Obama Foundation opens ‘Convening of Rising African Leaders’ in Joburg

The Obama Foundation. Picture: Supplied

The next four days will feature plenary sessions, skill-building workshops and leadership development training, among others.

The Obama Foundation has opened its “Convening of Rising African Leaders” workshop in Johannesburg, where 200 rising leaders from 45 African countries and various sectors are participating in skill building and leadership development training.

The five day gathering, which continues until 15 July, began with a community dinner on Wednesday at which leaders shared views, perspectives, and their diversity of backgrounds.

In a statement, the foundation said former SA Finance Minister Trevor Manuel was scheduled to speak on Thursday about “Ethical Leadership in Africa”. Leaders were expected to hear about making unpopular, but principled, choices and overcoming unique obstacles to obtain positions of leadership.

Other speakers include Andrew Ishaan Gasnolar, a legal and policy specialist working on public transport and infrastructure projects in private and public in South Africa.

Saieshan Govinder, who is driving the digital job creation stream at the Youth Employment Service (YES) – a non-profit, business-led collaboration supported by the SA Presidency to create one million employment opportunities for unemployed South African youth – is also expected to make a presentation.

Lastly, Wandile Mthiyane – an architectural designer, social entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Ubuntu Design Group (UDG) – an architectural organisation that focuses on social impact design projects ranging from individual housing to urban design – will also speak during the workshops.

The foundation said the next four days will feature plenary sessions, skill-building workshops, leadership development training, and opportunities for connection across sectors and geographies.

“Through such sessions, the leaders will grapple with ethical dilemmas and work on creative, values-driven approaches to problem-solving. The leaders also will engage in a service project in Johannesburg to honour Nelson Mandela’s legacy of service as the world celebrates his 101st birthday,” said the statement.

On Sunday, 5 pm SAST: Plenary Keynote: Fred Swaniker and former US Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes will be in discussion about leadership journeys, the work of empowering and training ethical leaders, and how the next generation can tackle timely challenges.

“I am so thrilled to welcome this outstanding class of rising African Leaders for five days of connection and development,” said Bernadette Meehan, Chief International Officer of the Obama Foundation, at the opening plenary.

“This cohort represents the next generation of leaders from communities across the continent, and we are excited to lift up their work and connect them to each other to advance change across the continent.”

African News Agency (ANA)

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