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MFAAA USA National Representative
Course: Director of Affairs African Student Organization (ASO)
University: Louisiana State University and A&M


Marking eight years since its formation, Les Baillie, Bob Collymore, Michael Joseph and others laid out a vision to cultivate transformational leaders who would strive for self-excellence and the betterment of the broader communities they inhabit. I look back in retrospect, reminiscing about what marathon it’s been so far, and I’m tremendously filled with a sense of pride and gratitude. Being one of the recipients of the scholarships, I had the privilege of being part of the inaugural cohort of 2016 at the academy. I vividly recall my early days of classes with limited, incomplete structural buildings. This was short-lived, though, due to the extraordinary, devoted, and skilled personnel that worked tirelessly to see the academy rise like a phoenix from the ashes to a state of Art that has since become a beacon of transformation. This can never be taken away; it was part of something special and witnessing history unfold like the Industrial Revolution in 1760 in the United Kingdom.

I had yet to experience such a holistic curriculum before. I thank the early educators for providing an environment to excel, question, lead, account, innovate, and be responsible citizens. Old is gold. To shed some light, we had something called Baraza back in the day. I have yet to encounter a system like this where issues can be aired and tackled at hand. With time, I have understood that the Baraza developed leaders that denied regressive forms of leadership, embracing visionary and progressive leaders to give an example.
Being critical, Leadership is not a title bestowed upon a selected few as the political scene might dictate. The Academy has been at the helm of ingraining each individual in and outside the classroom with mentorship, collaboration, and service opportunities. Today, we celebrate the Uongozi Centre as a transitional institution mandated to provide life skills and facilitate scholars’ transitions to tertiary institutions. Fast forward, the Academy has spearheaded technology and innovation as catalysts for transformation, from housing STEM project-based learning, computer programs, and interdisciplinary initiatives that have unlocked new products and interests like Vinywaji ChapChap and Nilink, respectively, that are set to improve social lives. This year, we will be attending our third Annual Alumni Conference. We hold the conference dear to us as it has proven to build meaningful connections, revamp old ties amongst our global scholars and network, and improve the cycle of how to better society.

In conclusion, the first cohort is on the brink of graduation. I am grateful for the relationships we have built, and we can now leverage opportunities for others. The MPESA Foundation Academy Alumni Association is our graduate testament to the transformative power of this relationship. As we celebrate the eighth anniversary, I am thrilled with our accomplishment and the bright future on the horizon. As we prepare for the real world, I would like us to reflect on Viktor Frankl’s words from his book Man’s Search for Meaning, “at such a moment, it is not the physical pain which hurts the most. It is the mental agony caused by the injustice, the unreasonableness of it all. The most painful part of the beatings is the insult they imply.” Here’s to eight years of excellence and many more to come.