African Leadership Academy announced today that it had received a total of 1700 applications from students in 36 countries across Africa and around the world seeking admission into its inaugural class of 2008.
After a comprehensive review of each student’s first round application, 400 of these young leaders were named finalists for admission. Each of the finalists was selected according to African Leadership Academy’s five selection criteria: academic achievement, leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit, passion for Africa, and commitment to service. Some are winners of national or international math, science, debate, writing, and civics competitions. Others are young entrepreneurs who have started innovative businesses and public service organizations. Many have overcome incredible odds, including refugees who have fled conflict zones and orphans who have served as the sole breadwinner for their families.
In February, African Leadership Academy began “Finalist Weekends” to bring together finalists for admission in countries across the continent. At Finalist Weekend, these young leaders participated in a wide range of individual and group activities, took a written examination, and interviewed with ALA staff and local supporters. They also met and interacted with guest speakers who were established leaders and role models in their country. Finalist weekend guest speakers included Khanyi Dhlomo, founder of Ndalo Media in South Africa; Edwin Macharia, the youngest person to stand for Parliament in Kenya; Adja Fatou Ndiaye of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in Senegal; and Hassan Belkhayat, a corporate consultant in Morocco. Finalist weekend enabled students to learn more about African Leadership Academy while building lasting bonds with each other.
West African Democracy Radio, which broadcasts throughout West Africa, sent a reporter to Finalist Weekend in Senegal and featured African Leadership Academy on its recent “Youth Connection” program. The program includes a conversation with ALA founder Chris Bradford and interviews with finalists and guest speakers who attended Finalist weekend in Senegal. To listen to the radio station, please click here.
By the end of April, African Leadership Academy will select approximately 100 students from the 400 finalists to enter its first class in September.