Historically, Howard University alumni have no shortage of leadership skills, and doctoral graduate Dr. Agorom Dike is no different. The influential Afro-Caribbean religious leader has forged a unique path towards global faith and peace. As Founder and President of the Caribbean and African Faith Based Leadership Conference (CAFBLC), he has worked tirelessly to unite black leaders across the diaspora. Through his work, he has connected with everyone from foreign elected officials to kings.
Despite all of the valuable relationships that he has now, Dr. Dike came from humble beginnings. As the child of a Nigerian father and Jamaican mother, he spent years in foster care. He never let that derail his life’s purpose, however, and around the age of 7 recognized that ministry was his calling. “When I was in the foster home, we would go to church,” said Dike. “I started preaching from the age of 15 years old, and since that time, I have worked in many different levels of religious leadership.” By stepping into his purpose, he soon developed an undeniable ability to lead in his community. “I have been very active in youth leadership and servicing different community development projects in Jamaica,” he began. “I have assisted countless people and organizations, as well as raised funds for projects such as social outreach programs, disaster relief and housing. I have also worked in the educational field as a guidance counselor and as pastoral counsel,” he said, careful to not forget the work he has done in faith.
To create an influence that surpassed his local community, Dike eventually established a conference that would create strong relationships amongst communities of the diaspora internationally. “Here at the Caribbean & African Faith Based Leadership Conference, our focus is on facilitating linkages and connections between indigenous people and stakeholders in Africa, the Caribbean, and the U.S.,” he said. Foreign elected officials, upper-echelon business leaders, and high profile philanthropists in the African Diaspora can discuss business with American officials ranking as high as the President’s Administration. Ultimately, these new connections make it easier to facilitate partnerships, discuss policy issues, and share resources. The one-of-a-kind conference provides a platform that is coveted, but difficult to obtain. “It is a high accomplishment to connect with indigenous leaders locally and globally and bring them to the table to engage the U.S. government at Congress, the State Department, Homeland Security, and the White House,” said Dike.
In fact, another conference is coming up next week! From September 29-October 1, the African and Caribbean International Leadership Conference and Presidential Awards Gala will honor community and faith-based leaders. It will be an exciting time for the leaders in the diaspora to not only network, but to be rewarded for their hard work as well. The highlight of the conference is the Awards Gala, which takes place on September 29th at The National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Overall, the three-day event is a resourceful way to uplift those across the diaspora who have sacrificed and proven their commitment to economic development, volunteering, and more.
Several leaders will receive the honor of a lifetime, including the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award and Voluntary Service Award signed by President Joe Biden. Previous recipients include Karen Bass (California Congresswoman), Dame Deborah Mae Lovell (Ambassador of Antigua & Barbuda to the U.S.), Pastor Ghandi Olaoye (Pastor of Jesus House Redeemed Christian Church in Washington, D.C.) , and Heather Foster (Director of African American Outreach at the White House Office of Public Engagement) and more.
Rich and poor alike, Dike has dedicated his life to providing resources to as many as he can reach. However, it is not always easy as he may make it seem. Especially when it comes to religious leaders, the different religions, denominations, and races may make it hard for everyone to get on the same page. “Honestly, it is not easy to get African and Caribbean communities to be united,” he said. “It has been a challenge for the African Union and the Caribbean to work together as one people and one destiny for many years. I credit Mia Mottley, the Prime Minister of Barbados who is the first leader I know of who is really making an impact in uniting these communities, and that is just happening this year.”
Ultimately, Dike’s heritage has been of tremendous value to the impact he is able to have. He has ingrained himself so deeply into the Afro-Caribbean diaspora that he has been able to go where many leaders can’t. He has even worked with Jamaican gang leaders, whose conflicts are largely the result of social stratification. “They are stratified by ethnicity, by socioeconomic status – from the poor to the rich, and those who are in a classist society,” said Dike. “I have been very good at creating harmony and bringing people together under one roof.”
Through it all, Dike frequently reflects on the HBCU that gave him the faith to reach amazing new heights. “One of my proudest moments was to earn my Doctoral Degree from Howard University, the Mecca of Black education, and to complete my dissertation on “Opportunities and Models for International Missions,” he shared. “ To accomplish my doctorate knowing that I was not raised with a mother or father, never lived with either parent my whole life, had to make my own decisions from a child, and succeeded to be a leader and a minister of the gospel is what makes me most proud. I achieved my own education and graduated without owing any student loans and moved on to do what I love!”
More information about Dr. Agorom Dike and his work can be found here.