The PfAL Foundation is committed to providing young African talent with a world-class education and access to global debates. We achieve this via our partner institution in the UK, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

A global institution

LSE is a specialist university with an international intake and a global reach. Its research and teaching span the full breadth of the social sciences — from economics, politics and law to sociology, anthropology, accounting and finance. Founded in 1895 by Beatrice and Sidney Webb, the School has an outstanding reputation for academic excellence. Sixteen Nobel Prize winners have been LSE staff or alumni and 34 past or present world leaders have taught or studied at LSE. The School has a cosmopolitan student body, with approximately 9,300 full-time students from 145 countries, and more than 100 languages spoken on campus.

Set up to improve society and to “understand the causes of things”, the LSE has always put engagement with the wider world at the heart of its mission. From its location in the heart of London, the School links communities across the world, from formal academic partnerships to advisory work with governments and international organizations. LSE has one of the most prestigious public events programmes in the world. Nelson Mandela, Dmitry Medvedev, Bill Clinton, Angela Merkel, Aung San Suu Kyi, David Cameron and the Dalai Lama have all spoken at the LSE.

LSE and Africa

LSE’s links with Africa go all the way back to 1899 and its desire to engage with Africa continues today. The School’s African Initiative is a long-term program designed to reinvigorate African research at LSE and to put Africa at the centre of the social sciences. This has resulted in a greater emphasis on Africa in the curriculum across LSE. The continent is very much alive on campus – with the LSE hosting a regular ‘Africa Talks’ public lecture series, an African Initiative seminar series and an ‘Africa at LSE’ blog.

LSE also offers a number of fully funded visiting fellowships for African academics to spend up to six months at the School. The African Research Fellowship seeks to engage with African higher education institutions and promote knowledge exchange. Its specific goal is to connect African faculty with their global peers to establish a foundation for research collaboration.

In July 2013, the first annual UCT/LSE ‘July School’ took place in Cape Town, an intensive two-week program for African and international students. This joint initiative between the LSE and the UCT stems from an official institutional partnership between the two universities signed in 2010 – LSE’s first in Africa.


With its history, pursuit of excellence and commitment to Africa, the LSE was and is a natural home for the PfAL program. Derived from the shared vision of the Firoz and Najma Lalji Foundation and the LSE, the inaugural PfAL session was held in London over three weeks in March 2012. A second program quickly followed in September that year before the program’s development into its current format, incorporating a Masters degree at its core and a monthly leadership series to bring together graduate students from sub-Saharan Africa studying across LSE.