Fred Swaniker was born in Ghana and has worked in ten countries across Africa. In that time, he became deeply concerned about the state of the African continent and its citizens because of ineffective leadership.
He envisioned a world-class academic institution in Africa where the most outstanding young students who are passionate about the continent, and eager to make an impact to their societies, can be harnessed into future change-makers.
It wasn’t until Fred met Chris Bradford at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business that they began to build the idea that would become the African Leadership Academy. They shared the idea that great leaders emerge out of strong academic institutions and challenging curriculums that mold them. Further, it is only through transforming the educational systems that the leadership landscape could evolve. Both Fred and Chris believed that their calling was to establish such an academic institution on the African continent.
Fred and Chris left their respective, high-profile jobs and spent nine months working on a pilot version of the Academy’s full-time program: a rigorous academic program built around a core of powerful courses in Entrepreneurial Leadership and African Studies.
In June 2005, Fred and Chris launched the Summer Academy in Cape Town to pilot ALA’s innovative curriculum. The program was a resounding success and bolstered the team’s credibility with donors, feeder schools, and potential students and families.