We recently witnessed an extraordinary event at the African Leadership University (ALU) in Rwanda as global leaders converged for the Global Leaders Masterclass II. This immersive educational experience created a platform for students to explore subjects, enhance skills, and effectively communicate their ideas. Among the distinguished guests was Reed Hastings, co-founder and chairman of Netflix, who left an indelible mark on the ALU community.
The eventful week at the ALU Rwanda campus was filled with plenary and mentorship sessions, working lunches, and capstone project presentations. It was a truly immersive educational experience, allowing students to passionately delve into a wide range of subjects with knowledgeable guests. Alongside Reed Hastings, other notable leaders such as Laura Eberlin – Global Corporate Social Responsibility Lead for John Deere, Jason Ghassemi – Chief Communications Officer at Cerberus, Danny Wright – Co-founder of GOODProjects, and Frank Lutz – highly esteemed communication professional, joined the Global Leaders Masterclass II.
One of the most remarkable moments of the event was the intimate dinner where Reed Hastings sat down with seven ALU students. For nearly two hours, the students had the opportunity to ask him a barrage of thought-provoking questions. The discussions ranged from personal anecdotes and the future of artificial intelligence to his leadership philosophy and even the topic of password sharing for Netflix accounts. Hastings’s responses were enlightening, providing unique insights into his journey and the challenges he had overcome.
During the Global Leaders Masterclass II week, ALU students also had the chance to showcase their ventures and entrepreneurial endeavors. Among them was Coleen Bango of Bango Farms, whose dedication and vision in advancing sustainability in agriculture caught the attention of Reed Hastings. Impressed by her work, Hastings even took a trip to her hydroponics farm. This recognition from a renowned leader highlighted the transformative impact Coleen could have in her field and served as inspiration for other aspiring entrepreneurs.
In addition to the Global Leaders Masterclass II, Reed Hastings also participated in the TEDx ALU Rwanda event held at Canal Olympia in Kigali. This gathering brought together diverse speakers who shared their innovative ideas, challenging the status quo and envisioning new possibilities. Taking the stage, Hastings addressed the question, “What if we could reimagine how we told stories?” His talk was captivating, encouraging the audience to think beyond traditional storytelling methods and embrace new approaches.
Reed Hastings’s visit to ALU reflected his belief in the potential of Africa’s future leaders. “ALU’s students are a testament to Africa’s great potential: they are dynamic, ambitious, and inventive. They are an incredibly diverse, creative group from across the continent, who all share one crucial thing: a hunger to enact positive change,” said Reed Hasting. Beyond his success as the co-founder and chairman of Netflix, Hastings is an active educational philanthropist, having served on the California State Board of Education and currently being involved with several educational organizations. His academic background, including a BA from Bowdoin College and an MSCS in Artificial Intelligence from Stanford University, further fuels his passion for innovation and education.
The immersive experience and authentic connections forged during the Global Leaders Masterclass II and TEDx ALU Rwanda events were met with wholehearted appreciation. Students left the occasion equipped with invaluable insights, improved communication skills, and a deepened sense of social responsibility. It was an extraordinary occasion that empowered the upcoming generation of leaders to embrace change and make a positive impact on the world.