Global Challenges: Missions, Not Majors

Take a deep-dive into what the ALU Rwanda Global Challenges Degree Programme is all about from the perspective of students in the founding class as well as faculty members.


ALU is the first university to offer a Global Challenges Degree Programme within the continent, which is one of the reasons why there is such enthusiasm around the programme. With the inaugural class being halfway through their first year, it is a good time to get more acquainted to the “new kid on the block”.

The Global Challenges undergraduate programme is designed to give students exposure to some of the most pressing challenges facing Africa and the rest of the world, and equip them with the expertise to take on these challenges and opportunities. This programme serves as a launchpad from which students can craft their leadership journeys around their missions. A mission, in this case, is a specific challenge, opportunity or passion project that a student works on with the aim of achieving a positive impact. The programme runs for three and a half years – including the first year being the Leadership Core programme, a unique programme designed by ALU to equip students with the necessary skills required in the professional industry in the 21st Century.

The Global challenges programme is an exciting way for learners to explore their passions. It allows learners a chance to work on what matters most to them by developing missions and using intensive research and problem-solving skills to achieve their goals.” – Jerrylynn Kariuki, Global Challenges Degree Representative, AAC.

While coming up with a mission may not be such a heavy task, understanding the field of choice and what it is about can be difficult. This is where research comes in as a key element and students take a research course every semester throughout the programme,  allowing them to explore their missions by providing skills in methodology, theories, techniques, and ethics for exceptional and effective research. The research class also empowers students with information and tools that can be used to write research proposals, academic research and other publications in line with their fields of interest. They are a space for the exchange of ideas and intriguing conversations among peers. Ideas from different fields are always welcome and students get to put the skills to the test based on their areas of interest.

“I have seen the students grow into critically minded individuals who are consistently enthusiastic about solving problems and contributing to global knowledge of issues in their various mission and research themes.”  David Adepoju, Research Methods Faculty in Global Challenges.

Among its outstanding features is the fact the Global Challenges Programme is extremely self-directed. Students take control of their learning journey by not only choosing their field of study but also their learning methods. As part of the self-directed learning, the young leaders take ownership of their leadership journeys through constant reflection, accountability systems, and mentorships. This allows students to craft their experiences based on the projects they are working to maximize their efficiency. Students are also motivated to constantly practice restless excellence, one of the ALU values. The programme offers a variety of skills lab such as policy, marketing, and technological skills to assist students in executing their missions. It also offers challenge electives which are a chance to get more information on different global challenges and opportunities facing the world.

“The freedom of learning at your own pace gives you an opportunity to learn and understand your passion in depth. It has been an opportunity to grow and truly  be immersed in the learning experience.” – Adam A. Haibah, Global Challenges Student.

Currently, the Global Challenges Degree Programme has around seventy students due to graduate in 2021. It will be exciting to see how this brilliant class moves into the world to take on some of the biggest challenges and solve them. ALU aims to provide a postgraduate programme on global challenges within the next few years. The Global Challenges Programme is a vital component in advancing not only pan-African but global development as well. It is a unique programme that is invested in securing the future of the world through intentional and focused efforts.

About ALU

ALU provides higher education for a higher purpose. Our students declare missions, not majors.

They develop the real-world skills to take on the world’s most pressing challenges. And they take ownership of their learning from day one through our peer and student-led approach – because ALU believes in the power and agency of young people to start shaping the future right now.

Together with a world-class faculty and staff, our students are igniting a ripple of positive impact across Africa and the world. Join us


Bumbogo, Kigali Innovation City, Next to Azam, Kigali, Rwanda
Phone: +250 784 650 219