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Leaders Africa 2018



The Leaders Africa program brought together 200 emerging leaders from across the continent to explore new ways to take on the biggest challenges in their communities. 

The Leaders have engaged with a suite of virtual programming that includes interactive webinars facilitated by experts and inspirational figures, bi-monthly group meetings to hold each other accountable, and group discussions that explore strategies and approaches for ethical and innovative leadership. Together, these elements have helped build a self-sustaining community of leaders—one whose members lift up and learn from each other, engage in sincere self-reflection, and embrace an abiding commitment to bring positive change to the continent.

Leaders participated in the following core elements of the program:

Regional Kick-Off Convening On July 14-18, the Leaders Africa program brought together 200 emerging leaders from across the continent to explore new ways to take on the biggest challenges in their communities.

Monthly Virtual Calls These live virtual sessions were the primary form of collective engagement. These connections offered a mix of new content (conversations with experts in topical webinars, introduction to leadership frameworks/discussions, skill-building, etc.) and interactive, small-group work in breakout rooms anchored on discussions around Leaders’ action plans in accountability groups.

Service Projects During the regional kick-off convening, Leaders engaged in the Mandela Day Service Project to beautify and improve a secondary school in honor of Nelson Mandela. Work included painting, gardening, and other improvements.


Tune-in for video updates from Johannesburg right here, including a town hall with President Obama and the Leaders.

Obama Foundation Scholar and African Leader Join Forces to Create Change

After meeting at the 2018 Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago, Scholar Vanessa Paranjothy teamed up with African Leader Robert Katende to bring her project, Freedom Cups, to his SOM Chess Academy community in Uganda.

Meet the 2018 Leaders: Africa


See the latest from the Leaders: Africa program.

A group of people matching shirts and lanyards sit together rasing their fists.

Inspired by Program, 10 Leaders Team Up for a Conversation on Poverty and Inequality

Leaders Melene Rossouw and Andrew Ihsaan Gasnolar tapped into the Leaders: Africa program network and partnered with Community Chest to host a conversation on ways to address poverty and inequality in their communities in Cape Town, South Africa. They were joined by eight other Leaders: Lesley Donna Williams, Amanda Blankfield-Koseff, Taryn Lock, JP van der Westhuizen, Kudzai Kutukwa, Lusanda Gwayi, Siyabulela Jentile, and Thulile Khanyile for the three-day gathering.

A group of people squatting down in front of a blue, orange, and red sign that reads ¨Leaders Africa¨

Leader Amos Kiyingi Reflects on the Leaders: Africa Program

Amos Kiyingi, a Leader from Uganda, is committed to empowering youth in his country and beyond. Hear from Amos first-hand about his experience at the convening in South Africa earlier this summer.  Read the full story + Opens in a new tab

President Obama paints a black, yellow, and white mural with young people of various skin tones.

July 20, 2018

President Obama: “Mandela’s most important lesson”

Earlier today, President Obama sent a message to the Obama Foundation email list on Mandela Day and Madiba’s legacy, and his reflections on the inspiring young people he met at the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa convening. Read more +

A man with a deep skin tone smiles at the camera. he has a short afro, a thin-grown goatee, and is wearing a  blue suit jacket.

July 19, 2018

Leaders: Africa Wednesday Recap with Chimwemwe John Paul Manyozo

Earlier today, Chimwemwe John Paul Manyozo shared his reflection on his experience at the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa program in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Wednesday, July 18. Read more+

President Obama and the Leaders participated in a group service project to honor Nelson Mandela on the 100th anniversary of his birth and to underscore the important relationship between leadership and service. The Leaders went to the Far North Secondary School in Johannesburg and painted a mural, made benches for students, beautified the campus grounds, and cleaned windows.

A group of people of various skin tones are seen jumping and smiling together.

July 18, 2018

Leaders: Africa Tuesday Recap with Simidele Adeagbo

Earlier today, Simi Adeagbo shared her reflection on her experience at the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa program on Tuesday, July 17. Read more +

A group of children and adults of various skin tones walk holding hands across a basketball court.

July 17, 2018

Leaders: Africa Monday Recap

Check out highlights from the day at the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa gathering.

A man with a medium skin tone, short straight black hair, and beard wearing a brown scarf and white collared shirt raises his arms while looking to the left out of frame

July 16, 2018

Leaders: Africa Sunday Recap with Veda Sunassee

Earlier today, Veda Sunassee, Head of College, African Leadership University, shared his reflection on his experience at the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa program on Sunday, July 15. Read more +

Black people of various skin tones sit together in a circle on grass.

Participants enjoy a break between sessions at the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa gathering. July 15, 2018.

July 13, 2018

Passing along President Obama’s summer reading list:

Earlier today, Bernadette Meehan shared the message below with our full email list ahead of the Leaders: Africa convening in Johannesburg, South Africa July 14-18. More