Albany, NY (May 11, 2015) – On Wednesday, April 8 Partner James T. Towne, Jr. of Towne, Ryan & Partners, P.C. spoke as a panelist on protecting African Intellectual Property at A Forum Discussion: Arts as Tools for Change to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of USA for Africa in Nairobi, Kenya.
Mr. Towne has devoted a significant amount of personal time to charitable efforts in Africa. In his role as a Trustee to the Loisaba Community Conservation Foundation, Inc. (“LCCF”) – a qualified U.S. 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization – he has contributed to the development of educational and health services for the extremely impoverished Ewaso and Koija communities located 100 miles north of Nairobi. Mr. Towne was invited to speak on the panel by Salim Amin, son of the late world-renowned photographer, cameraman and publisher Mohamed “Mo” Amin.
The late Mr. Amin experienced a defining career moment when he brought international attention to the 1981-84 Ethiopian famine through his compelling photojournalism. Mr. Amin’s powerful images inspired a groundswell movement leading to the founding of the USA for Africa in 1985.
In its first year, the USA for Africa made history as 45 of America’s top recording artists including Harry Belafonte, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Tina Turner and Stevie Wonder among other music royalty came together to record “We are the World.” The song has not only inspired people to action across all continents and shed light on the critical needs of Africa, but has also sold more than 7 million records worldwide generating more than $60 million to combat these severe issues in Africa (www.usaforafrica.org). It was also the springboard for USA for Africa’s progeny: LiveAid, FarmAid and many other grassroots efforts.
“To be asked to participate in USA for Africa’s 30th Anniversary event and to be surrounded by enormously talented people who have spent their careers serving the disadvantaged in Africa was such a privilege. I learned much about helping to fulfill the social, educational, health and creative needs of the people we support in Ewaso by brainstorming new ideas, perspectives and strategies with these individuals who have spent 30 years on the ground, talking the talk and walking the walk. It was tremendously motivating,” Towne said.
The 30th Anniversary event, which was organized by USA for Africa and Co-hosted by A24Media and AllAfrica.com ran from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. In addition to the panel on protecting African Intellectual Property, additional discussions included Legacies of Arts & Artists for Change, Africa’s Voice in Sustainable Development Agenda, African Arts in Action – Issues & Ideas and Culture Event.