2017 Power List

Dr. Erma Manoncourt France-2017 Powerful Woman

Why we love Dr. Erma Manoncourt

Dr. Erma Manoncourt

Dr. Erma Manoncourt is a public health specialist in behavior and social change and the Founder and President of M&D Consulting Inc (Paris, France).

A retired UN official, she has worked over 30 years in international development, providing technical assistance in management/leadership, strategic planning, training and facilitation skills, communication for development, and research, monitoring, and evaluation. Erma has extensive work experience in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

2017 Power List

Fatoumata Kebe-2017 Powerful Woman

Why we love Fatoumata Kebe

Fatoumata Kebe

THIS IS Fatoumata Kebe, a final-year astronomy student on a mission to clean up space.

The 29-year-old, who works on space debris, is just months away from collecting her PhD from at Observatoire de Paris and Université Pierre et Marie Curie.

Space debris is the traces of human activity in space, all the things left there.

“Bits of rockets, for instance,” she told Clique.tv. “My work focuses particularly on what happens when these objects collide and explode. For example, I try to determine how many pieces of debris an object will split into.”

Fatoumata decided this was the subject for her after completing a programme at NASA.

“Over there, I took a space environment course on the subject with an engineer from the European Space Agency. I liked it because, at the time, I was torn between space and the environment, and here was a subject that dealt with the environment in space.”

There are currently two million pieces of debris orbiting the Earth, so, according to Fatoumata, a need for her expertise will be around for the foreseeable.

“We leave traces everywhere we go: there is plenty of work to do.”

She adds: “A 5 cm piece of debris in space has about as much energy as a bus. And it can have very serious consequences.

“The space around the Earth is too cluttered. We can’t send up any more rockets or satellites without risking them being destroyed by debris.”

Working in astronomy was a “childhood dream” for Fatoumata. She found pictures of stars and planets “fascinating”, but didn’t know how to get into the profession.

“After focusing on science subjects at school, I went off to university. I did a Master’s in fluid mechanics, but as that wasn’t sufficiently space-oriented, I did courses at the European Space Agency, the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), etc. I then went off to Japan for a year to learn about space engineering and building nanosatellites.”

She is currently writing her Ph.D. thesis and hopes to officially become an astronomer.

On perceptions of astronomy being a male-only profession, she says: “I think the problem is a wider one. There is a problem with women in the sciences, from high school onwards. Once you get to university, the numbers of women dwindle over time. There are very few of us left by the time you get to post-doctoral level.”

“A lot of girls around me have said things like, ‘Fatou, I want a family life’. Girls lack self-belief in this field.”

She admits people have tried to discourage her, but she is defiant and admits, “I’m against positive discrimination, so it’s quite difficult.”

2017 Power List

Black Women in Europe™: Power List 2017 – A List of Our Own©

Black Women in Europe™: Power List 2017 – A List of Our Own©

View and share on SlideShare and YouTube.

Arlette Bomahou, 2 World champion titles and 2-time European Champion title in power lifting in 2013 and 2014.

Arlette Maotie Bamahou

Arlette Bomahou is a 39 years French native lady living in Dublin, Ireland for the past 9 years, She is a full time student in digital and social media marketing in Blackrock Further Education Institute. She works part time looking after social media marketing for Tony Quinn Health centre.

Arlette is a member of the Irish Drug Free Powerlifting Association since August 2013, and member of the Dundrum South Athletic club since November 2013

Experience in training:

10 years of weight training and 1 year of strength & conditioning

Qualification in Sports:

Level 3 Gym instructor and Level 4 Personal trainer certificate recognized by REP in May/June 2014

Arlette Bomahou

In her own words:

Who I am.

I am 39 years old, born in North of France in Caen in 1975. My mother is from Togo and my father from Benin they both moved to France in the 70’s to study French.

When I was a teenager I was very good at sport but didn’t take it seriously. I was practicing athletics and basket-ball. My dream was to be an air hostess and live in the states. Michael Jordan and Carl Lewis were my ultimate heroes. I was big into Madonna too, I wish I could be as extroverted as she was as an artist. I always felt I would live abroad or travel a lot. I was always fascinated about foreign languages and cultures.

My passion for sport and foreign languages took me to Amsterdam where I lived for nearly 6 years. I worked for Nike and loved it then I decided to move to Ireland to discover a new country and culture. After 9 years living in Ireland I am still enjoying it and hope to raise a family here.

Reason why I decided to get into power lifting:

I have been doing weight training for the past 10 years in order to get into better shape and live a healthier life style. It has helped me to lose up to 10 kg but more importantly to improve my body shape and level of fitness. If it was not for my personal trainer Adrian Quinn with whom I have been working since 2010, I would never have tried to compete in Power lifting.

He saw potential in me I was not aware of. In 2011 he suggested that I should compete, but I didn’t have enough confidence back then. In August this year I turned 38 years old and I decided I needed to achieve something for myself before I turned 40. So I jumped in at the deep end by participating in my first competition in Cork in August 2013 in the Mardyke stadium. Since then I fell in love with this sport.

 My achievements to date:

Arlette Bomahou

World champion title in Dusseldorf in Single World championship on Sunday 8th June 2014, broke World record in division equipped deadlift with 162.5kg, Silver medal in unequipped deadlift with 167.5kg

World Champion title in Glasgow in full power World Championship on Saturday 2d November 2013 (Squats: 102.5 kg, Bench press: 62.5kg and deadlift 160kg)

European champion title in full power Championship in Belfast on Saturday 10th May 2014 (Squats: 100 kg, Bench press: 57.5 kg and deadlift 165kg)

European champion title in single lift Championship in Gorey co. Wexford on Saturday 13th September 2014. Broke World record in equipped division with Deadlift @ 175 kg

From 12 – 28 June 2015, Arlette will be a volunteer at the European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan, involving more than 6,000 athletes from the National Olympic Committees of Europe across 17 days of competition, in what will be the largest sporting event in Azerbaijan’s history.

Feeding the spirit in France – Erica found a way

In a new series of articles, black women living in Europe share their views from the inside. In our seventh article, Erica Smith-Escassut found a way to feed her spirit in France.

Over the past few years of living here I have made a few observations.  The most striking one for me was when I arrived in France,  December 1999 to live and establish a long-term relationship/partnership with my beau, as I would describe him to my grandmother.

I noticed in a previous visit that Spring that there was something missing in the overall air of the environment, but without fully understanding the language I could only feel that something was missing. I could not hear,  nor read about what it was until several months later. Upon my return and further investigation,  the gig was up. I tired to understand if it was just local, or generational, or just by household, which is a discussion for a whole ‘nother day. May be it was just a fluke in the media: tv, newspapers, films, radio. What was it that I felt was lacking? What did I notice? Other than the lack of brown peoples in the media–people that represented the French population that I saw on the streets every day in Toulouse and Paris, what was it?

A Spiritual connection of the God/Creator kind.

It seemed as if the grandiose cathedral-like local churches were only attended by a handful who were 70 and over, walking that fine line between life and the thereafter. However, there were exceptions like the  sprightly, elderly gentleman who would tip his hat when we greet each other in the street and a large devout Vietnamese family. They had enough children to sing in the 5 person choir and play various accompanying instruments. The two youngest in the family are still on to lead the church in song and at least one of them still plays a flute to accompany the organist. They seem to have it, but what happened to the rest of the people?

My soul became hungry. I wondered did others have this same hunger. Did they even feel hungry for something greater, for the intangible, the unexplainable?  Was it from their lack of solid educational programming like Sesame Street? And why was their second national anthem O Happy Day? Did they even know what that song was really about?

I was not going to let my soul starve on the account of others lack of interest or disregard or the feeling that this subject was irreverent and more taboo than sex and open drug usage.

Finding love in a hopeless place, in pop culture, is easier and less confusing  than finding God or even one’s soul in a laïque country such as France. Even the definition of laïque is contradictory, so it would only be normal that the population would be just as intellectually confused about it all and capable of spiritually starving to death without even knowing it, and opening doors to all sorts of other kinds of mayhem.

Laïcite established in France in 1958 is “simply” the separation of church and state in which the church cannot be involved in administrative or political roles. However when looking at the word Laïque, in the church, from what I understand is  faithful follower of Christ , through their baptism, incorporated into the body of Christ and becomes a member of the household of God, by also being members of the church, which represents the lifeline of the world. Or at least that’s how I translated it from a religious website. Simply put, they are the lay members of the church.

But with the first reference to Laïcite it removes religious expression and even discussion of from the classroom. So it wasn’t just the teachers who were not allowed to discuss religious practices to a certain extent, but students were stripped of their freedom to wear veils, crosses, yarmulkes or any religious paraphernalia, in the 2000’s. To me it felt as an unnecessary removal of otherness from every vestige of French society that could remind the majority of the minorities ability to be French and something else. As if taking away the ability for immigrants to practice their professions here weren’t enough they also took a freedom of religious expression, in the administrative workplace and school yard. This only could have lead to the fanaticism that is seen among teens today. No religious expression at school but they can wear caps, t-shirts and jackets with the brand Comme da Fuckdown embroidered across the front in gold lettering.

Oh, but I’m sure you’re wondering how I kept my soul from going hungry? Well, I had the opportunity to host a gospel radio program in French from 2003-2007. Music has an amazing way of maintaining spiritual connections and develop relationships…

NB: By  the way that reference to Sesame Street is not far off in dealing with other aspects of society that involve innovation, creativity and independence as one may think. But that’s a thought for another day.

Erica Sith-Eccassut

Erica Smith-Escassut was born and raised in Baton Rouge, La. She moved to France 14  years ago. She’s married and has two children. She has been dabbling in radio broadcasting, writing, and figuring out ways to get paid to be herself & help others along the way.

Next month Laura Bazile examines business networking as an entrepreneur in Europe.





Fall 2011 Issue of Black Expat is online

We are one issue away from celebrating our third anniversary. We would like to thank the many readers who have been with us on our wonderful journey and all the authors and contributors who have made the magazine what it is.

Black Expat Fall 2011

This issue we will again not dissapoint profiling photographers in Milan, professors in Shanghai, and the adventure of Black Missionaries from a century ago.

Dennison Bertram in a stellar article chronicles his physical and spiritual journey as a successful artist and expat in Italy. A must read!

Another Italy expat, Arelene Gibbs, tells us about the life in Rome and the reality (versus fantasy) of expat life in Europe.

Dr. Andrea Stith shows us that brains and beauty are not incompatible and describes her experience as a professor in Shanghai Jiaotong.

Tanya Tait describes her experience living in Nice with her husband and adjusting to beautiful France.

Finally our historical Black in the Day feature describes the work of Black American missionaries in Africa in the 19th and early 20th century.

We are also pleased to announce that we have 5 Luxe City travel guides to give away to 5 Black Expat readers. Get the details here and good luck: http://bit.ly/blackexpatluxe

Thanks again for reading and as always your feedback is welcome!

The Editors – Adrianne (Black Women in Europe), Reggie & Derek


2nd Annual Transatlantic Minority Political Leadership Conference

European Parliament – Brussels, Belgium

Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe


The Transatlantic Minority Political Leadership Conference has taken place annually at the headquarters of the European Parliament in Brussels since the seminal Black European Summit (BES): Transatlantic Dialogue on Political Inclusion, held in 2009. The events focus on Black and ethnic minority political participation in Europe and North America. This year’s Conference focused on the social and political inclusion of ethnic and racial minority populations in Europe and the United States. Participants considered the adoption of an EU-U.S. Joint Strategy on Racial and Ethnic Equality, similar to current United States’ initiatives with Brazil and Colombia that address issues of inequality and discrimination.

1:00 – 2:15 pm

Welcome Lunch


The Honorable Hannes Swoboda MEP, Socialist & Democrats Group
The Honorable Alcee L. Hastings, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Claude Moraes, MEP, Socialist &Democrats Group

2:30 – 4:15 pm

Parliamentary Forum:

Including Diversity on the Transatlantic Agenda: The case for a EU-U.S. Joint Strategy on Racial and Ethnic Equality and Inclusion

Forum Chairs:

The Honorable Alcee L. Hastings, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Peter Skinner, Member of the European Parliament

Special Remarks:

Maciej Popowski, Deputy Secretary General, European External Action Service


Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos, Head of Equality and Citizens’ Rights Department, European Union Fundamental Rights Agency
Zakiya Carr Johnson, Sr. Advisor, Race, Ethnicity, and Social Inclusion Unit, U.S. Department of State
Anders B. Johnsson, Secretary General, Inter-Parliamentary Union

4:30 – 6:30 pm

Are We Being Served? Minorities at the Decision-making Table

Session Chairs:

The Honorable Barbara Lee, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Glyn Ford, former Member of the European Parliament


Cornell Belcher, President, Brilliant Corners Research and Strategies, U.S.
The Honorable Nura Ismailovski, Zagreb City Council, Croatia
The Honorable Said el Khadraoui, Member of the European Parliament
The Honorable David Lammy, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom
The Honorable Vivienne Poy, Member of the Senate of Canada

Moderator: Rokhaya Diallo, Journalist, France

6:30 – 7:30 pm

Awards Ceremony

Honoring the 2011 International Year for People of African Descent


The Honorable Alcee L. Hastings, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Gregory Meeks, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable George Pau-Langevin, Member of Parliament, France



Parliamentary Forum

Including Diversity on the Transatlantic Agenda:

The case for a EU-U.S. Joint Strategy on Racial and Ethnic Equality and Inclusion

The Parliamentary Forum focused on an EU-U.S. equality and inclusion strategy, potentially modeled after existing bilateral ‘Joint Action Plans’ the U.S. maintains with Brazil and Colombia focused on eliminating racial discrimination and inequality. The Forum was prompted by a 2010 EU-U.S. Summit affiliated European Parliament Resolution calling for a dialogue between governments on greater tolerance and respect for diversity. Panelists reviewed the situation of racial and ethnic minorities in Europe, including
political participation and provided an overview of existing U.S. Action Plans. Inter-Parliamentary Union Secretary General Johnsson maintained that any EU-U.S. plan must include a focus on minority political participation, especially in national Parliaments, while External Action Deputy Secretary General Popowski
noted a plan would assist in complying with international human rights norms.

EU Fundamental Rights Agency Head, Mr. Dimitrakopoulos relayed disturbing statistics on the situation of ethnic minorities and migrants and raised the importance of active citizenship for these populations. U.S. State Department Sr. Advisor Carr-Johnson highlighted current successes between the U.S. and Latin America plans and their applicability to Europe. Conference participants supported incorporating any new strategy with Roma inclusion efforts that were being discussed in the European Union and the need for minorities to be involved in the development and implementation of strategies, noting the need for the creation of minority thinktanks. U.S. Representative Hastings commented,

“Too often have governments done things to us rather than with us.”

At the conclusion of the Conference, Conference participants called for the U.S. State Department and the European Commission to adopt a Joint Action Plan.

Minority legislators compared and contrasted the social and political situation of racial and ethnic minorities and migrants in North America and Europe based upon their experiences. All speakers noted the underrepresentation of minorities in government at national and other levels in their countries, which impacted access to quality education, employment, and other resources. Existing government programs to improve the situation of minorities were found to be largely ineffective, in part due to poor implementation and underfunding. An absence of minority legislators who could support such measures and
waning political will were cited as additional reasons for these efforts being unsuccessful. Canada’s first Asian Senator, Vivienne Poy extolled Canada’s social integration methods for migrants allowing them to excel in some areas, while noting the lack of diversity in the Canadian Parliament and the need for reforms in the electoral process. Belgian MEP El Khadraoui of Moroccan descent noted that only 4% of candidates were of a foreign background in a recent election in the Flanders region, despite 30% of the population being foreign born and having high unemployment rates that warranted political action. U.K. parliamentarian, David Lammy of Black Caribbean origin noted the need for strategies from minorities to increase pressure on traditional political parties to adopt beneficial policies for their communities, including strengthening education. Both Lammy and El Khadraoui highlighted Europe’s growing class of inter-racial youth and its impact on European identities. Zagreb City Councilwoman of Croatia, Ms. Ismailovski reflected on her journey as the first Romani woman to graduate from University and be elected. She lamented the lack of clear and measurable actions for the Roma community compared to five years ago in the face of the recession. African-American pollster, Cornell Belcher detailed the power of minority voters in winning U.S. elections, but noted the current failure of U.S. political parties to reach out to them and support policies benefiting their communities.

Panel Chair, U.S. Representative Barbara Lee offered closing remarks where she spoke of challenges in her work leading the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus to address racial disparities in the United States. She also noted her entry into politics via a Congressional fellowship and the need for similar professional development opportunities for minorities throughout the transatlantic space. Former U.K.M EP Glyn Ford raised concerns with growing racist and xenophobic political parties in Europe that were rolling back gains for minorities.

Panel Discussion:

Are We Being Served?: Minorities at the Decision-making Table

For the third year, prior to the Conference, U.S. Congressional minority staffers and interns participated in an exchange with the European Parliament’s Socialists & Democrats Group. In addition to meetings with European counterparts and party leaders, this year’s program included attendance at a Foreign Affairs Committee meeting, where EU High Representative Catherine Ashton spoke about the EU’s Libya strategy, an S&D Group meeting focused on plans to create a code of conduct to fight corruption in Parliament, and a book launch entitled, Roma: A European Minority, the Challenge of Diversity Inclusion.

The 2011 International Year for People of African Descent aims at strengthening national actions and regional and international cooperation for the benefit of people of African descent in relation to their full enjoyment of economic, cultural, social, civil and political rights, their participation and integration in all political, economic, social and cultural aspects of society, and the promotion of a greater knowledge of and respect for their diverse heritage and culture.

Edouard Glissant

In honor of the 2011 International Year for People of African Descent, Dorothy Height of the United States and Edouard Glissant of France received Posthumous recognition for their work to advance minority political participation presented by U.S. Representative Gregory Meeks and French Parliamentarian George Pau-Langevin.

Dorothy Height

“I believe we hold in our hands the power once again to shape not only our own but the nation’s future — a future that is based on developing an agenda that radically challenges limitations in our economic development, educational achievement and political empowerment.” – Dorothy Height

Awards Ceremony

Honoring the 2011 International Year for People of African Descent

Minority Staff Exchange

For the first time, affiliated Conference events took place over the weekend during the German Marshall Fund of the United States’ Brussels Forum—an annual high-level meeting of North American and European political, corporate, and intellectual leaders focused on transatlantic cooperation on global challenges. In an off-the-record discussion, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings, former Dutch Parliamentarian Fadime Orgu and pollster Mr. Cornell Belcher discussed changing demographics and the role of minority politicians and electorates in current policy debates amidst growing tensions surrounding national identity, immigration, and national security in the United States and Europe. Questions explored included: How race and ethnicity impact politics? If demographic changes fuel far-right and conservative policies? How can increased mi-
nority political participation strengthen our democracies?

GMF Brussels Forum Night Owl Session:

Demographic Shifts and Minority Political Representation

We would like to thank all participants for their contribution in helping to make the event a success: Mr. Cornell Belcher-Brilliant Corners Research & Strategies; Ms. Lora Berg-Department of State; Dr. Allison Blakely-Boston University; Ms. Zakiya Carr Johnson-Sr. Advisor, Department of State; Ms. Dimitria Clayton-State Chancellery, State of North Rhine-Westphalia; Ms. Anna Colombo-Secretary General, Socialists & Democrats Group Secretariat; Mr. Peter J. Croll-Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC); Mr. Harlem Desir- MEP, S & D Group; Ms. Rokhaya Diallo-Journalist; Ms. Seynabou Dia; Mr. Reda Didi-Graines de France; Mr. Alain Dolium-French Democratic Movement; Mr. Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos-European Union Fundamental Rights Agency; Mr. Said El Khadraoui- MEP, S&D Group; Mr. Ioan Enciu, MEP, S&D Group; Mr. Glyn Ford -Political Intelligence; Ms. Aurelie Ganga-The European Diversity Caucus; Ms. Adrianne George-Black Women in Europe Blog and Social Network; Ms. Domenica Ghidei-The Netherlands Equal Treatment Commissioner; Dr. Terri Givens-University of Texas at Austin; Mr. Alcee L. Hastings-Member of the U.S. Congress, Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe; Ms. Nura-Ismailovski-Councilwoman, Zagreb City Council; Mr. Anders Johnsson-Secretary General, Inter-Parliamentary Union; Ms. Brenda King-European Commission; Mr. David Lammy-MP, United Kingdom; Ms. Barbara Lee-Member of the U.S. Congress; Mr. Gregory Meeks-Member of the U.S. Congress; Mr. Claude Moraes-MEP, S&D Group; Dr. Lorenzo Morris-Howard University; Ms. Joyce Naar-ACP Civil Society Forum; Ms. George Pau-Langevin-Member of the French National Assembly; Ms. Randianina Peccoud-U.S. Embassy Paris; Senator Vivienne Poy-Member of the Canadian Senate; Peter Skinner- MEP, S&D Group; Mr. Paul Stafford-The German Marshall Fund of the U.S.; Mr. Hannes Swoboda- MEP, S&D Group; Mr. Wouter Van Bellingen-Stadhuis Sint-Niklaas. We would also like to thank the following people for their assistance in the work of the Conference and Report: Dr. Emmanuelle Le Texier of the staff of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, Mr. Alex Johnson and Dr. Mischa Thompson of the staff of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and Ms. Naakoshie Mills of Howard University, intern, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats.

For additional information, please contact:

Dr. Mischa Thompson
Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
234 Ford House Office Building
3rd and D St. NW
Washington DC 20515
Tel: 202-225-190|Fax: 202-226-4199

Dr. Emmanuelle Le Texier
Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament
European Parliament
Rue Wiertz 60
B-1047 Bruxelles
T +32 2 284 2111/F +32 2 230 6664