Each year, college graduates bid farewell to their alma mater but at the African Leadership College, this isn’t a goodbye. It’s a welcome celebration, ushering a new class of future African leaders into a community of exceptional individuals who are dedicated to making a positive impact on society. The African Leadership College (ALC) and institutional partner, Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), celebrated the graduation of the Class of 2023 in a memorable ceremony held in Trianon, Mauritius on 28 February 2023.
Nestled amidst lush greenery and framed by a backdrop of volcanic mountains in Trianon, ALC 2023 graduands and graduates were joined by family, friends, and faculty members who celebrated their achievements with enthusiasm and pride. The ALC Graduation 2023 ceremony is the first in-person graduation since the global COVID-19 pandemic gained momentum in 2020. This was a historic moment as it gave ALC the opportunity to invite past graduates who had only taken part in virtual graduations during the pandemic, in addition to the current graduating seniors. The ceremony was graced by distinguished guests such as ALC’s Chancellor, Her Excellency Graça Machel, and Sierra Leone’s Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education and technology innovator, Hon. Dr. David Moinina Sengeh who commended the graduates for their resilience, creativity, and leadership.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Class of 2023 graduation speaker – Jean-Claude Gwaze, reflected on the class’ university experience and how their lived experience had prepared them for the world. “This speech isn’t about my lived experience but our lived experience. The inherent power of community, resilience, adaptability, and the passion for the impact which was already ingrained in all of us in the first year.” Jean-Claude said. “Let’s continue to meet one another and realise a better Africa!” he concluded. The ceremony was a testament to the hard work and dedication of the graduating class, who persevered through unprecedented challenges to reach this momentous occasion.
Dr Sengeh reminded graduands and graduates of ALC 2023 of their role in the future of Africa and the world. “Africa is a young continent. We cannot solve the challenges and future unknown ones without including young people. Across the entire spectrum of society, we must design for and with young people.” He continued, “It is of paramount importance that the solutions come from us, young state actors and non state actors as we re-imagine education and every other aspect of our society.” The air was filled with cheers, applause, and the sounds of cameras capturing the proud moment as ALC graduands and graduates walked down the stage to be capped.
“I have no doubt that we would do phenomenal things,” said Onyinyepuriche Tony-Ubah, graduand of Business Management. “As we embark on our individual journey, take one step at a time, & remember, we are orchestrated to do hard things, so make that decision, take that job, start that business venture, do hard things and dare to be different.”
ALU & ALC Chief Executive Officer, Veda Sunassee, sent the ALC 2023 class on a charge, reminding them to, “Maintain an unquenchable level of curiosity and empathy in your leadership, in your life. And whenever it feels daunting or lonely, remember, you are not alone. No matter where our graduates end up in the world, I know they will always be supported by the lifelong community of supporters they have built during their time with us.”
The graduation ceremony concluded with a reception, where graduates, faculty, and guests mingled and celebrated the accomplishments of the ALC Class of 2023. It was a fitting beginning of a new chapter in the lives of Africa’s young leaders as they became part of a network of 800+ alumni scattered across the globe, doing hard things and creating meaningful change.