Mayor Jones Part of Historic Delegation to Senegal

~14 U.S. city mayors guest of Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade~

Mayor Dwight C. Jones is part of a delegation traveling to the west coast of Africa for the World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures, an international gathering of musicians, artists, civil rights leaders and elected officials. The World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures will take place in Dakar, Senegal and the 2010 event is only the third time in 50 years that the event has taken place.

More than 200 African-American leaders will participate in the Festival, including groups from the National Conference of Black Mayors, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, and the National Association of Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. In all, the festival is expected to attract 60,000 participants from 80 countries.

Mayor Jones is one of 14 mayors that make up the U.S. delegation. The invitation was extended through the National Conference of Black Mayors. The Festival is being viewed as an important opportunity to highlight the role of art and culture in promoting economic development. "I'm pleased to be representing the city of Richmond during this international visit and look forward to sharing with others the work going in in Richmond for arts programming," said Mayor Jones. "In Richmond, we've been working with arts and cultural district collaborators and we are clearly such a center of creativity. I will be letting everyone know about our international jazz festival and inviting delegations to visit Richmond," said Mayor Jones.

While in Senegal, the delegation will meet privately with President Wade, participate in myriad Festival activities, and visit Gorée Island which is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in commemoration of the painful history of the Atlantic slave trade. "Being able to visit Gorée Island even as we approach the sesquicentennial celebration back at home is very meaningful to me and will enrich the whole experience for me," continued Mayor Jones. The Festival will foster dialogue between Africa, its Diaspora, and the entire world regarding the contributions of black cultures to humanity.

Mayor Jones will be in Senegal from December 10 - 17. The World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures is scheduled to run through December 31.