Uzodinma Iweala will step down from his role as CEO of the Africa Center after a 7-year tenure.

Founded in 1984, The Africa Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, multidisciplinary institution based in Harlem, New York that provides a gateway for engagement with contemporary Africa. Iweala is currently in his seventh year as chief executive of the Africa Center and has achieved quite a lot during his tenure.

According to The New York Times, Iweala was responsible for guiding The Africa Center through the difficult pandemic years and secured a large amount of funding for a major construction project in its current home at the top of Museum Mile. He expanded the Center’s programming during the pandemic years to include lectures and visits from heads of state, outdoor dance parties, and films and author talks.

In addition, The New York Times notes that Iweala’s leadership helped to reinforce connections with the African diaspora by creating a solid foundation. In the past, The Africa Center was known by many names such as the Museum for African Art and before that, the Center for African Art. Under Iweala’s tenure, the Center made a mark through the “States of Becoming” exhibition in 2022-23 featuring 17 African artists from the continent and diaspora, a media index to track how Africa is covered in the media, and the Future Africa Forum that offered discussions with presidents, philanthropists, and leaders during U.N. General Assembly meetings in New York.

Iweala said to NYT, “I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to build over the past few years, especially in a challenging environment. It’s the right time to leave for me and for the institution.”

Jendayi E. Frazer, co-chair of the Center’s board, remarked to NYT that Iweala “took the institution to another level specifically from the point of view making a reality of its interdisciplinary nature. We love Uzo and are sorry to see him go.”

Uzodinma Iweala is a Nigerian-American author and medical doctor. His debut novel Beasts of No Nation (2005) was based on his thesis in creative writing at Harvard, and depicts a child soldier in an unnamed African country. In 2012, he released the non-fiction book Our Kind of People about the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Nigeria and his most recent novel Speak No Evil (2018) highlights the life of a gay Nigerian-American boy named Niru. He won the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award in 2006 and was named as one of Granta Magazine‘s 20 best young American novelists in 2007.

Iweala will step down at the end of 2024. We are sorry to hear this news but hope that he is able to move on to greener pastures and take some time for himself as well.