African Leadership Academy hosted the 2013 ALA-Winchester International Symposium (ALAWIS) from 17 March to 22 March 2013.

ALA is a founding member of a consortium of ten leading schools in 10 nations across the world – Singapore, Japan, China, India, Pakistan, Colombia, the USA, the UK, and the Czech Republic – who bring two students, a teacher, and the headmaster together for a week of rigorous study and vigorous debate.

This year, ALA was the host institution for the Winchester International Symposium and the topic and theme selected for the Symposium was “Eradicating Poverty.”

The world has perhaps never been richer, in terms of the aggregate production of goods and services. Yet poverty — defined in a variety of ways — continues to blight large areas of the planet, resulting in shortened lives, low living standards, and lost opportunities. Although not confined to Africa, the consequences of poverty have been perhaps at their most damaging on the African continent; it is thus fitting that African Leadership Academy chose to address this topic as the focus of our fourth international Symposium.

The challenge of the ALAWIS is, after examining the various definitions and causes of poverty, to determine what practical steps can be taken at the community, national, and international level to best reduce and, where possible, eliminate poverty.

In advance of the Symposium, the student participants had worked together for four months, writing and sharing a series of essays and reports about the issue at hand. Throughout their week at ALA, the ALAWIS student participants were exposed to relevant aspects of our flagship Entrepreneurial Leadership curriculum and worked in various group settings to help them get more insight on addressing the issue at hand.

Upon arrival to South Africa, the students were welcomed by the ALA community and attended a special luncheon hosted by Isaac Shongwe, CEO of Barloworld Logistics. Fred Swaniker, the CEO and Founder of ALA,  also met with the ALAWIS participants and gave the opening address at this luncheon.

ALAWIS participants also heard from inspiring and distinguished guest speakers from within ALA and the external community. Each guest speaker gave a different perspective of addressing issues of poverty. ALAWIS distinguished guest speakers ranged from Dr. Nkosana Moyo, the Executive Chairman of the Mandela Institute of Development Studies; James Mwangi, Global Managing Partner at Dalberg; Yusuf Randera-Rees, the CEO and Founder of the Awethu Project; Thulani Madondo, the Executive Director of the Kliptown Youth Program; and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the former Deputy President of South Africa. ALA student and Anzisha Prize finalist, Laetitia Mukungu, also spoke to the ALAWIS participants about how she started a Rabbit Farming Enterprise that uplifts rural women in Kenya out of poverty.

The week ended with the students drafting an international accord stating how they intend to work together as leaders to address the issue of poverty over the course of their lifetime.

The ALA-Winchester Symposium was by far one of the highlights of this term!


Click here to see more pictures of the Symposium at ALA.

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