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Obama Foundation Opens Convening of Rising African Leaders in Johannesburg

July 11, 2019 at 2:30 AM CDT

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA -- The Obama Foundation has launched its second Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa program, bringing together nearly 200 emerging civic leaders from 45 countries across the continent in Johannesburg, South Africa. The five day gathering, which continues until July 15, began with a community dinner July 10 at which Leaders shared views, perspectives, and their diversity of backgrounds.

The next four days of Leaders: Africa programming will feature plenary sessions, skill-building workshops, leadership development training, and opportunities for connection among leaders across sectors and geographies. Through such sessions, the Leaders will grapple with ethical dilemmas and work on creative, values-driven approaches to problem-solving. The Leaders also will engage in a service project in Johannesburg to honor Nelson Mandela’s legacy of service as the world celebrates his 101st birthday.

Livestreamed video of plenary sessions will be available at, and a full schedule is below. Speakers include former South Africa Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel, African Leadership Academy co-founder Fred Swaniker, and CNBC Africa anchor Nozipho Mbanjwa.

  • Thursday, 11 July, 1:30 pm SAST / 7:30 am ET: Plenary Keynote: Trevor Manuel in conversation with Nozipho Mbanjwa about making unpopular, but principled, choices and overcoming unique obstacles to lead effectively. YouTube link here (Opens in a new tab).

  • Sunday, 14 July, 5 pm SAST / 11 am ET: Plenary Keynote: Fred Swaniker and former US Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes in discussion about leadership journeys, the work of empowering and training ethical leaders, and how the next generation can tackle timely challenges. YouTube link here (Opens in a new tab).

“I am so thrilled to welcome this outstanding class of rising African Leaders for five days of connection and development,” said Bernadette Meehan, Chief International Officer of the Obama Foundation, at the opening plenary. “This cohort represents the next generation of leaders from communities across the continent, and we are excited to lift up their work and connect them to each other to advance change across the continent.”

Read more about the Leaders: Africa program and meet the 200 young leaders here. To access photos from the event, please visit our Flickr album here (Opens in a new tab).


Contact: Laura Lucas Magnuson, [email protected] (Opens in a new tab)