Africa Day, designated by the African Union as an annual celebration of the continent’s unity, falls on 25th May each year. Celebrations to mark the day occur across the globe: in some African states, it is a designated national holiday, while in diverse cities – such as New York, London and Washington – academic gatherings and cultural showcases mark the day.
Irish Aid at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been the driving force behind Africa Day celebrations in Ireland since 2006. Initially, it worked to fund and promote a small number of events centring around culture and policy. In 2008, it expanded the profile of activities by hosting a significant family day event in Dublin. This was followed by the roll-out of flagship celebratory events – in Dublin and Limerick – during the subsequent two years. In addition to these flagship events, Irish Aid supported a programme of community-based and policy-focused initiatives around the country. Over the past ten years, the national programme of events and the profile of Africa Day in the media has grown consistently.