The 2016 Africa Emerging Leaders Conference hosted at Strathmore University from the 8th to the 10th of November 2016 was a colourful African celebration that brought together delegates from 14 African countries. It started with delegates having the opportunity to reflect on their national pride through the singing of their respective national anthems. This also gave delegates the chance to explore how their national anthems address or fail to address each country’s concept of what human dignity entails.
With the theme Population and Environment: Sharing Youth Innovation and Best Practices, the conference aimed to be innovative and dynamic–discussing the issues with both a theoretical and practical approach. Speakers hailing from a diverse range of expertise and passions brought a unique perspective to each topic, enabling each conference delegate to reflect more effectively on how socio-economic and political dynamics impact youth innovation.
On a more practical level, delegates had the opportunity to do practical exercises that challenged them to come up with innovative business ideas that promote human dignity. While the exercise was a hypothetical simulation of how delegates can potentially assert their place as innovative entrepreneurs, delegates have taken themselves to task by creating a virtual network that allows them to collectively, critically and creatively think about how they can translate their conference ideas into reality.
For the first time in the history of the Africa Emerging Leaders Conference, sign language interpreters were part of the conference which the Africa team hopes will be a concrete step towards making future conferences more inclusive and responsive to the needs of members who have disabilities. This was reinforced by discussions on how inclusivity is essential to the promotion of human dignity. The discussion was facilitated by Senator Godliver Nanjira Omondi a nominated Kenyan Senator who, in her capacity as a policy maker, represents and articulates special needs of people living with disabilities in Kenya.
Overall, the 2016 Africa Emerging Leaders Conference was an embodiment of hope. There is hope that World Youth Alliance’s generation of African leaders will, as a matter of personal responsibility and professional authority, use Africa’s diverse heritage as a platform from which human dignity will be affirmed in all facets of African life.
Written by Lisa Sidambe, a Batch 3 intern at WYA Africa Regional Office.