Sub-Saharan African Fellows Create the Humphrey African Forum
Each fall, the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program gathers the current cohort of Fellows together in Washington D.C. for the Global Leadership Forum (GLF). The GLF provides opportunities for Fellows to meet their colleagues in the Humphrey cohort, establish professional connections, and begin new friendships. In addition, Fellows learn what experts at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) foresee as challenges the world will confront in the future. Then, during small group discussions, the Fellows develop the leadership skills of long-term strategic planning and consensus-building that may help address those challenges.
Fellows had the chance to begin regional discussions within the framework of CSIS’s Seven Revolutions Initiative. This initiative outlines seven global trends that have shaped the world in the last decade and that will represent major challenges in the future. Fellows were asked to discuss which of the seven “revolutionary” areas represented the greatest potential for “peril” or “promise” in their region and what actions leaders should take to address these potential changes. In the sub-Saharan Africa regional group, Fellows were so inspired by this discussion that they continued the regional dialogue after the conclusion of the GLF. They agreed on the areas of greatest potential for peril in sub-Saharan Africa and that, as professionals and leaders, the most effective action to influence the situation in the region was to form an advocacy group called the African Humphrey Forum. The purpose of the group is to:
- Advocate on three major issues affecting Africa: education, poverty and corruption;
- Provide input into government policies and programs in the region;
- Advise governments on developmental programs and strategies;
- Organize capacity-building seminars and workshops for government functionaries;
- Contribute to long-term strategic plans and guide government performance;
- Hold governments answerable for development and implementation of viable economic; activities;
- Help build a constituency of community organizations willing to participate in governance networking.
With support from The New Partnership for Africa’s Development and a steering committee, the African Humphrey Forum intends to meet twice a year, while using electronic communication in between meetings to consider any emerging issues. According to the Humphrey African Forum, their vision is “to help shape government policies and programs in African countries through education, public advocacy, consultancy, networking and other similar professional contributions.”
Some of the members of the African Humphrey Forum at the Global Leadership Forum's Diplomatic Reception (left to right): Gwendolin Mojoko, Annick Ranirisoa, Yinka Omotosho and Iyke Chukwu.
The Forum's Communique, which outlines the group's creation and goals, is available here.