Ninety-One young leaders from the ALA Class of 2013 graduated on Friday June 19th, 2015, with former South African first lady, Mrs Graca Machel serving as keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony. Mrs Machel also officially opened the new Nelson Mandela residence, a new dormitory on our campus, this has enabled us to admit even more young leaders, and our incoming class entering in September 2015 our biggest ever.
In her keynote address, Mrs Machel charged the graduating class to distinguish themselves as leaders by the quality of their service to the continent. In her words, “Leadership is a choice. You choose the way you are going to exercise your talents and skills – it doesn’t just happen because you are in a position of power. Ask yourself, what quality of leadership do you want to set? It is okay to look back and take whatever good lessons there might be, but do not get influenced by what you see around you – corruption, maladministration, injustice. You have to be much better than the people who have invested in you.”
The graduation activities commenced with the annual Leadership Symposium at which of our graduating young leaders previewed the entrepreneurial projects which they would be launching in their communities. Wycliffe Madunda (Kenya, entering University of California Berkley) discussed his passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) which has informed his decision to launch the African STEM Institute in Kenya. Winnie Mang’eni (Kenya, entering University of Notre Dame), a recipient of the prestigious Hesburgh-Yusko Scholar has used the experiences of her friends who are young, unemployed mothers to develop an agricultural venture to empower young women in her home community called the Uwezo Project. At the Symposium, young South African political leader, Mmusi Maimane highlighted the importance of integrity in building the Africa which we all desire.
On behalf of the entire African Leadership Academy community, we express our sincere gratitude to all the donors and partners who have supported the Class of 2013. As we continue to support them in the next stage of their leadership journeys, we look forward to engaging with you further to enable the fulfilment of our mission of developing the next generation of African leaders.
To watch highlights of the 2015 graduation ceremony, please follow this link.