ALAMAU 2021: Youth Placing Themselves at the Helm of Solution Building

The eighth edition of African Leadership Academy’s Model African Union (ALAMAU) took place between the 18th and 21st March, making this the first virtual conference in ALAMAU’s history.  

Safia Aladlouni ’19

Led by 52 students, with the support of ALA faculty members, this unique edition of the flagship conference saw over 250 delegates from a number of schools across the continent and beyond convened virtually under the theme “An Africa United: Fostering Resilience Post COVID-19”. This conference, from its conceptualization to its realization, displays the power and importance of young people placing themselves at the helm of solution building.

This crucial theme facilitated gatherings that encouraged deep thought surrounding the realization of a sustainable and robust recovery of all nations in Africa, following the pandemic. Topics included answering questions such as, “How can we rethink traditional methods of teaching and learning in such a way that incorporates digital innovation?” and “What policies need to be re-evaluated to protect the economic statuses of women and youth?” ALAMAU chairperson Safia Aladlouni ‘19 from Morocco stated, “The ALAMAU experience is one which allows delegates to understand the mechanisms of international and political bodies such as the African Union, while also allowing them to unravel the complexities of diplomacy.” 

In addition to gaining broader perspectives and knowledge on international relations, delegates are offered numerous opportunities to grow and develop as individuals. As participants at ALAMAU, delegates were able to strengthen their research, public speaking, and strategic thinking skills. “Further, our ALAMAU staff will facilitate delegates’ growth by producing individualized feedback reports on each delegate’s performance in their respective committees. We are committed to ensuring that these expectations are preserved in both our formal and informal online conference programming which will be conducted using Zoom and various other platforms,” said Safia.

Michelle Hadebe ’19

Deputy chairperson Michelle Siya Hadebe ’19  from South Africa added, “We have seen COVID-19 shake African economies in a manner that little else has in recent history. For a firm and inclusive recovery, we should commit to broadening our horizons to practically – and not just theoretically – include and support women and youth, as well as the informal sector.”

Ultimately, the conference proved to be a rich experience for all involved. In closing, Michelle stated, “It is imperative that we do not merely stop at recovery, but that we build sustainable resilience. We will continue to work towards an Africa that will stand socially, economically and politically resilient in the face of adversity, with full confidence in her ability to bring restoration and prosperity to her people. An Africa united will emerge, even more powerfully than before.”