AAI Symposium on the Future of African Leadership

Given the wide gap in the number of skilled managers needed across the African continent, The Africa-America Institute (AAI) held a timely symposium on the future of African leadership onDecember 2, at the University of Pennsylvania’s Houston Hall in Philadelphia.

Hosted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and the African Studies Center, the symposium, “The Future of African Leadership – Assessing Leadership Development on the Continent “, brought together thought leaders, educators and innovators to explore the possibilities and challenges of leadership development in Africa and what works to strengthen African leadership.

Leadership development is critical for the continent’s social and economic progress. Featured speakers and panelists included: Dr. Mojúbàolú Olufúnké Okome, Founder of #BringBackOurGirlsNYC and professor of Political Science, African & Women’s Studies, Brooklyn College, CUNY; Dr. Michael Reichert, Psychologist at the Haverford School and Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Boys’ and Girls’ Lives; Dr. Teshome Alemneh, Program Officer for Africa at Higher Education for Development and co-author of “Sub-Saharan Higher Education Leadership (SAHEL)” report; Dr. Rodney Hopson,Professor in the College of Education and Human Development, George Mason University; and Dr. Sharon Ravitch, Senior Lecturer at University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and Co-Director of Penn’s Inter-American Educational Leadership Network.

Using AAI’s Transformational Leadership Program (TLP) as a case study, the half-day symposium focused on approaches to achieving collective impact through participatory methods, scaling leadership programs and building leadership capacity in Africa.

A special presentation by Amini Kajunju, AAI President and CEO, and Melissa Howell, Manager of AAI’s Transformational Leadership Program, on “The Impact of Leadership Development Programs in Africa”, highlighted key findings and recommendations from AAI’s evaluation study, The Transformational Leadership Program: An Evaluation of Impact in a Capacity Building Leadership Program for Africa’s Social Sector.

Launched in 2007 with support from The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, TLP offers non-degree professional certificate and business degree training for African managers of Africa-based NGOs and small to medium-sized enterprises. TLP university partners include the United States International University (USIU) in Nairobi, Kenya; Pan-Atlantic University (EDC) in Lagos, Nigeria; and University of Stellenbosch (USB) in Cape Town, South Africa.

This article first appeared on December 3, 2014 at www.aaionline.org.

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