September 2013 heralds the beginning of a new chapter in the development of PfAL. Having begun life as a three-week intensive education program, PfAL has now grown to incorporate a demanding LSE Master’s degree as part of a transition to a full-length (12-month) scholarship program.

At the end of September, 26 participants from across Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda will arrive in London to begin what promises to be a challenging and exciting year. Students will study either the MSc Development Management or the MSc International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies (IDHE) as the core part of their program. In addition, a bespoke weekly seminar series focused on leadership issues and global debates will run concurrently across the first two terms.

Our PfAL participants will derive further benefit from being part of the London School of Economics’ (LSE) community on campus – with opportunities to attend a myriad of events, workshops and seminars; participate in challenging debates; and hear from leading global thinkers and practitioners on a range of topics.

For those 26 now preparing their luggage and making last-minute arrangements, they can reflect on one successful journey already made. When the new format PfAL launched in April 2013, it generated a huge response, with more than 160 applications received. Competition was fierce for the 15 available scholarship places provided through the generosity of Firoz and Najma Lalji. Even with an additional 11 scholarships later added through funding provided by LSE, many well-qualified applicants were ultimately disappointed.

Gaining a Lalji PfAL scholarship place clearly counts as an achievement in itself. But now the focus shifts firmly to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. At LSE, there is sure to be no shortage of either.