For many months now, African Leadership Academy has been working to support the creation of a new network of young African leaders – The Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa program.
It’s been quite a feat to keep a lid on it for so long! The participation of President Obama himself meant that we needed to keep the location and our hosting of the program confidential as long as possible for security reasons. With the program now complete, we’re excited to share the roots of our collaboration with an organisation who cares deeply about leadership development and Africa – just as we do.
We need to begin by thanking The Obama Foundation team for choosing to collaborate with ALA not only to host the program on our campus, but to co-create the leadership development experience for the 200 leaders that the program would select. This is a strong and important signal of trust and confidence in African Institutions. The Obama Foundation were very open and active in seeking partners as they believed that a critical success factor for their program was to design it with an team of African leadership development experts. They were equally clear on their mandate – to create a program that would Inspire, Empower and Connect active young African leaders who were already delivering change in their communities.
We put together a deeply experienced team of ALA faculty and alumni who could not only design elements of the 5-day program, but facilitate a leadership development track for adults grounded in experiential learning – the hallmark of the learning that takes place across ALA. The program structure was iterated to include experiential and developmental sessions interspersed within the incredible plenary speaking sessions in the auditorium (did you see the list of speakers!). The aim of ALA’s leadership track was to empower a powerful new network of African change makers with some practical, self-leadership and design thinking tools that they could apply to their home contexts once the program ended. We hope that all of these leaders will consider themselves part of a broader movement of leaders working together to shape Africa.
The Obama Foundation team worked for months to secure support and attendance from the what is possibly the most influential group of African leadership role models in recent memory for a single conference or program. They came because of a shared and clear understanding of how important it is to invest into and inspire the generation who can and must follow their footsteps. It was an honour to welcome to our campus Mo Ibrahim, Graca Machel, Bogolo Kenewendo, Thuli Madonsela, Kofi Annan, Lakhdar Brahimi, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Aliko Dangote, Trevor Manuel and many others.
We are very proud of this collaboration. And are grateful to The Obama Foundation for providing a platform that brought the very best of the continent’s emerging leaders and elders to our campus – increasingly seen a home-away-from-home for African leaders of all ages – where they convene, connect and collaborate on the most important issues we face in a pan-African community of safety and trust.
Want to know more about The Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa Program?