Graham Maitland, former South African Ambassador to Sudan, who is also the current director of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, DIRCO – South Africa gives a keynote address at the 4th annual African Leadership Academy Model African Union which took place from 16-20 March 2016. This year’s conference boasted 136 student delegates in attendance, along with 28 educators from over ten 10 African countries.
Every year, a group of our young leaders – headed by a chairperson, with direct supervision from Director of the International Relations Council at ALA, Faith Abiodun members organise the Model African Union (ALAMAU) a simulation of the African Union, providing a platform for young leaders to explore the inner workings of the African Union, and to practice international diplomacy by assuming the roles of African leaders. The conference affords delegates the opportunity to study complex African issues, understand the interests and positions of African countries, and learn to successfully negotiate without compromising national interests with the aim to empower young leaders to model international cooperation while celebrating diversity and promoting pan-African unity.
This year’s theme was “Empowered by Innovation, United in Development”. With that, Mr Graham Maitland in his keynote address during the opening ceremony, spoke about, “The Africa we want” and emphasized the ideals of good governance, democracy, respect and having a peaceful and secure continent. He highlighted the ways this could be achieved through cooperation, coexistence, and fighting against financial crises, economic inequalities, unemployment and poor leadership. He further encouraged our young leaders to be conscious of their cultural identity and realise the importance of the shared benefits of all Africans in creating amongst its people. Inspirational words were spoken by Dean Emeritus of African Leadership Academy, Mrs Uzo Agyare-Kumi who said, “Preventing conflicts of tomorrow means changing the mind-sets of youths today”. Mr Faith Abiodun stressed the importance of realising not only the potential in Africa’s rapidly growing economy and resources, but also the utilization and maximization of these resources. These words undoubtedly ignited zeal within each of the delegates.
The 2016 edition of African Leadership Academy’s Model African Union conference saw various deliberations from different committees take place, which included Peace & Security Council, Southern African Development Community, Pan-African Parliament, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Executive Council New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Assembly of Heads of State & Government and Press Corps. After vigorous debates, long days of motions and voting, the conference concluded with the successful passage of resolutions in all committees.