Words from ALA’s First College Graduate — Madelle Kangha

November 29th, 2012

Madelle Kangha is from Cameroon and is the first college graduate from the African Leadership Academy. Madelle was selected to attend the Academy based on her passion for public service, her commitment to Africa, and her demonstrated leadership potential to lead change in Africa and beyond. She was one of the 96 young Africans that formed the inaugural class at ALA. She recently graduated from the London School of Economics with BA degrees in Law and Anthropology.

Since her graduation from London School of Economics, Madelle has already started making an impact on the African continent.

Madelle recently started an organization called Youths4Change that aims to engage and sensitize youths towards participatory action, to create a wind of change across the African continent and beyond. Her organization’s mission is to foster and seek innovative solutions to problems faced by the continent and to create a network of projects with a goal of ensuring sustainable development.

Since African Leadership Academy encourages our young leaders that go to universities abroad to come back to the continent after they graduate, we asked Madelle about her experience at ALA, her goals, and her plans to come back and make an impact in Africa.

ALA: How did you hear about ALA and what made you want to attend?

Madelle: I had always known I was passionate about my continent and ALA came at a point in time when I was moving into the next phase of my life. I heard about ALA from my older brother who was in London at the time. I was immediately captured by the idea of a Pan African institution which aspires to unlock the potential of vibrant, talented and ambitious youths. I knew ALA was for me and I knew choosing ALA over University College London was the right decision and indeed it paid off.

In my opinion, the African Leadership Academy is the only school in Africa that will actively recruit students from all nations on the continent. It is also the only school in Africa with such an explicit emphasis on developing leaders and entrepreneurs. The Academy offers unsurpassed expertise in university and career placement, and it will uniquely admit highly talented students without regard to their economic status.

ALA: What did you study at LSE?

Madelle: I studied a combined degree in Law and Anthropology. The BA Law and Anthropology course at LSE involves studying all the modules of the typical LLB degree in addition to Anthropology courses. I was particularly attracted to the course because it combines the traditional law curriculum with a study of various cultural, social, economic and political contexts in which lawyers have to operate. I believe this is an asset especially important in today’s globalised and interconnected world.

ALA: Did you get any support or guidance from ALA during your time at LSE?

Madelle: Yes indeed. ALA kept kept in touch regularly, finding out what I was up to and informing me of any opportunities that came up.

I also met up with Chris Bradford, Dean and Founder of ALA, on his occasional visits to London. I had email discussions with Acha Leke, ALA Co-founder and Board Member, and Chemeli Kipkorir, Associate Director of University Guidance at ALA, on a range of issues. I also represented ALA at conferences in London and most notably attended several ALA events organized by the ALA London Chapter.

ALA: How connected do you feel to ALA as a graduate? 

Madelle: I feel very connected to ALA as an alumnus; even more connected than when I was at ALA. Upon leaving ALA, a nostalgic feeling came over me; one which reminds me everyday why ALA chose me and why to an extent I chose ALA.

I feel a deep attachment and affection to ALA and I am and will always be a proud ALAian. I am especially proud and honored to have been part of the inaugural class. I always remember the many lessons and wise sayings learnt from peers, teachers and guest speakers who came to ALA and it keeps me inspired, motivated and optimistic.

ALA: What are your plans now that you have graduated from LSE?

Madelle: I plan to travel for a while, expanding my horizons, meeting and interacting with people from every corner of our planet, whilst attending conferences/seminars that enhance my awareness on international affairs.

I just also officially launched my community-based organization called Youths4Change! Thus, I will spend the coming months getting the engine of my organization warmed up and ready for the drive to a new Africa.

ALA: Do you plan on coming back to work in Africa?

Madelle: Most certainly. I am even more confident of returning to the continent to make an impact. I am excited at the prospects and I firmly believe Africa is “the next big thing.”

ALA: Do you still plan on making change in Africa? If so, how do your current goals lie with your plans of making change on the Continent?

Madelle: I am and will always be a change agent…and in my own words, “a legend of positive change”.  I have become fascinated with the concept of social entrepreneurship and I believe that is one of the many ways I will have an impact on the continent. My vision is to be a leading social entrepreneur, a mass recruiter of local change makers; a role model proving that citizens who channel their passion into action can do almost anything.

My career aspiration is to work with corporations, governments, international agencies, and charities on finance and investment in Africa and the world at large. I also aspire to utilize the entrepreneurial skills I obtained at ALA to conduct and ensure responsible business practices, which I believe is increasingly important, especially in the wake of climate change.



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