Our graduation ceremony for the class of 2019 was conceptualized under the theme Aya – an Adinkra symbol that conveys endurance and resourcefulness. “An individual who wears this symbol suggests that he has endured many adversities and outlasted much difficulty.” (Willis, The Adinkra Dictionary).
Ayah (آية) is also an Arabic word which (when said of a person) can mean exemplary or miraculous. Together, these ideas capture the spirit of this most resilient class.
The celebration took place on Thursday, 17 June 2021 in a hybrid gathering of family, staffulty and guests who attended via live-steam, and the young leaders who took to the stage to receive their well-earned ALA diplomas on campus.
The graduation committee succeeded in bringing this vision to life in an exceptional way hosting congratulatory addresses by Dr Dambisa Moyo (guest speaker), Hatim Eltayeb (Dean of the Academy) and Chris Bradford (Co-Founder of the Academy).
While addressing his peers in a captivating speech, Gordon Brian Olemo ‘19 (Uganda) emphasized what strong entrepreneurial leadership looks like and the commitment to return to Africa:
“We don’t owe this institution as much as what we owe Africa. An Africa we owe not 10 years but a lifelong commitment to understanding our problems and working with our compatriots to change them. Comrades, our labours will be in vain, if after life in our high castles, we do not come back to do what we have been groomed for.”
Watch the live-recording of the graduation ceremony below.
Each year, members of the graduating class are specially honoured for their contributions to the community and recognized excellence in leadership, academics, innovation, and a commitment to Africa.
This year, a new award, sponsored by the Kenyan Chapter of the Dijen Parents Association, was introduced to the program. It is named after the late Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and social and environmental activist from Kenya, Wangari Maathai.
Kenyan graduate Peter James Kang’ara Chebe was the inaugural recipient of the Wangari Maathai Award. The accolade is presented to the student who shows sensitivity and innovation towards conservation and protection of natural resources and takes actions to strengthen sustainability measures either within and outside the Academy.
The other awards presented at graduation were received by:
Leadership Award – Patra Wanjiru Mwaniki (Kenya)
This prize is awarded to the graduating student in the graduating class whose leadership is a model and inspiration for the students, faculty, and staff in the African Leadership Academy community.
Spirit of Africa Award – Dylan Tinashe Manguwa (Zimbabwe)
This prize is awarded to the graduating student whose infectious passion for the African continent resonates across the academy community, inspiring each of us to discover and serve Africa and its people.
Sani Prize Award- Maged Ahmed Aly Hassan (Egypt)
This prize is awarded to a student whose tireless effort, innovative solutions, lofty ideals, and commitment to excellence serves to further the mission, vision, and values of the academy, in the spirit of Mr. Iliyasu Adinoyi Sani, an African pioneer and member of the inaugural ALA faculty.
Dean Christopher Khaemba Award for Academic Excellence – Safae Soufaih (Morocco)
Given to the student who took a wide and rigorous curriculum and whose academic results over two years personify the academy’s value of excellence, in the spirit of its founding Dean Christopher Khaemba.
The recently capped and gowned graduates ended the afternoon with a musical performance by ALA’s student choir, ALAPella. To view a complete photo album of this year’s graduation ceremony, click here.