Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®

International Region

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated®

International Region

The History of the Ingenious International Region

Before the establishment of the International Region, members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®, could be found living around the world.  Such was the case in 1954.  Mrs. Anne E. Cooper was a 1917 initiate of Alpha Chapter at Howard University in Washington, D.C. where the sorority was founded.  

By the 1950’s Mrs. Cooper was an esteemed science educator, and was the first woman to be named a dean at the University of Liberia.  She also led a group of sorority members to petition the sorority during its 1954 national convention to charter a chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha in Monrovia, Liberia.  In 1958, Eta Beta Omega Chapter was chartered by the Sorority’s 14th International President, Ms. Arnetta G. McKamey Wallace as the first chapter outside of the United States.  Mrs. Cooper became the chapter president.  

Alpha Kappa Alpha celebrated her 50th Anniversary in 1958 and elected Dr. Marjorie Holloman Parker as the 15th International President. Sorority members participating in the Golden Jubilee post-Boule tour accompanied Dr. Parker to Europe and Africa.  While in Africa, members visited with the Eta Beta Omega members before traveling on to Ghana and Nigeria. Over the years, Eta Beta Omega has had many notable members including former Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf who is the first woman elected Chief of State on the African continent and a Nobel Peace Prize winner.  Angie Brooks was the first African woman to lead the United Nations General Assembly.  

However, it would be five years before another sorority chapter was chartered outside of the U.S.  It was 1963 when Eta Psi Omega Chapter was chartered in Nassau, Bahamas.  Dr. Julia Brogdon Purnell was the 16th International President who ushered in our Bahamian sisters.  

In 1978, Mu Gamma Omega in St. Croix, U. S. Virgin Islands became the third international chapter in the sorority under 19th International President Dr. Bernice I. Sumlin.  One year later in 1979, the sorority’s 20th International President Dr. Barbara K. Phillips expanded the reach of the sisterhood to Germany with the establishment of Mu Psi Omega Chapter.  

Meanwhile in Liberia, instability developed in 1980 and spanned several years.  It included two civil wars and, many residents including sorority members and their families had to flee the country. Some sought exile in the U.S.  During that time Eta Beta Omega Chapter became inactive.  Fortunately, the chapter reactivated in 2007.  

The sorority’s 22nd International President Janet Jones Ballard literally placed the prospect of further global expansion of the sorority on the map.  She adopted the national program theme, “Service with a Global Perspective.”  During that time, the sorority saw its most aggressive years of international growth and outreach.  Pi Upsilon Omega Chapter was chartered in Freeport, Grand Bahama in 1987.  The following year in 1988, Rho Nu Omega Chapter in South Korea was chartered.  The next chapter to be chartered was Sigma Theta Omega in St. Thomas/St. John in the U. S. Virgin Islands in 1990.  Also chartered in 1990 under President Ballard was Sigma Xi Omega Chapter in Bermuda.

President Ballard’s focus on the sorority’s international footprint included hosting the sorority’s Leadership Conference outside of the U.S. twice during her term, in 1987 and 1989.  She also created the framework to officially create the International Region during the sorority’s national conference in 1990.  The move included identifying the sorority as an international organization and the sorority’s leaders as international office holders.

With the International Region becoming the sorority’s tenth region, Dr. Mary Shy Scott, the 23rd International President named Dr. Bella G. Parker as the First International Regional Director.  Dr. Parker had previously served the sorority as the 19th Great Lakes Regional Director.

The International Region held its first Regional Conference in Freeport, Bahamas. In 1996, under the administration of 24th International President, Dr. Eva L. Evans, Dr. Phyllis E. Robinson was appointed as the Second International Regional Director.  Dr. Robinson previously served the sorority as the 22nd Great Lakes Regional Director.  Under her leadership with Dr. Evans, she chartered the sorority’s first two undergraduate chapters in the International Region.  They were in United States Virgin Islands. Rho Xi in St. Croix and Rho Omicron in St. Thomas ushered in Alpha Kappa Alpha as the first Greek letter organizations chartered on the University of the Virgin Islands campuses.

Under the leadership of 25th International President Norma Solomon White, Wilma Holmes Tootle was appointed the Third International Regional Director.  She previously served as the 28th North Atlantic Regional Director.  Dr. White led Alpha Kappa Alpha into a partnership with Dr. Leon Sullivan’s International Foundation for Education and Self-Help (IFESH) which was designed to help reduce poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. The sorority built ten schools in post-apartheid South Africa and Dr. White led a post-Boule tour to South Africa in 2000. Another small delegation to dedicate the schools in May of 2002. 

Also during this time, Regional Director Tootle oversaw the chartering of Alpha Kappa Alpha’s second Asian chapter, Phi Omicron Omega in Okinawa, Japan in 2000.  The region established and held Cluster Conferences in the Bahamas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Europe and Asia during Regional Director Tootle’s leadership.

26th International President Linda Marie White appointed Mrs. Nadine Bonds as the Fourth International Regional Director. Previously, she served as the 25th Central Regional Director.  In 2006, Regional Director Bonds chartered Psi Beta Omega in Tokyo, Japan, thus bringing to three the number of Asian chapters in the sorority.  Tau Sigma Omega Chapter in London, England was also dissolved in 2006 during the sorority’s international convention in Detroit, Michigan.

Dr. Gloria Harper Dickenson became the Fifth International Regional Director.  She previously served as the sorority’s International Secretary under the administration of 26th International President White.  The sorority and the region expanded again with the chartering of Psi Delta Omega Chapter in Ontario, Canada in 2007.  And, the International Region celebrated its Golden Jubilee on July 11, 2008 at its International Regional Conference in Washington, D. C. preceding the sorority’s centennial international convention.  

Sadly, Regional Director Dickenson became ill and passed away in 2009.  Dr. Norma Jean Tucker was appointed the Sixth International Regional Director in 2008.  She previously served as the 16th Far Western Regional Director.

The sorority’s 28th International President Carolyn House Stewart appointed Evelyn Sample-Oates as the Seventh International Regional Director.  She previously served as the 31st North Atlantic Regional Director.  The International Region continued to expand with the addition of the region’s third undergraduate chapter.  Tau Nu Chapter, was chartered at the University of the Bahamas (formerly College of the Bahamas) Nassau campus in 2012.  The following year, our presence on the continent of Africa grew when Psi Tau Omega Chapter was chartered in South Africa, serving Johannesburg, Pretoria, Soweto and Cape Town.  The charter group’s service project with Stop Hunger Now in 2014, led to an historic international initiative of packaging more than 285,000 meals at the 66th International Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina 

Also at the same convention in Charlotte, the International Region experienced one of its most significant historical moments with the installation of Gizette L. Canageta Thomas as the Eighth International Regional Director.  29th International President Dr. Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson made the appointment. Regional Director Canageta Thomas became the first region member to become International Regional Director.  

The region continued to grow when Regional Director Canegata Thomas chartered the first chapter in the United Arab Emirates.  Omega Theta Omega Chapter was chartered in Dubai in 2016.  The region also saw the addition of a second Canadian chapter.  Alpha Alpha Delta Omega became the first four-letter chapter in the region when it was chartered in 2018 in Toronto.

The sorority’s 30th International President Dr. Glenda Glover appointed Joy Elaine Daley as the Ninth International Regional Director.  A native of Jamaica, Regional Director Daley previously served as the 30th North Atlantic Regional Director.  She served during one of the most difficult times in world history—the Covid 19 pandemic.  Regional Director Daley oversaw the sorority’s Pandemic Task Force.  She also created two clusters within the region, the Atlantic and Pacific Clusters.  In addition, Regional Director Daley continued the expansion of the region in Africa with the chartering of Alpha Alpha Omega Omega in Lagos, Nigeria in 2021.

Carrie J. Clark is the Tenth International Regional Director.  She was installed during the sorority’s 70th international convention in Orlando, Florida in 2022 following the appointment of International President Danette Anthony Reed.  Previously, Regional Director Clark served as the 29th Great Lakes Regional Director.  She is focused on elevating the region and engaging members in a post-pandemic period.  She hosts regular leadership meetings, regional chats and visits with chapters to support their growth and service.  

In 2023, she oversaw the 32nd International Regional Conference in Chicago, Illinois with Sigma Theta Omega and Rho Omicron Chapters in St. Thomas as the host chapters.  Regional Director Clark initiated several firsts for the region. The region’s Global Spotlight forum discussed and highlighted efforts to address areas of need for women and children across the world.  An expansion of award categories allowed more members to be recognized for their contributions to the sorority.  Also, it was very special to have all of the living former International Presidents in attendance at the conference.