ALA Ideas Festival Coming Soon! March 24, 2012

Five students and an educator from the African Leadership Academy (ALA) are launching the first-ever ALA Ideas Festival, Entrepreneurial Leadership: Empowering the Youth, to inspire their peers to imagine — and then create — practical solutions to the needs of their communities. The festival will take place on March 24 starting at 9 am at the African Leadership Academy, and invites students from schools throughout Johannesburg to participate in this collective call to action.

Festival organizers Kenza Bouhaj, Abdramane Diabate, Esther Soma, Julius Kakwenzire, Tafadzwa Matika and educator Segun Olagunju were inspired to create the festival after participating in the six-day Bezos Scholars Program @ the Aspen Institute in Aspen, Colorado. As one of only 13 student/educator teams selected to be Bezos Scholars, they were sponsored with an all-expenses-paid trip to the Aspen Ideas Festival 2011. At the festival, they took part in dedicated leadership training, and had inspiring conversations with international leaders, entrepreneurs and creative artists. As Bezos Scholars, ALA students were inspired to create a Local Ideas Festival that would transform their school, and ultimately, their home communities throughout the continent. They scholars were recently awarded a $1,000 grant from the Bezos Family Foundation for their festival.

Entrepreneurial Leadership: Empowering the Youth, will comprise interactive sessions with inspiring leaders and entrepreneurs, including ALA Founder and CEO Fred Swaniker, as well as workshops to help high school students develop their ideas into sustainable projects. A special awards session will celebrate the most outstanding ideas with plaques and prizes in recognition of their excellence.

“We believe that when given the opportunity, the youth can tackle the problems that their communities face and inspire others whilst doing so,” says Bezos Scholar and ALA student, Kenza Bouhaj. “By training high school students in entrepreneurial skills for making their vision a reality, we will create a ripple effect that will transform communities.”

The Festival resonates with ALA’s vision to transform the African continent by empowering its young leaders with entrepreneurial initiative. ALA is deeply supportive of the scholars’ efforts to channel the leadership and passion of youth to address the underlying causes of complex issues facing Africa today.

To learn more about the Bezos Scholars Program @ the Aspen Ideas Festival, visit: