On Tuesday, December 13, 2016, U.S. Ambassador to Cameroon Michael Hoza generously hosted a reception in honor of the Congo Basin Institute’s efforts to advance science to meet the critical challenges facing Central Africa. The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) are leading a multi-institutional initiative to develop the Congo Basin Institute (CBI), which will be a model for how universities, NGOs, and private business can partner in international development and science. The reception brought together leaders from the private sector, government, civil society, and research. It featured special guest Bob Taylor of Taylor Guitars, who, along with the Spanish firm Madinter and CBI, has invested significantly in improving the sustainability of ebony harvesting in Cameroon. The partnership is a model for how CBI can bring together multi-stakeholder groups to advance development, scientific research, and capacity building in the Congo Basin.