Monday, December 15, 2014 saw the launch of PfAL@LSE, an additional component of PfAL that draws in graduate scholars from sub-Saharan Africa studying taught MSc programs from across The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). The extension not only expands the current PfAL network, it also brings in diversity of subject background and nationality.
The first PfAL@LSE event had nearly 50 students in attendance and was officially launched with a welcome speech from Professor Paul Kelly, LSE Pro-Director of Teaching and Learning. Following the welcome, Dr Connson Locke from the Department of Management (LSE) led a session about Leadership Presence, during which she presented research about how effective, influential leaders are perceived based on several communication channels.
Professor Teddy Brett from the Department of International Development introduced the next session, ‘China in Africa: Engaging with the East’ and three senior academic staff from LSE as panellists: Professor Jude Howell, Professor Danny Quah and Professor Thandika Mkandawire. A lively debate took place on the development of Africa’s relations with China in aid, trade and politics.
A light lunch followed, during which students could mingle and talk to each other, the speakers, and PfAL Chairman Firoz Lalji. The sound of several conversations filled the room and continued as they seated themselves for the final session, ‘Leadership in Practice’. Patrick Ngowi, a serial entrepreneur and CEO of Tanzanian company Helvetic Solar Contractors delivered a talk on his experience and challenges of founding and running a multi-million dollar business in Africa. Mr Ngowi’s story clearly inspired the group who had plenty of challenging questions to ask during the Q&A session.
The day drew to a close with a lively performance by PfAL4 scholar Donnas Ojok (Uganda), who read and acted out his poem, ‘Because we are-the referees‘, about leadership and taking action for Africa’s future. Mr Lalji also delivered a few words on the vision and mission of PfAL: to develop Africa’s next generation of leaders who will practice ethical, effective, and authentic leadership and make a significant impact on Africa’s future and role in the world.
To celebrate the launch of PfAL@LSE, a Christmas dinner was organized for the newly expanded PfAL4 group and special guests including LSE Director Professor Craig Calhoun.
“Dr Locke’s talk was very useful in telling us what to do and what not to do as leaders. And Patrick’s talk was very inspiring,” said Ortis Yankey, MSc Urbanisation and Development, Ghana.
Following the launch, monthly events will be organized exclusively for the PfAL@LSE group, during which students will have the opportunity to hear from influential African leaders and thinkers.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know others in the School,” said Belinda Akoto, MSc Environmental Economics and Climate Change, Ghana. “it’s already been interesting learning more about what’s happening in other African countries.”