“Together for a new Africa” is an innovative leadership course for young leaders from across Africa. Over 100 participants attended from 13 different nations.
“Find your passion, whatever it may be. Become it, and let it become you and you will find great things happen FOR you, TO you and BECAUSE of you.” This famous Allan T. Armstrong quote sums up the spirit of the leadership course for over 100 young leaders from 12 nations of East Africa as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo which took place in January at the Focolare “Mariapoli Piero” centre near Nairobi. It is the first in a series of Summer Schools under the ambitious title of “Together for a new Africa”.
One of the pioneers of this course is Burundian Melchior Nsavyimana, a lecturer in political studies and currently Coordinator at the Institute for Regional Integration at the Catholic University of East Africa. He described the aim of the first course as “to explore and experience an idea of leadership which is both rooted in the values of the African continent and also able to respond to today’s challenges; leadership which acts in a ‘communitarian’ way, which builds community, using the instruments and language of universal fraternity. If this is something which will affect our future, it deserves our commitment now. And we turn to the fundamentals of the culture of unity”.
The effectiveness of this endeavor is facilitated by the close collaboration of a network of interested bodies: Sophia University Institute, The Politics for Unity Movement, the New Humanity NGO, with the cooperation of UNESCO and support from Caritas and Missio.
The idea was first born as an initiative of an international group of African students attending the Sophia University Institute, in Loppiano, Italy. Together they decided to make a joint commitment to work for a new Africa, starting from the transformation and cultural renewal of its leadership. Twenty lecturers from East Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Sophia Institute delivered the first sessions in a three-year interdisciplinary and intercultural program covering themes such as responsible citizenship, leadership, a ‘culture of fraternity’, in order to tackle head-on the difficulties facing this continent.
“The journey has just begun,” announces the program’s website [togetherforanewafrica.org]. “Africa (particularly Eastern Africa) is undergoing a very complex series of demographic, political, social and cultural changes. One of the effects of these changes is the increase of uncertainty they produce. Young people often lack the tools required to understand the changes in progress, and remain passive in the face of the conflicting demands of politicians, armed groups, multinationals etc.
Having analyzed this context, we African graduates of Sophia University Institute, understood our responsibility as African young people to define actively with fellow youth the Africa we want in future as it is proposed by African Union Agenda 2063. The contribution of our initiative is to offer African young people an integral training on responsible leadership and create a network among them for acting together for the Africa they want.”
edited by Stefania Tanesini