The success of the pilot program in March 2012 ensured a very high level of demand for places on the September 2012 program. Inevitably only a small percentage of applicants were successful; however, the level of interest and quality of applications resulted in the cohort doubling in size from 18 in March to 36 participants in September.

The second session took place between September 3-21, 2012, and welcomed leader-participants from 17 countries: Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Once again, the group of leaders came from a cross-section of African society, with the private and public sectors represented along with civil society and the media.

A bright start

After a wet summer in London, the skies cleared as the program began on September 3rd with a trip to Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park, west of London. The warm sunshine and beautiful setting provided a relaxing atmosphere in which participants were introduced to the program and got the chance to spend some time getting to know each other and sharing leadership experiences and aspirations.

The program’s intensive schedule of lectures, debates and seminars started in earnest the following day with the group being addressed by Dr. Mo Ibrahim in the morning and H.E. Judge Sanji Monageng, vice president of the International Criminal Court, in the afternoon. Lively debates took place during both sessions, setting the scene for a stimulating few weeks.

Engaging with leading thinkers and practitioners

During the 13 program days that followed, the PfAL2 cohort had the chance to engage, question, disagree and agree with some of the world’s leading thinkers and practitioners on a wide range of topics that included:

  • Leadership in the 21st century
  • Leadership presence and style
  • Potentials and pitfalls of leadership
  • Leadership and coalition-building
  • Global economic governance
  • The role of commodities in African development
  • China, aid and FDI
  • Development dilemmas
  • The state, development and democracy
  • Demographic transition and development
  • Poverty and capabilities
  • Global youth
  • Responsibility to protect
  • In/equality – does it matter?
  • Invention and intervention in African cities
  • Africa in a global world: outstanding challenges

The speakers who led PfAL2 sessions included senior academic staff from both the London School of Economics (LSE) and other top UK universities, as well as high-profile national and international figures from several sectors.

Networking and London life

As well as getting to know their fellow leaders from across Africa, PfAL participants had the opportunity to engage and network with senior executives and leaders from all over the world during events co-hosted with the Global Masters in Management (GMiM) and the TRIUM EMBA. The final week also included a visit by the program’s donors, Firoz and Najma Lalji.

Given the intensive and challenging three-week schedule, participants made good use of their free time during the weekends to unwind and enjoy the sights and sounds of London. A social event in the second week gave everyone the chance to relax their minds, have a drink, eat some pizza and even try their hand at tenpin bowling.

A great success

The closing days of the program brought much debate and deliberation as the PfAL2 cohort progressed the work begun in March by the pilot group towards developing and adopting a Leadership Code. This challenging task required each participant to contribute their own reflections on the nature of leadership – what it means, how it should be done, what purpose it serves – and to agree on a common set of principles to work to.

The program drew to a close on Friday, September 21st, with an emotional day of speeches, gifts, gratitude and goodbyes. Professor Stuart Corbridge, LSE pro-director, personally presented certificates to the participants during a graduation ceremony that evening in the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.

Over the course of the dinner that followed the ceremony, the final formalities of PfAL2 took place. PfAL1 alumnus Lesoetsa Makafane signified the beginning of cross-cohort networking with an inspiring address, and then the program was wrapped up by participants Naisola Likimani and Andrews Addoquaye Tagoe, who each gave memorable speeches on behalf of the PfAL2 group.

Their moving words marked a suitably positive end to an incredible three weeks for everyone involved. Contact and networking between the two 2012 cohorts were under way and the completion of PfAL2 marked the end of a successful first year for PfAL.