Teen Leadership With African Roots
Although Global Leadership Adventures is headquartered in San Diego, California, we always say that our roots are in Africa.
This is where our founder, Fred Swaniker, grew up, and where he still resides. It is also where our first programs were launched, and where we grew from a small African summer program to a global network of 23 service-learning programs in 12 different countries.
These days, Fred is better known as the Founder and CEO of the African Leadership Academy- an incredibly competitive school of leadership based in Johannesburg, South Africa- and one that draws the best and brightest students from across the continent and prepares them to lead the next generation of African change makers!
Building a Stronger, More Sustainable Africa
Fred’s dream of helping to build a stronger, more sustainable Africa, where young leaders have the skills to serve their communities, start businesses, and create opportunities, was a bright one. He pursued his MBA at Stanford University, and when he returned to Africa he was armed with an idea and the tenacity to make it happen. In 2008, the African Leadership Academy opened its doors. Only 97 of the over 1,700 applicants were accepted in the first class, which made the program more competitive than either Stanford or Harvard. It was then that Swaniker became fully aware of the need for this type of educational opportunity in Africa.
And he hasn’t looked back since.
Helping Students Realize Their Full Potential
During this time, Swaniker partnered with Global Leadership Adventures Executive Director Andrew Motiwalla, and together they realized the full potential for students from across the globe to experience the same type of leadership that the ALA offered. Instead, however, these students would do so on their summer vacations from school, and these transformations would happen on carefully structured programs in developing countries all over the world!
The inspiring vision that Swaniker brought to the ALA has also shaped Global Leadership Adventures, for which he still serves on the Board of Directors. The mission of GLA is “To inspire the next generation to realize their potential to transform the world and their role in it.” Offering “A Life-Changing Experience,” GLA students develop leadership skills, open their eyes to new possibilities; unlock their passion and learn about their role in the world.
Inspiring Stories from Teens Volunteering Abroad
GLA students are not falling short, either. Alumni of GLA programs have gone on to contribute amazing things to the community they visited with GLA, as well as their home communities. Learn more about the amazing things GLA alumni are doing.
Gillian Gleizer says
This is an extremely inspirational article. Not only has the founder of GLA opened opportunities to teens to travel abroad and learn about the world, but he has also made a difference in his home country and in the lives of people he grew up with. It makes people realize that there is potential and future leaders wherever you go from Africa to Asia to the Americas. The GLA founder seems to have made it his goal to bring out and develop the skills of the future leaders of our world whether in a competitive school or in a worldwide travel program such as GLA.