The Academy

How We Develop the Next Generation of African Leaders

African Leadership Academy offers a two-year residential program for teenagers: the ALA Diploma Program.

This tight-knit, pan-African community empowers each student with the skills and mindsets required for transformative leadership. Our curriculum goes well beyond academic theory, fostering critical inquiry, entrepreneurial leadership, and cross-cultural competence. We develop well-rounded young people who are equipped to navigate and excel in an increasingly complex world.

Since we opened our doors in September 2008, more than 1,500 young leaders from 46 African countries have studied at ALA. Representing a wide variety of backgrounds, these young leaders embody the promise of the continent and have demonstrated incredible potential, a strong belief in the continent’s future, and a keen awareness of their role in shaping that future.

ALA’s young leaders are trailblazers, innovators, changemakers, enthusiasts, creators, and authors of their own future.


ALA acceptance rate


of ALA students receive financial aid


Average class Size


Number of AS and A level classes available at ALA


female to 49% male Gender split


of our alumni are enrolled in university within 18 months of graduation


Universities where ALA alumni have studied across 56 countries


ALA alumni secure full-time employment within 12 months of graduation


ALA employs the tools of critical inquiry, design thinking, and experiential learning to develop a generation of entrepreneurial leaders for Africa and the world.

The academic program at ALA combines an international faculty and unique instructional methods to create a strong student-centered learning experience. Our core courses of Entrepreneurial Leadership, African Studies, and Writing & Rhetoric empower young leaders with the knowledge and skills required for complex problem-solving; in addition, students may select from a set of externally or internally designed courses in the Humanities, Sciences, Languages, and Creative Arts. Externally designed programs include a variety of Cambridge Advanced International Examination (CAIE) AS and A-Level courses. Our teachers are trained to deliver exceptional lessons in the classroom or remotely.

Student & Residential Life

Living and learning in a diverse pan-African community

With our residential program at its core, ALA believes in the importance of igniting and sustaining long-term pan-African relationships. During their time at ALA, students are supported to explore various passions and areas of interest through the various clubs and societies that exist on campus. Inside and outside the classroom to develop as leaders. ALA creates a home away from home, a safe environment for our students in our residence. Outside of the classroom, ALA students guide the co-curricular activities and are encouraged to create new clubs, sports, and leadership groups that fit the needs of the student body and creates an environment for self-discovery.

University Guidance

Connecting ALA students to opportunities and resources that will enable access to opportunities and further growth

The Academy is dedicated and committed to the long-term success of its students. ALA’s team of experienced university guidance counselors works with its young leaders to help them prepare for and navigate the entire university application process and other post-ALA pathways; including identifying schools that fit career goals and interests, preparation for entrance exams and interviews, and identifying and securing scholarships and financial aid. ALA’s University Guidance team helps students to identify colleges & universities that play a role in their continued leadership journey.

ALA’s 7 Traits

ALA has defined seven traits that we aspire to develop in each of our graduates: the characteristics that will underpin a lifetime of success and impact, regardless of subject choice or career aspiration. These seven traits form the bedrock of our learning philosophy at the Academy and students, staff, and faculty understand that they are challenged to become Africanist, Autodidactic, Collaborative, Communicative, Critical Thinking, Entrepreneurial, and Ethical leaders.










Critical Thinking





In their second year at ALA, students can choose from one of seven African Studies electives that help them deepen and broaden their knowledge of the African continent. One such course, designed and taught by Pelumi Botti, is Urban Africa, where students examine key issues facing Africa’s urban spaces. Students learn to assess trends and patterns of urbanization, analyze historical, political, social, and economic factors that determine urban life on the continent, and develop policy briefs on issues facing African cities.

Students take research classes in their second year, diving deep into a topic of their choosing. Research projects are presented at our annual symposium known as Zaha. Zaha, a Malagasy word meaning ‘to explore’, an academic conference of independent student research. By allowing students the freedom to take their research in the direction of their choosing, the course inspires student passion for self-exploration, particularly within the African context. Michael-Sean Lotanna Ossai ‘20 (Nigeria) presented his scientific research project on the application of indigenous African herbs in modern-day medicine.

We hope all students are able to work strategically with and through others for shared benefit and transformative outcomes. Lele Aliga ‘21 (Uganda) sees her role as a leader in the residence halls as helping her to be a better collaborator in serving her peers. Lele wanted to ensure that new students in her hall felt the same warmth and kindness that she did when she started at ALA. Lele works to establish traditions and platforms to appreciate all of her hallmates and to embrace the diversity in thoughts, backgrounds, and experiences that the different residents of Les Femmes Gaga bring to the community.

Three times a year, the Academy community participates in a school-wide reading, writing, and discussion exercise known as Seminal Readings. Over the course of one week, all regular classes pause, and groups focus entirely on reading and discussing seminal texts. This exercise provides an opportunity for the Academy to engage with issues of enduring complexity and importance. Faculty members facilitate the discussions, allowing students to debate, critically analyze, and reflect on central themes in our shared leadership mission. Each term, the Seminal Readings program deals with a specific theme, including Resistance and Oppression, The Good Society, and People & Decisions.

In their first term of Year 1, all students take Omang, an interdisciplinary course that combines the major skills of two of ALA’s signature courses: African Studies and Writing & Rhetoric. Omang, which means identity in Setswana, prepares each student to think critically about the ways in which identity is constructed on the African continent. The course introduces students to the crucial skills of close reading, analytical writing, and constructive debate. Together, students examine prevailing constructions of African identity and question the identities they have inherited and the shared sense of ownership they hope to create.

Ethical leaders are steadfast in their values and beliefs, even in challenging situations. The Honor Council is a peer accountability body that ensures that students are living and breathing ALA’s value of integrity. Nyakwezi Rumanyika ‘21 (Uganda) is the Chairperson of the 2022/2023 Honor Council. Nyakwezi joined the Honor Council because she believes in the importance of building a strong and peaceful community that is bound by accountability. Nyakwezi and her peers on the Honour Council promote the ALA values of Integrity, Excellence and Compassion.

All Year 2 students participate in the Student Enterprise Program, where they join or start campus business ventures that serve community needs. Tafara Godo, ‘21 (Zimbabwe) is the Chief Executive Officer of the African Leadership Consulting Group. ALCG aims to accelerate the growth of small to medium-sized enterprises on campus and across the African continent by providing top-notch business consulting services. ALCG consults for all clubs and societies at ALA, helping them to achieve greater impact and work through complex business challenges.

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