Our advisory board has been elected by a select group of members and community leaders. The board will oversee the activities of the organization.

Mr. Val Thompson
Houston International Trade Development Council

Mr Val Thompson is the President of Oclav International Business Consulting and also
President of Oclav Authentic African Art. His businesses are registered in Houston, Texas, as well as in Accra, Ghana, West Africa. From 1989-2008, he served as Vice President, President, Vice Chairman, Executive Director and Chairman of the International Trade Division of the Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce in Houston, Texas. Mr. Thompson spearheaded the creation HCCC’s International Trade Division in 2002 in order to encourage HCCC’s membership to participate and become involved in the global marketplace. The mission was to develop business opportunities abroad for small businesses via trade forums and trade missions with a focus on markets in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. In his international business career, Mr. Thompson has organized many international business trade missions to Africa, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago as well as several successful trade missions in recent years to the People’s Republic of China. In 1991, Mr. Thompson was honored with the prestigious HCCC Business Achievement  Award and was also the recipient of the “Outstanding Texan Award” from Texas State Representative Senfronia Thompson in 1996. In 2008, he was also honored with the “HCCC Global ambassador’s Award.” Along with serving on the Board of HCCC for 18 years, Mr. Thompson has also served on the Board of the Houston Metal Processors and Recyclers, Inc. where he was elevated to President of the organization in 1994 and later became Chairman in 1995. He also served on the Board of the Greater North Houston Management District in 2002. Mr. Thompson is also a member of the Houston World Affairs Council. In 2007, he was asked to serve on the Africa Business Forum Committee for the Greater Houston Partnership.

Mamadou S. Diallo, PhD.

Mamadou S. Diallo obtained a PhD in Geophysics from the University of Tuebingen in Germany. Dr. Diallo has worked as postdoctoral fellow at the department of physics, University of Alberta, Canada and as a research associate in industrial and applied mathematics at the University Of Potsdam, Germany. Currently Dr. Diallo is employed as a senior research specialist focusing on topics related to oil exploration.  Dr. Diallo is the author of several peer reviewed scientific publications and an active member of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG), the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE). Dr. Diallo is the current chairman and a co-founder of the Initiative for the Advancement of Education in Africa (IAEA), a Houston based 501 (3c) non-profit organizations.

Dr. Alioune Deme, Professor at the University of Houston
Dr. Alioune Deme received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Rice University.  Dr. Deme has taught for several years African History and Anthropology at the African-American Studies Department of the University of Houston and at Texas Southern University where he was also involved in international programming.  Besides his scholarly activities, Dr. Deme has been an active community leader in Houston: former President of the Senegalese Association in Houston (SAOH), former member of the board of governors for the African Community Organization (ACO), former member of the city of Houston Mayoral International Affairs Development Council /Africa Section (MIADC/Africa). Dr. Deme is currently member of the city of Houston Mayoral International Trade Development Council /Africa Section (MITDC/Africa). Dr. Deme also has provided his service to US corporations doing business in Africa: ALCOA, Murphy Oil.


Mr. Anthony Robinson, Legal Counsel Texas Senate District 13

Anthony Robinson is a graduate of Pomona College of the Claremont Colleges in California. He has honorably served in the U.S. Army as a Cavalry Officer. Anthony also holds a Masters degree in Humanities from the University of Houston, Clear Lake.
Anthony has his Doctorate in Jurisprudence and a Certificate in Immigration and International Law from the Institute for Immigration and International Law from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston.  Anthony’s legal training and experience has been expanded through his studying Comparative Legal Systems at Moscow State University in the Russian Federation. He further studied the Chinese Basic Law at Renmin (the People’s) University Law School and Chinese Intellectual Property Law at Qinghua University Law School, two of China’s most prestigious universities. Anthony later returned to China to obtained a LL.M. in Chinese Law from Qinghua University School of Law. He currently holds the position of Chief Executive Consultant and General Counsel for Beijing Robinson Consulting International, a Chinese registered affiliate of the Houston-based U.S. consulting firm, Robinson Consulting International.  Anthony serves as District Counsel for State Senator Rodney Ellis for the 13 Senate District of Texas. Anthony has an active law practice in Texas and consults with clients internationally. He currently lives in Houston.

Dr.Teta Banks, Former Honorary Consul of Liberia in Philadelphia
Dr. Teta Banks was first appointed in 1993, as Honorary Consul of Liberia in Philadelphia.  She was retained by the President of Liberia, Her Excellency Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, and the first woman to serve as head of state on the continent of Africa. Consul Banks represents the Liberian government and assists in the rebuilding of the war-torn nation, addressing human rights issues throughout African countries, and the establishment of trade, resources, and cultural relations between the U.S. and Liberia, as well as other African countries. Her major concerns involve rebuilding hospitals and schools, placement of refugees, retraining “toy” soldiers, providing conflict resolution to warring factions, and working closely with the United Nations, international governments, and community groups to address human rights issues. She is a member of the Advisory Council of the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (the first of its kind to operate throughout the Diaspora), the Liberian Scholarship Fund, as well as the international investors’ forum to assist Liberia in its re-development. Dr. Banks currently serves as the President of the United Association of Houston.

Rhonda Arnold, Director of Community Relations – Houston Airport System
Mrs. Rhonda Arnold maintains a strong community presence with the U.S. Bilateral African Chamber of Commerce, she has been very active, informed on current issues and proactively addressing the concerns of the community-at-large. In addition to hosting airport-related events, the Houston Airport System supports the numerous communities throughout the greater Houston region by sponsoring and participating in selected industry and aviation related community initiatives.