The ALI Media Fellowship programme is a true eye-opener
ALI Media Fellowship: A flight to a new life experience
By Akeem Mustapha, political scientist and Advert Manager at the Nigerian Daily Trust in Abuja.
Original article published in the Sunday Trust on 22 November 2015
Earlier this year I have been chosen to participate in the pan-African Media Fellowship Programme by the African Leadership Initiative (ALI). The programme aims to equip fellows with international media skills, and to expose us to creative leadership ideas, methods and information to ensure an African media sector that is on the forefront of shaping Africa’s economic future. Journalists, media managers and a diverse group of other financial leaders residing in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya are eligible to be nominated as a fellow. One fellowship class constitutes of 24 fellows. Fellows follow the programme for one year. I’m in class one that convened for the first time at its opening seminar between 8 and 14 June in Cape Town, South Africa. The theme was: Media and Development: Africa’s 21st Century Challenges. The second seminar was held in Naivasha in Kenya from 8 to 13 October. We discussed: Defining Africa’s Future: What is the Role of Media? The third seminar to be hosted by Nigeria in May next year will focus on: Leading in Changing Africa.
The programme’s methods are unique and provide financial journalists in particular with the necessary skills to fine-comb economic reports and statements for the real news and implications between the lines. It is the task of the financial reporter to guide the government and public to make the right choices. The strategies employed by the ALI programme enhance the quality of each fellow’s leadership skills and human relations. ALI Media Fellowship believes that we, as financial journalists, are tasked to become active in society and play a positive role to shape our communities’ and country’s opinion and financial habits. Fellows learn about the methods employed by some of the world’s greatest leaders and thinkers like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Junior, Lee Kuan Yew and Ken Saro-Wiwa, among others, to steer their people towards positive change. The basic lesson I learnt was that greatness can only be achieved when you place your country and community well above your own selfish interests. During the course of Seminar 2 it also became clear that the media has a role to help forge unity and peace in African countries torn apart by ideological divisions. The media should at all times be consistent in our reports to uncover ethnic and economic divisions that can lead to major financial and political crises.
The ALI fellowship programme also challenged my leadership style. I’ve now come to believe that every member of one’s team can give valuable input and it is our duty to lead by giving our team members space to take initiative and come up with creative solutions for common problems. Being a fellow has encouraged me to make positive contributions to my community and foster all personal and professional relationships.
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