [ARDN], has worldwide influence.
Diallo delivered the graduation address during Webster’s 103rd Commencement on May 13, 2022. He challenged graduates to always think about global impact as many now begin promising careers.
“It is a global community,” he said. “How do we support you on your next stage. Whether you want to be international or in your own communities, what makes you care about what goes on outside your community?”
During a May 12 appearance on “Donnybrook: Next Up” on the Nine Network [KETC] Diallo congratulated Webster Chancellor Elizabeth Stroble for being “a global goodwill ambassador.”
“She is an ambassador in terms of connecting the world and making sure these undergraduates are global citizens when they come out. They have had an emphasis on Africa, an emphasis on Europe, an emphasis on Asia [in studies], so that today’s world is a big village. When they come out, they already have a global perspective on global issues,” he said.
Webster University has more than 50 educational sites and locations on four continents. It has international campuses in Greece, China, Geneva, Ghana, Leiden, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Vienna, and Kazakhstan.
Stroble said Diallo’s life and career “embody the values of individual excellence and global citizenship, aligning well with Webster University’s mission.”[He] has spent his career encouraging young people, advocating for international human rights, building partnerships and networks that focus on the need for all of us to engage the world’s most critical issues and challenges.”
Based in New York as a not-for-profit organization, ARDN partners with the United Nations in its effort to “serve as a coordinating body working to unite the efforts of individuals and organizations to supporting the advent of the African renaissance by fostering unity between African Nations and all peoples of African descent,” according to the ARDN website.
One of its jobs, according to Diallo, is to strengthen ties between Africa and people of African descent.”
“Within that framework we have been very successful in strengthening the ties between the youth of Africa and the youth of the diaspora. One thing covid taught us, because of online [discussions] you don’t need to leave St. Louis to connect with the youth in Ghana, South Africa, or Senegal.”
Diallo said knowledge of Africa can also help aspiring graduates and professionals in job searches.
“It is very important in what it takes to succeed in today’s world. You need very good training. You need relevant experience. You need to be connected,” he said.
“You will have a little plus when you go to a job interview, and interviewers know you also have a global perspective. When interviewers get together, that might give a kind of edge.”
A citizen of Senegal, Diallo holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics, Education and Communications from the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies. He also holds certificates from the University of Nottingham and a degree in modern languages and education from the University of Dakar, Senegal
Before joining ARDN in 2018, he served as the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS regional director for Western and Central Africa. He is a former director of the United Nations New York Office of Sport for Development and Peace, and former director of communications for United Nations Development Program.
During the commencement ceremony, Webster University awarded Diallo an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.