Five Former African Ministers Share Their Stories at Yale Leadership Forum

The former ministers, ex-MP, Yale President 

Accra, March 12, 2018//-Five former female ministers from Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia and Uganda and a former Moroccan Member of Parliament (MP) have shared their journeys to leadership and personal testimonies at  Yale Leadership Forum held in Accra, Ghana.

The former Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection (Ghana), Mrs  Nana Oye Lithur said her desire to serve others especially the less privilege and vulnerable in the Ghanaian society propelled  to the top.

While, the former Minister of Education, Prof Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang (Ghana), attributed her rise to the top as public servant to her determination to succeed.

She paid a glowing tribute to her last-surviving uncle for his encouragement and commitment to see her attain higher education, although he hasn’t been to school.

Prof  Opoku-Agyemang added that learning to work with people and appreciate them also pushed her go far in the field of academia and politics.

The former Minister of Education/Minerals (Nigeria), Madam Obiageli Ezekwesili, also sharing her story at the forum’s panel discussion facilitated by Emma Sky of Yale University, said her vow not to negotiate her values saw her successful passed through at the World Bank where she served as the Vice President of the World Bank’s Africa division from 2007 to 2012 and in Nigerian politics.

She used the opportunity to appeal to the youth especially young females to be unwilling to negotiate their values.

The former Minister of Gender & Development (Liberia), Madam  Julia Duncan Cassell, who just left government in the recent Liberian election, said she succeeded because of her hard work and her passion to serve her country which was recovering from a bloody civil war at the time.

On her part, a Ugandan former Minister of Agriculture, Victoria Sekitoleko noted that her love for agric and desire to ensure food sovereignty in Uganda propelled her to the top.

A Moroccan  former Member of Parliament, Nouzha Skalli added that her sheer determination to ensure that issues affecting the lives of the North African country women and children were addressed, gingered her up to the top as well.

The forum which was attended by Yale alumni and non-alumni who have demonstrated distinction and a commitment to public service formed part of the inaugural reunion of the alumni of the Yale Forum for Strategic Impact, and the first ever trip to Africa by a Yale University President.

The Yale University in partnership with Women for Africa Foundation and Banco Santander hosted the innovative leadership forum in Accra to serve as a catalyst for brokering mentoring relationships between one generation of African leaders and the next.

It also served as a platform to develop an action plan/ framework for leveraging the power of the network for greater impact around the continent.

In his opening remarks at the forum, the President of Yale University, Peter Salovey who announced Yale’s Africa Initiative in 2013 in his inauguration address, said the Yale’s engagement with Africa should be an important dimension of Yale’s missions of research, teaching, and service.
To this end, in 2015, Yale launched the Network of African Women Leaders, which is a flagship of the Yale Africa Initiative. The inaugural participants of the Senior Women in Government Leadership Program included women ministers and members of parliament from Ghana, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, and Kenya, according to him.

He disclosed: “This May, we will welcome a new group of women leaders to Yale.  These women will join a growing network of African women who are working to advance the prospects of their nations and their continent”.
” I am so gratified to see this impressive network of peers and renowned experts grow and evolve year by year. This network has not only enhanced the knowledge and skills of senior African women leaders but it has also bolstered the pipeline for emerging leaders”, Mr Salovey added.

The President of the American private university explained: “Because when women are in leadership positions, their influence—the example they set—helps women who are in every level of businesses, organizations, or communities”.

The success of the Network of African Women Leaders and the leadership fora are due to the visionary work and the seemingly infinite energy and dedication of the Honourable Maria Teresa and her team at the Women for Africa Foundation, and the extraordinary commitment and talents of the program’s director Emma Sky and her team at Yale, Mr Salovey acknowledged.
“Their combined desire to build a network of senior African women in leadership across the continent is commendable—and it is indeed essential to promoting sound governance and economic opportunity in Africa for generations to come”.

By Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, African Eye Report




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