By AARON GETTINGER
Two hundred participants from 44 African countries will begin the year-long Obama Foundation New Civic Leadership Programme in Africa in Johannesburg tomorrow, July 14 (six hours ahead of Hyde Park time), with five days of “plenary sessions, problem-solving workshops, leadership sessions and skill-building trainings” plus a town hall meeting with former President Barack Obama.
“The Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa Programme is our largest and most ambitious international effort to date — the launch of what will become a global network of changemakers,” said Chief International Officer Bernadette in a statement. “We want to inspire, empower, and connect this pan-African group of leaders who show so much potential to change our common future for the better.”
Program participants have backgrounds in healthcare, agriculture, media, government, education, climate change science, business and technology; the release stressed the African perspective and focus of the program. They will commemorate the centennial of Nelson Mandela’s birth with a group service project.
Obama will observe the anniversary by giving the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on July 17. Previous speakers include President Bill Clinton, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai and Irish President Mary Robinson.
After the event in Johannesburg, participants will maintain an online connection with the Obama Foundation with leadership and training resources, discussions and expert-led trainings and webinars.