2021 Leadership Symposium Celebrates Extraordinary Research by New Graduates

On the morning of the Class of 2019’s graduation, the community enjoyed an impressive program of some of the most thought-provoking and ambitious research presentations. Six graduates presented their proposed solutions to some of Africa’s, and the world’s, most critical challenges in a virtual event which was open to students, staffulty, parents and supporters of ALA.

Ahead of the afternoon celebrations, this conference focused the community’s attention on an important component of every ALA student’s academic journey: interest and passion-driven research. This year, our panelists once again shared their findings and recommendations for various challenges in the areas of Model African Union Research, Scientific Research, Humanities Research, Creativity Research and ALA Thesis. The latter is a research project completed over the course of each graduate’s journey at ALA and forms part of each student’s academic portfolio. Below are abstracts from this year’s panel.

Model African Union Research

Rawan Elshobaky ‘19 (Egypt) presented Promoting scientific research to foster medical readiness and stability. The research proposes two resolutions: Developing Africans’ scientific research skills through project based learning throughout all education stages, and encouraging health enterprises that use solutions based on scientific research through hosting national and continental competitions to celebrate their work.

Safae Soufaih ‘19 (Morocco) presented Supporting SMEs to leverage economic opportunities for women and youth. Safae’s research proposes a support program that includes: enhancing the resilience of SMEs through digital technology, integrating informal business within the formal economy, fostering entrepreneurship skills among business owners and prioritizing women-owned enterprises in support programs.

Scientific Research

Eden Bergene ‘19 (Ethiopia) presented Building life on Mars. This research examines the existing plans of building habitats (domes and upright multi-level structures) on Mars in terms of architectural efficiency and persistence of the structures to be built. Further, solutions are provided for challenges that are likely to be encountered with regards to these structures, solutions that address time and building material efficiency.

ALA Thesis

Gladys Priscilla Kirabo ‘19 (Uganda) presented What should sustainable living look like on the African continent?. The thesis argues that changes in individuals’ lifestyle practices and habits, coupled with government interventions are the most immediate actions that could be taken by Africans to address the climate crisis and support life sustainability. 

Humanities Research

Eugenia M.A.E Rogers ‘19 (Sierra Leone) presented Gender roles and upbringing: how does upbringing affect how children perceive gender roles? The research analyses the implications of growing up in a patriarchal environment and the role one’s immediate society plays. Eugenia’s project recommends a move towards children’s environments being less gendered and more humane to enable children to be more resilient in unlearning gendered expectations.

Creative Research

Safia Aladlouni Bergene ‘19 (Morocco) presented Astamae Wanzur: The sounds of the silenced, the faces of the hidden. Astamae Wanzur (Arabic for “listen and look”) is an audio-visual exhibit that explores the identities of three young African individuals, with particular attention to what may be considered their marginal identities. The project attempts to answer the question: How can art showcase marginalized identities in an empowering, collaborative, respectful, and authentic way? For Safia, it is best done by working together with the subjects of your art to present them how they would like to be portrayed and showcase their identity, which often extends beyond their marginality.