Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa

July 2018

In July 2018, Lord Verjee was invited by President Obama to join his delegation of 40 global CEO’s and philanthropists for the launch of the inaugural Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa program in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The program is a year-long fellowship program designed to inspire, empower, and connect 200 emerging leaders from across Africa. Through a core set of shared values and leadership skills, the program aims to build a new generation of active African citizens and positive role models prepared to create tangible solutions to the challenges in their communities, countries, and continent.

All programmatic elements are underpinned by the belief that cultivating a network of emerging leaders will have long-term positive impact for Africa and its institutions. There is a need for collaborative, problem-solving forums for the next generation of civic innovator and the impact made will be greater if this is informed and led by Africans themselves and supported by expert partners.

As part of the delegation, which included representatives of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Alibaba & the Emerson Collective, Lord Verjee had the opportunity to meet with the 200 emerging leaders and discuss potential ways The Rumi Foundation could support some of their work.

The trip was historical not only as this was the first time the Obama Foundation have held a Leadership Forum in Africa but also as President Obama gave the Mandela Lecture on what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100th year alive inspiring the next generation to be a force for change.