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Dear ASG members,

We just completed quite a successful year with a total of 13 events, with three co-organized with Ottawa U, our Middle East cousins and CIC-National Capital Branch, for a total of approximately 435 participants. A summary table is attached. In addition, building on the very good work done last year, we published and sent around to government officials and MPs a policy paper on Social Responsibility and CIC website published it on December 16, 2013. More recently, a paper to encourage the elaboration of a strategy to frame Canada-Africa’s relations on new grounds was also distributed around, and I will get it up on Open Canada as well. This last paper is also attached in both official languages. Please feel free to distribute it widely. We also initiated some partnerships with universities and the Aga Khan Foundation Canada. And the blog is well over 1000 views.

Looking forward, we are planning to: improve the quality of our monthly meetings, improve the blog, strengthen partnerships and be more active in the media. Of course, this can be materialized with a few hands to hold the pen. We will explore themes such as food security, innovative tools to support the Canadian private sector’ doing business in Africa, local governance, Post-2015 Development goals and South Africa. Those are only indicative for now.

We can be successful and have a vibrant community if you get involved. I must say that my previous message did not generate any spontaneous offers of help. So again, we do need help. Actually this is not entirely true as a very recent member, who joined us the day before the BBQ will give me a hand to improve the blog. But we still need someone to help Aubrey and eventually replace him as Secretary, and I would like to have a Vice-President. I also suggest a new formula. If one of you is interested in analyzing one theme more in depth, that person could work alone or with others, define the theme, find speakers and I will try to find university students who would support the process of writing a paper. The commitment would only be for that specific theme. So please, do not hesitate to jump in and have fun with us. Am looking forward to hear from you in the coming weeks.