Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art Names Charlotte Ashamu Associate Director

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Charlotte Ashamu

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art has named Charlotte Ashamu its associate director of advancement and external affairs. Ashamu will oversee efforts to deepen and broaden engagement with a global network of partners in the philanthropic, private and public sectors. She will also manage the museum’s portfolio of private and institutional funders, communications and external relations, and special programs. Her first day was Tuesday, Feb. 19.

“Charlotte brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this position, and her professional service and track record has demonstrated a strong commitment to advancing Africa’s arts and creative industries,” said Gus Casely-Hayford, director of the museum.

“She is an excellent choice for this leadership role to expand the museum’s programs, audiences and global partnerships.”

Before joining the National Museum of African Art, Ashamu worked across Africa for two of the largest global development organizations. From 2014 to 2017, she served in the Office of the President and in the Resource Mobilization and Partnerships Department at the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) where she led the expansion of partnerships with philanthropists and private foundations around the world. From 2007 to 2014, Ashamu served as an advisory services officer at the International Finance Corp., the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, where she spearheaded new programs and partnerships to help small and medium enterprises in Africa start, finance and grow their businesses.

Ashamu spent the earlier part of her career as an international trade specialist at the Whitaker Group and Abt Associates in Washington, D.C. In 2017, she founded Dabira to support the creative industries in Africa. Dabira produces a regional trade fair that showcases emerging artists, designers and creative brands from all over the African continent.

Raised in Nigeria and the United States, Ashamu earned a bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College, a master’s degree in economic development and policy from Columbia University and a certificate from the Paris Fashion Institute. She is a recipient of the Mo Ibrahim Leadership Fellowship.