Governor Moore Announces Appointments to the Maryland Commission on African Affairs

Published: 12/19/2023

ANNAPOLIS, MD — Governor Wes Moore today announced appointments to the Governor's Commission on African Affairs, a group of business and community leaders from Western Maryland to the state’s southern tip selected for their far-reaching professional and personal ties to the African continent and Maryland’s diverse African communities. Chukwunonso “Vincent” Iweanoge will serve as chair.

The Governor's Commission on African Affairs serves as an advisory board to the Governor and agencies within the executive department on matters relating to the African diaspora of Maryland, including economic, workforce and business development.

The appointees include:

Chukwunonso “Vincent” Iweanoge (Nigerian), chair, is the president and chief executive officer of Havit Inc. and the chief financial consultant for the Republic of Guinea-Bissau in West Africa. He is also the inaugural chair of the African Diaspora Advisory Board for Prince George’s County, where he actively fosters collaboration within the African diaspora community. 

Dr. Alemseged Abbay (Ethiopian) is a professor in Frostburg State University’s Department of History, specializes in global history, African history, Middle Eastern history, the comparative history of genocide, and African American studies. He actively presents his research at national and international conferences, contributing significantly to the fields of ethnic studies and African affairs.

Tope Adeyoju (Nigerian) is a change management consultant, government contractor and advocate for the growth of minority-owned organizations. He was responsible for the creation of a proprietary database, connecting with more than 500,000 African households and numerous professionals and businesses throughout North America.

Adebowale “Shola” Ajayi (Nigerian) serves as a senior campaign coordinator and racial justice facilitator for the Service Employee International Union. His professional background includes legislative lobbying and labor advocacy, and he leads an initiative to develop essential infrastructure for a school in Agbowa-Ikosi, Nigeria.

Adedana Ashebir (Ethiopian) most recently served as a regional director for Village Capital, where she led their Africa initiatives with a focus on energy development in Sub-Saharan Africa. She previously served as the program director for the Africa Business Fellowship at The Africa Leadership Network.

Njukang Asong (Cameroonian) is the president of The Friendship Circle, a nonprofit dedicated to alleviating poverty within African communities. He supports community-building between the African population and the Prince George's County Executive's Office, serving on the African Diaspora Advisory Board in addition to business sector and local government positions.

Dr. Anyinke Atabong (Cameroonian) is a dual board-certified psychiatric mental health and family nurse practitioner with nearly two decades of diverse healthcare experience. Dr. Atabong serves as the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia regional director for The African Think Tank, leveraging her unique background to bridge gaps between Africans and African Americans.

Fatmata Barrie (Sierra Leonean) is an experienced attorney and executive director of the Montgomery County Police Accountability Board. She is also the owner of the Barrie Law Center, specializing in immigration and special education law.

Ian Campbell (African American) is a seasoned professional in government affairs, diplomacy, and strategic consulting. Campbell serves as the managing partner of Manchester Global Solutions. With a wealth of experience spanning various countries, he dedicates a significant portion of his time to providing strategic consulting services in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, contributing to the success of initiatives that bridge gaps and create opportunities on the global stage and in Maryland. 

Dr. Sylvia Dasi (Cameroonian) has a long career in molecular and clinical research. She previously served as the executive assistant for the African Women’s Cancer Awareness Association and has certifications in international studies, community health work and oncology patient navigation.

Amsale Geletu (Ethiopian) is the owner of PMS Parking, a major parking enterprise that manages and oversees airport and venue parking lots across the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area. She is a member of the advisory committee for Ethiopian Ambassador Fitsum Arega and is co-founder of the American Ethiopian Public Affairs Committee Maryland Chapter.

J. Wyndal Gordon (Ghanaian, Kenyan) is an attorney whose professional and personal pursuits are driven by a deep commitment to justice and civil rights. He actively engages in community service and volunteers for various non-profit organizations, particularly focusing on championing the causes of African Americans, children and vulnerable populations.

Dr. Jasmine Blanks Jones (African American) is the executive director of the Center for Social Concern at Johns Hopkins University and the founder of Burning Barriers Building Bridges Youth Theatre. Her published academic work covers topics including community health education in Liberia, anti-black racism in community-based mental health services, and black women’s ethnographic practice.

Dr. Terry V. Jones (African American) is the chief talent and culture officer at the United States Institute of Peace. He is dedicated to improving the lives of marginalized populations globally, and to elevating members of the African diaspora both professionally and personally.

Natalie McCabe (African American) is a licensed mental health professional and an independent contractor at ABA Health Services, Inc, where she provides holistic therapy services for mental health, domestic violence, and substance abuse. She leverages her strategic leadership skills to contribute to the growth of mental health programs that benefit the African diaspora.

Nehdia Mumuni (Ghanaian) is a certified anesthesiologist and the first American-born child of Ghanaian parents, who is practiced at managing the interplay between her American identity and deep ties to her African heritage. She leverages her unique perspective to assist American-born African children.

Yodit Negede (Ethiopian) is the international program manager at Geoscope Environmental and the owner of Pemberton Coffeehouse. She actively promotes global and state community development, establishing partnerships and supporting Ethiopian issues and humanities through her dedicated projects and initiatives.

Maroufath Ogoussan (Togolese) is a contract specialist at the D.C. Office of Contracting and Procurement, where she supports development of small and minority-owned businesses. She currently also volunteers for the United Nations and has contributed to data collection on e-services in Togo and Djibouti.

Dr. James Saku (Nigerian) is a professor at Frostburg State University, where he coordinates the African American Studies program. He is a member of the Association of American Geographers’ Africa Specialty Group, the University of Cape Coast Alumni Association in North America, the Council of Ewes in North America and the Ewe Association of Washington, DC.

Tricia Umeh (Nigerian) is co-founder and CEO of Gabtics LLC, a startup dedicated to providing comprehensive cybersecurity, media and communications solutions with a focus on addressing economic challenges within the African community.

Maureen Wambui (Kenyan) is a first-generation immigrant and founder of the Immigrant and Refugee Resource Group, where she works to build meaningful relationships within the immigrant and multicultural community. She previously served on the Social Innovation Committee of International Child Advancement, an NGO empowering children in the Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.