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Leadership & Society

HOW ARE WE PREPARING A NEW GENERATION OF AFRICAN LEADERS?

By training women to lead across the continent.

Peaceful AfricaYoung Africans committed to peace and stability need a special skillset to encourage change across Africa. The African Leadership Centre (ALC) at King’s College London is helping them develop these skills to positively influence their work in the continent.

The ALC offers both degree and non-degree programmes and places a special emphasis on developing the leadership skills of women. More than two dozen women have graduated from the ALC’s innovative Peace and Security Fellowship programme, which is supported by a variety of philanthropic organisations. These alumnae are now working across Africa, with many in leadership positions within the business, government, education and the non-profit sectors.

One alumna of the programme, Shuvai Busuman, works at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in South Africa. She says the skills she developed at the ALC have given her a stronger voice to prevent violence.

‘The programme gives fellows the opportunity to articulate and shape their own knowledge and experience for sharing and application beyond their own context,’ says Busuman. ‘The greatest skills, knowledge and insights needed in my country and region are the ability to articulate and communicate the issues of peace, security and development, and take leadership to put these into practice.’

Many men have also graduated from ALC programmes, and they too have secured demanding jobs throughout Africa. Ebenezer Ofosu, who received a master’s degree from the ALC, is now a senior analyst in the Peace and Security Department of the African Union. He says the mentoring element of the course influenced him in ways he didn’t fully appreciate until later.

‘The mentoring programme highlighted the importance of honing skills such as public speaking and making presentations,’ says Ofosu, who works in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. ‘This has really helped me and has been very handy any time I am asked to speak or make a presentation on behalf of my organisation.’

He recalls that as part of his ALC course he developed his ability to speak forcefully, and often with limited preparation time, in front of others. This led to an invitation to speak at a Whitehall panel discussion organised by the Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies, followed by an invitation from the US Department of Defence to present a paper in Washington DC. His strong, poised presentation at these two events led directly to a job offer.

‘Even though I had previous work experience in research, consultancy and banking, my present career in peace and security all began in the ALC,’ says Ofosu. ‘The mentoring programme offered me a platform where my skills and capabilities were observed by someone in the audience who later offered me a higher opportunity that catapulted me into my current career and senior position, which would otherwise have taken many years to achieve.’

Students like Shuvai and Ebenezer who wish to make a positive difference deserve our help. Please support the ALC and other programmes at King’s to develop the skills of young leaders worldwide. 

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