The 2023 cohort of participants in the Leadership Forum for Strategic Impact, a key program of the Yale Africa Initiative, met on campus June 26-27 to advance the cause of women leaders on the continent of Africa. The program aims to both enhance the knowledge and skills of senior African women leaders who already have attained important positions within their nations’ governments, and to grow a network across Africa to further amplify women’s effectiveness and influence.
This year’s participants were twelve women leaders from eleven African countries — Burkina Faso, Cameroon, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, The Gambia, Ghana, The Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone — and included two former Ministers and a senior official from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The Forum was launched in 2015 with support from Fundación Mujeres por África (Women for African Foundation) and Banco Santander, and is sponsored by Yale’s Office of International Affairs. Each cohort of the program brings together highly influential, public service-minded women from African countries on a spring visit to Yale for wide-ranging discussions on governance, leadership, and equitable economic development. This year’s program marked the return to in-person gatherings after virtual convenings due to the pandemic. Just prior to that, a gathering was held in Nigeria in January 2020.
This year’s program featured intensive, seminar-style discussion sessions, presentations, and an interactive simulation exercise. Throughout the forum, participants discussed key issues faced by women in leadership roles around the world, sharing perspectives from their own work in senior roles in government across Africa. Program components presented by Yale faculty and leading practitioners focused on leadership, grand strategy, pressing issues across the continent, and tackling critical challenges.
The participants were: María Teresa Fernández de la Vega (President, Women for Africa Foundation); Caddy Adzuba (Democratic Republic of the Congo); Hibaaq Osman (Somalia); Edith Kah Walla (Cameroon); Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang (The Gambia); Julia Duncan Cassell (Liberia); Nana Oye Bampoe Addo (Ghana); Obiageli Katryn Ezekwesili (Nigeria); Comfort Sonaiya (Nigeria); Rasmata Compaoré (Burkina Faso); Fatou Sarr Sow (Senegal); Finda Koroma (Sierra Leone), and; Fatimetou Mohamed Saleck (Islamic Republic of Mauritania).
In the photo above, Yale President Peter Salovey is shown with participants in the Leadership Forum for Strategic Impact, a key program of the Yale Africa Initiative, an ongoing effort by Yale to prioritize and expand upon its collaborations on the continent (photo credit: Mara Lavitt).