20 African Leadership College students from Nigeria celebrated in Mauritius

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Twenty Nigerian African Leadership College (ALC) graduates were celebrated as part of a memorable ceremony held recently  in Pamplemousses, Mauritius. The evening before their graduation they were congratulated by His Excellency, President of Mauritius, Prithvirajsing Roopun, as part of ALC’s Asante Sana Day. The graduation ceremony was attended by H.E. Elizabeth Nyantakyi, Consul General for Ghana in Mauritius, as well as the Hon. Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, Vice Prime Minister of Mauritius and Minister of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, and renowned Kenyan entrepreneur Julie Gichuru, who both delivered inspiring speeches reflecting on the graduates’ momentous achievement.

The graduates were among a cohort of 151 students hailing from across 27 African countries who have completed a range of undergraduate and graduate programmes at ALC, from Social Sciences and Business Management to Engineering and Computing. ALC and the African Leadership University (ALU), its state-of-the-art sister campus in Kigali, Rwanda, are helping train Africa’s leaders and visionaries of tomorrow, through a mix of mission-led study and work experience. Together, ALU and ALC aim to develop three million ethical and entrepreneurial African leaders by 2035.

Nigerian ALC graduate, Whitney Chinonye Ernest, who studied Business Management, said:

“My time at ALC has been incredibly enriching, exposing me to a diverse community of individuals who share a passion for Africa’s development. Through this experience, I’ve realised the importance of building meaningful connections with like-minded individuals. The network I’ve formed here has been invaluable in shaping my aspirations and providing support towards achieving my goals.

From the thought-provoking discussions in class to the collaborative projects we’ve undertaken, every moment at ALC has been instrumental in my personal and professional growth. I particularly value the critical conversations we’ve had, which have challenged me to think differently and expand my perspective on leadership and change.”

Veda Sunassee, CEO OF ALC and ALU, said:

“We are immensely proud of the hard work and passion our graduates have shown throughout their time at the African Leadership College. I look forward to seeing how our diverse and vibrant community of graduates take what they have learned at ALC to solve the difficult challenges our world faces – whether through championing technological innovation, economic development, conservation, social equality, or pursuing further education. Whatever path they choose, I hope they will always carry the skills, self-belief, and one-of-a-kind experiences gained from their time at ALC.”

Graduation events kicked off with a careers fair to help the graduates explore the limitless possibilities available to them after graduation. This was followed by Asante Sana – literally translating to ‘thank you very much’ in Swahili – a day of gratitude in which students, parents, and ALC staff gathered for a range of activities which included a lunch with Kenyan entrepreneur Julie Gichuru, currently Chief Public Affairs and Communications Officer at the Mastercard Foundation which has partnered with ALC. The graduates also met with the President of Mauritius, Prithvirajsing Roopu, who commended their achievements as the guest of honour for the event.

As a final highlight of Asante Sana, the graduates’ families and teachers were thanked in a heart-warming ‘Unsung Hero Awards’ ceremony for providing them with the support, whether personal or academic, needed to reach the day of graduation.

The students arrived the next day at the Trianon Convention Centre in Beau Plan, Pamplemousses, for the graduation ceremony. It began with a welcome address by Veda Sunassee, Chief Executive Officer of ALC and ALU, followed by a keynote speech by Julie Gichuru. Before taking up her role at the Mastercard Foundation, Gichuru spent two decades in the media, spearheading investigative television programmes and launching top news shows. She became the first woman to be awarded the Martin Luther King Salute to Greatness following her repeated appeals for non-violent action after the 2007 elections in Kenya, and in 2019 was listed as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans by New African.

Julie Gichuru said in her speech:

“When we look at ALU and ALC, we [the Mastercard Foundation] feel that this is exactly what we had envisaged. This is the African dream, this is the African vision, this is our hope for the future. Thank you to the governments of Mauritius and Rwanda for being a home to ALC and ALU. Now, the rest of Africa needs to know this story. As you drive your leadership and impact, I want to encourage you to be disruptors – to see the things that need to change and change them.”

Following Julie Gichuru’s speech, Hon. Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, the Vice Prime Minister of Mauritius and Minister of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, took to the stage to deliver a thought-provoking address.

Hon. Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun said in her speech:

“As we celebrate the collective triumph of our graduates, we bear witness to the rich tapestry of talent and ambition that defines our continent. Their journey, woven with threads of resilience and determination, serves as a beacon of hope for the future of Africa. I am particularly impressed by the internationalisation efforts undertaken by the African Leadership College. This global outlook not only enriches the academic experience, but also equips the graduates with cross-cultural competencies necessary to thrive in today’s interconnected world.”

Afterwards, Brian Kipchumba, who studied Social Sciences at ALC, gave an inspiring speech on behalf of the 2024 class, reminding them of their responsibility to be agents of positive change. Consul General for Ghana in Mauritius, H.E. Elizabeth Nyantakyi; Pro Vice Chancellor International, Dawn Anderson of Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), ALC’s academic partner; and African Leadership Group Founder Fred Swaniker were also among the family, friends, educators, and leaders celebrating the graduates’ achievements.

The 20 Nigerian ALC graduates were: David Anuoluwgbemiga Olubayo, Whitney Chinonye Ernest, Owodunni Promise Evans-Adeluka, Janet Ofienya Ugwu, Somtochi Chinwendu Chukwuma, Omobayonle Adeyinka Adewusi, Chidera Kelechi Nnadozie, Mariam Alaba Bankole, Eunice Etim Effiong, Aabidah Adebola Adebomehin, Okechukwu Elijah Uche, Jewel Nimring Yusuf, Jeffrey Obumneme Izuorah, Ogwa Daniella Obekpa, Nnamdi Onwuka, Olajide Stanley Ajao, Umma-Hani Ayomide Olomada, Seth Atorudibo, Stephen Okechi Ndubuisi-Kanu and Tamunotonye Briggs.

Around 70% of Nigeria’s population is under the age of 30. Since its launch in 2015, ALC has played a significant role in training up this next generation of African entrepreneurs. ALU’s latest Impact Report shows that so far, more than a quarter of ALC and ALU alumni have started 140 unique ventures, created more than 44,000 jobs, and raised almost US$6 million.