We welcomed the 2021 incoming class with a vibrant, inspiring Taalu.
Taalu, an Arabic word meaning ‘come together’, is what we call our opening ceremony of the academic year at ALA, a day in which staffulty and students join in celebrating our pan-African community.
In his speech this year, Dean Hatim Eltayeb challenged our young leaders to think beyond the ordinary and voyage into tomorrow as extraordinary changemakers, as he delivered an inspiring address titled Average Doesn’t Exist.
Below is an extract from his opening address to the entering class of 2021 at Taalu, 10 September 2021:
We are not a community of averages, each one of us vying to approximate the ideal African leader. No such thing exists. We are, instead, a jagged, lumpy, multi-dimensional bouquet of diverse flourishing.
Don’t get me wrong; statistics are not a bad thing. We need statistics to predict and understand our needs; we can apply statistics to understand our own behavior (tracking our sleep or our screen time or our engagement on Perusall). Some of you will know I am particularly enamored with Kurt Hahn’s idea of training plans; where each student would set a weekly goal of physical exercises and be coached each week to outperform their own standard.
In learning, I think, this is what it boils down to. High expectations for everyone, matched with the high support we need to unlock our own unique potential. When ALA defines its traits and standards, the hope is not that we will produce perfectly similar students. Rather, we are hoping that each of you will attain and exceed the standard by being the best version of yourself that you can. When Ms. Pelumi insists that you re-draft your policy brief, she is not hoping that you will replicate her ideal, but that you will attain your own. When Dr. Seyi asks you to do the exercise again, but better, he is prodding you to reveal your unique potential and ability as a scientist; when Ms. Takondwa insists that you re-write that one sentence, she is not trying to iron out the wrinkles that make your writing unique, she is challenging you to turn the wrinkles into threads.
We set high standards and high expectations at ALA because we know your potential. There is no such thing as average; only potential – waiting to be realized.
WATCH the highlight reel produced by some of our aspiring creative arts students and share your welcoming messages for the Class of 2021 on our social media pages!
If you know a young changemaker that deserves to celebrate Taalu with us next year as part of the incoming class of 2022, submit your nominee for our Two-Year Diploma program today!
We will send them a personal invitation to apply to ALA.