Founder & CEO of the African Leadership Group
“Education Leadership through Crisis” is a multi-week video series featuring wisdom from a diverse group of education leaders.
Below, watch highlights from host Mubuso Zamchiya’s interview with Fred Swaniker on how we can use the unique opportunity the COVID-19 crisis poses to rethink education, the importance of leadership, and how to create sustainable organizations.
Scroll down to watch the full interview.
“Behind every crisis is an opportunity. My greatest wish for all who are involved in education today is that they don’t simply go back to the status quo.”
Meet Fred Swaniker
Fred Swaniker is on a mission to bring better leadership to Africa and the world. He is the founder and CEO of the African Leadership Group – an ecosystem of organizations that are catalyzing a new era of ethical, entrepreneurial African leaders. Over the past 15 years, he has founded and led the pre-university African Leadership Academy, the African Leadership University, the African Leadership Network and ALX — a next-generation leadership development and talent sourcing platform. Collectively, these endeavors aim to transform Africa by developing 3 million African leaders by 2035. He is also the founder of The Room, a talent agency for the world’s ambitious doers.
Fred previously worked as a McKinsey consultant before earning an MBA from Stanford and becoming an entrepreneur. He is an Echoing Green Fellow; Aspen Institute Fellow; and most recently, was recognized as one of TIME Magazine’s most influential people of 2019. He holds honorary doctorate degrees from Macalester College, Middlebury College and Nelson Mandela University.
View the Full Interview
1. (1:32) How did you get into education?
2. (6:02) What is it about your sense of commitment to others that has driven your creation of education institutions?
3. (9:30) When you started the African Leadership Academy (ALA), what made you decide to start at the grade levels that you did?
4. (13:40) What is your conception of leadership?
5. (18:39) As a leader, how do you build a team that can grow with you?
6. (26:20) Are your Institution Sustainability Guidelines/Legacy Principles transferable to different spaces such as the government context (i.e., for Ministers of Education)? What challenges do you think there might be in the government context in particular?
7. (30:30) Is there an underlying leadership crisis to the education crisis?
8. (34:42) Given the current COVID-19 crisis, what would be your advice to education leaders right now that are looking to the challenges associated with getting kids back to school?
9. (38:48) What drives you to look around the corner? What do you see around the corner for Africa, for leadership, for education, for institution building, etc.? What does the future look like?
10. (47:35) What books inspired you as a young reader?
11. (48:53) Any parting advice?
“Addressing Africa’s educational challenge requires an unconventional solution. Let’s not continue with the status quo. Let’s use this opportunity with the COVID crisis to actually reimagine everything.”
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