In a dazzling display of academic excellence and unwavering determination, the African Leadership University (ALU) in Rwanda celebrated its 2023 graduation ceremony, honoring 217 graduates hailing from 23 African countries, including 122 accomplished Rwandans. This one of a kind event, held at the Kigali Convention Centre in Kigali, Rwanda, marked the culmination of years of hard work, perseverance, and relentless pursuit of excellence.
A Housewarming Party of Opportunities
Setting the tone for the event; Veda Sunassee, CEO of African Leadership University (Rwanda) and African Leadership College (Mauritius), commenced with a warm and apt metaphor. “Today, we gather not just to celebrate your achievements, but to welcome you to a housewarming party of opportunities,” he proclaimed. Like diligent hosts, he thanked the ‘landlord,’ the government of Rwanda, for nurturing this academic home. He beautifully wove together the essence of the ALU experience using another metaphor, that of a bakery – a place of community, learning, and resilience. “Come to this Bakery,” he urged, “to find a truly pan-African community, to shape your identity and purpose, and to learn true resilience.” Drawing from the current challenges in the world, he welcomed the graduates into the ‘Do Hard Things Club,’ emphasizing the power of doing the difficult, the bold, and the necessary. “You are no stranger to the ‘do hard things’ motto… in the do hard things club, we see opportunities where others see challenges,” he reminded ALU Rwanda’s class of 2023.
Purpose, Power, and Perseverance
Pioneer in reproductive health and gender equality, Dr. Senait Fisseha, took the stage to share her remarkable journey and impart wisdom. “Purpose guides you, power drives you, and perseverance keeps you moving forward,” she declared. She shared her personal journey from Ethiopia to the United States, highlighting her mission to provide healthcare for vulnerable women globally. As she discussed seizing power and advocating for change, her passion ignited a fire in the hearts of the graduates. “Refuse to accept the status quo,” she urged, reminding graduates that they hold the power to shape a just and equitable world. Her words were a call to action, a rally cry for the young leaders to wield their influence for positive transformation.
From Refugee to Changemaker
Usman L Kromah, representing his fellow graduates, shared a story of triumph over adversity. As a refugee turned graduate, he personified resilience and determination. He recounted the challenges and joys of the ALU journey, from nerve-racking project presentations to the bonds formed with peers. His narrative showcased the collective spirit of the class, demonstrating the power of unity in overcoming obstacles. His message was clear: Armed with their ALU experience, these graduates are ready to tackle the world’s challenges head-on and be agents of change. “As we step into the world, let us continue to work on those amazing ideas… It is with these amazing ideas that we are going to take on the world and be amazing changemakers that we already are,” Usman concluded.
The ceremony reached its zenith as Dr. Senait Fisseha was awarded the prestigious Award of Merit in Entrepreneurial Leadership for her remarkable contributions to global health and her tireless efforts in promoting reproductive rights and gender equality. Fred Swaniker, the visionary founder of ALU, presented the award to Dr. Senait Fisseha, praising her tireless dedication to improving reproductive health and gender equality globally, emphasizing her pivotal role during the COVID-19 pandemic. The award celebrated her remarkable accomplishments and her commitment to changing the world.
Empowering Africa’s Future
The guest of honor, Hon. Dr. Valentine Uwamariya, Minister of Education of Rwanda, underscored the critical role education plays in shaping Africa’s future. She hailed ALU’s collaboration with Rwanda’s Ministry of Education as a transformative partnership that empowers the continent’s youth. Hon. Dr. Uwamariya emphasized the significance of education in nurturing leaders who will steer Africa toward prosperity. “Your graduation today is a testament to your hard work, determination, and relentless pursuit of excellence… I have no doubt that you will become agents of positive change and ambassadors of hope for Africa,” Hon. Dr Uwamariya praised the graduates. She further recognized ALU’s dedication to fostering innovation, critical thinking, and cross-cultural collaboration, affirming its pivotal role in the region’s socio-economic advancement.
A Bright Future Beckons
This year’s graduation was a poignant reminder of ALU’s unwavering dedication to nurturing leaders who are not only academically accomplished but also deeply committed to making a lasting impact on their communities and the continent at large. The graduates of 2023 are poised to take on the world, armed with knowledge, resilience, and an unyielding determination to create positive change in Africa and beyond.
As these exceptional graduates step into the world beyond ALU, they carry with them a resounding message: that dreams, no matter how audacious, can indeed become reality with purpose, perseverance, and a commitment to the greater good.
Congratulations to the Class of 2023 – may your journey be as extraordinary as your achievements today!