During the month of March, as the COVID-19 outbreak took off in South Africa, the ALA community set out to implement remote learning for all students, enabling the continuation of the current academic year. As an educational institution, we had to ask ourselves: how can we ensure learning continues while prioritizing the health and safety of our students, staff and broader community during the COVID-19 outbreak?
African Leadership Academy alumnae, Abii-Tah Bih ‘14, from Cameroon, was elected by The 57th General Assembly of the Associated Students of Michigan State University (MSU) to be the new Undergraduate Student Body President for the 2020-21 academic year. Abii-Tah most recently served as a representative in the General Assembly, for the James Madison College, and has served as chair of the cultural exchange committee and an ASMSU representative in the University Council.
The world as we know it has changed. As communities around the world grapple with a ‘new normal’ brought about by the devastating COVID-19 outbreak, the world is uniting through the creative arts whether it be through virtual concerts in John Legend’s living room, or online museum tours, the arts are virtually bringing us together in a time of social distancing. As a result, the ALA community has found various ways to stay engaged, vibrant and connected to one another. In Tanzania, Emmanuel Mushy ’11 launched a street art campaign promoting good hygiene and alternative modes of greeting in Kigogo, a rural part of Tanzania. The art mural, titled Zingatia – which means ‘consider’, was installed in the locale with over 57,000 residents, many of whom are low income and illiterate. For people who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19, this campaign communicates clearly in a language easily understood.
Oyindamola Adefisayo ’08, currently doing her Ph.D. in Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis at The Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, speaks on the COVID-19 pandemic and how scientific research can contribute towards finding a cure. In analyzing the current pandemic, Oyindamola said, “The success of SARS-CoV-2 as a pathogen leading to a pandemic is based on the fact that it is newly emerged, highly infectious but not extremely lethal especially when compared to other viral infections such as Ebola. These characteristics have led to governments and scientists having to play catch-up as the full impact of the virus only started to become apparent after it had already established a widespread infection across the globe.”
During the month of July, Africa Careers Network hosted two successful professional development conferences, called “Barazas”, in South Africa and Uganda, welcoming participants from 18 countries in the ALA alumni network and the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program network.