ALC Fellows making waves globally.
August 20, 2020
IN 10 years of its existence, the African Leadership Centre, a joint initiative of King’s College London and the University of Nairobi, has trained and mentored 124 Fellows, 60 per cent of whom are women, from 22 African countries on Master’s and non-degree awarding programmes.
“ALC alumni are emergent leaders in higher education, policymaking, civil society and regional organisations where they are shaping Africa’s peace, security and development discourse,” the ALC said in a 10th anniversary statement.
“While alumni of this flagship programme occupy formal spaces, many have also continued to exercise influence through various community initiatives, some of which they were involved in prior to joining the programme.”
The top five countries with the most ALC Fellows are Kenya with 22, Nigeria (20), South Africa (12), Ghana (9) and Ethiopia (9).
The Fellows have been making waves globally in various spheres.
Take, for instance, Nokukhanya Ntuli from South Africa, who was one of four women on the Fellowship on Peace and Security programme (2011/2012) in Nairobi.
She is currently a dispute resolution specialist in the Office of the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) in Washington, an independent accountability mechanism for the World Bank’s private sector arms – the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).
At the CAO she is mediating between the World Bank, IFC and MIGA, on the one hand, and communities affected by the projects funded by these institutions.
In an interview with the ALC Pan-African Radio, Ms Ntuli spoke about her experience on the Fellowship programme.
She said: “[It] was a completely different discipline from what I had studied in the past.
“At the time of doing the fellowship, I had a Master’s in law.
“So, entering into political science was a very different experience.
“I soaked up the information like a sponge.”
Ms Ntuli went on: “I loved every module and all the mentors who came to teach us.
“It was such a fascinating experience where we were taught by the best of the best in different fields.
“I got to learn so much about African history and was pushed to look at things from various perspectives.
“It was a mind-opening experience that gave me the resources and tools to better advocate for pan Africanism,” she added.
On the impact that the programme has had on her career, Ms Ntuli said: “When I entered the Fellowship, I really wanted to expand my mediation experience beyond just commercial and civil mediation.
“I specifically wanted to get involved in peace mediation.
“The Fellowship was everything I thought it would be and more.
“It exposed me to peace mediation and allowed me to work with the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia and the Liberia Peacebuilding Office.
“I believe that my experience at the ALC Fellowship also opened doors for me to join multilateral institutions: the African Union and World Bank Group,” she added.
Kafui Tsekpo from Ghana was another Fellow who found the programme rewarding, having studied for an MSc in Security, Leadership and Society at King’s College from 2013 to 2014.
He told the ALC Radio: “I am proud to have spent time in such an intellectually stimulating knowledge production hub where your thoughts are constantly being challenged and refined.
“Personally, the ALC programme has shaped the way I conceptualise the future of peace in Africa, which is at the core of my academic research.”
Mr Tsekpo is currently a PhD candidate at the University of South Africa, researching on
the future of peace in Liberia and Rwanda from a transformative social policy perspective.
For Mr Onyango, who was on the MSc programme at King’s College between 2015 and 2016, the issue of leadership was quite an awakening.
“I learnt that leaders are defined by personal traits, position, and results.
“But… one does not need to hold a position to be in leadership,” he told the ALC Radio.
“Leaders hold positions, but one can still be in leadership informally and make significant changes in peoples’ lives.”
Mr Onyango, who has been a lecturer in international relations at the US International University-Africa in Nairobi since 2005, is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Johannesburg.
In a 10th anniversary message, ’Funmi Olonisakin, Professor of Security, Leadership and Development at King’s College and Founding Director of the ALC (2010-2014), said: “In the early 2000s, it seemed only in the realm of dreams, that an initiative such as the African Leadership Centre could get off the ground let alone survive an entire generation without the backing of powerful and wealthy elite.”
Prof Olonisakin, who is also Vice-President and Vice-Principal International at King’s College London, said that “against all odds, the ALC was launched in Nairobi on 24 June 2010… and its journey continues”.
She added: “Our underpinning idea of change is a marker of the ALC’s purpose and its distinctiveness: if in the course of a generation, cohorts of African youth undergo a programme of self-transformation and commitment to certain core values; produce new forms of knowledge relevant to Africa’s security and development realities; and build a community with a distinctive leadership vision, they will transform discourses and influence decisions on Africa’s security and development.”