Africa’s First Ladies Participate In Health Summit At Luxury Hotel
Beverly Hills is often lauded as an international city and on Tuesday that title was well deserved. For the first time ever, Beverly Hills hosted the African First Ladies’ Health Summit gala at The Beverly Hilton. Sponsored by US Doctors for Africa and ExxonMobil, the gala celebrated the work of foundation participants and culminated the two-day summit addressing critical issues such as HIV/AIDS, infant and maternal health, and girls’ education throughout Africa held at the Skirball Cultural Center.
“What Ted Alemayhu is doing here is groundbreaking and historic,” said emcee of the evening, La La Vasquez, of the US Doctors for Africa foundation founder.
US Doctors for Africa is a non-profit, humanitarian organization committed to increasing access to medical care for diseases and conditions affecting the people of Africa, delivering multi-disciplinary teams of healthcare professionals and equipment to resource-poor regions. The foundation provides primary care, strategic planning, education and training first as aid and then to empower the people of Africa to respond to the health crisis they face.
Said actress Rosario Dawson, “This is a really big deal. Nothing should be taken away from that. It is really powerful that this is being held here (in Beverly Hills). It’s so impressive that these women asked to come here and could come here.”
The gala gathered the First Ladies of Africa as well as visiting “first” women from other world countries including the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Sarah Brown, and various stars such as Sharon Stone, Danny Glover, Kristin Davis, Paris Hilton, Naomi Campbell and Chris Tucker to celebrate and fundraiser for the foundation.
“It’s really amazing to have the First Ladies (in Beverly Hills) and hear what their countries are going through and what they need,” said Davis. “Women are really on the frontlines and have everyone communicate directly is really inspiring. I think people really want to help but they don’t know how.”
The gala featured awards to prominent contributors to the cause of furthering education, health reform and peace in Africa as well as entertainment by Grammy winning artists such as Patti Austin and Natalie Cole.
Extra security measures were added to ensure the safety of the high profile women at The Beverly Hilton, including personal security detail for each First Lady as well as a strong presence by Beverly Hills Police Department.
“It was a very successful event with personnel from the BHPD, LAPD and Department of State working together,” said Lt. Tony Lee of BHPD. “There were no incidents and everything went according to schedule.”
Although occupancy by the security detail and First Ladies amounted to four times what The Beverly Hilton had anticipated, the hotel was able to accommodate what was ultimately “history in the making,” said Hilton. After all, as Campbell said, “everything else is in Beverly Hills, why not this?”