LV Alumni mentor African community through African ThinkTank project

27 April 2010

More than 30 leaders of Melbourne’s African community are being mentored by LV Alumni from a range of sectors including  government, not-for-profit and business leaders as part of The African Think Tank’s first African Leadership Development Program, launched by The Hon. Bronwyn Pike MP, in Melbourne on Wednesday 21st April 2010.

The program, delivered in partnership with Leadership Victoria, The Department of Immigration and Citizenship and Victoria Police, develops leaders in the African community in areas such as governance, planning and sustainability and equips them with the skills and knowledge to invest in their communities.

The creator of the African Leadership Development Program for The African Think Tank and current Leadership Victoria Williamson Community Leadership Program Participant, Mr Haileluel Gebre-selaisse, said the program is an excellent opportunity for the African communities.

“It’s a well thought out program and participants will gain invaluable practical knowledge of how to work within the system, develop unique skills to lead their communities and play a critical role to integrate into Australian culture. It’s designed to build the African communities’ capacity to participate in nation building processes in order to address social exclusion,” he said.

Leadership Victoria Executive Director Jerril Rechter, explains the organisation’s reason for involvement, “Leadership Victoria focuses on developing leaders who can be mobilised to address emerging issues and opportunities of importance in our community. Building the capacity of African leaders and their communities  as they settle into the Australian community most certainly demands exceptional leadership. Leadership Victoria is very proud to be a part of this partnership.”

The participants, from 12 countries across Africa, are on full scholarships and receive accredited training through Victoria University and work alongside Leadership Victoria mentors on community based projects.

During the program participants will be individually mentored by Leadership Victoria Alumni, who are also members of the Federal Government’s Golden Gurus program.

“I congratulate Leadership Victoria on taking the initiative to join the Golden Gurus program in January this year. Golden Gurus aims to harness the skills and experience of Australians aged 50 years and over by connecting them with volunteering and mentoring opportunities within community organisations and small businesses”, said Senator Ursula Stephens, Parliamentary Secretary for Social Inclusion and the Voluntary Sector.

“It is fantastic to see the African Leadership Development Program taking advantage of the invaluable mentoring that Golden Gurus offer. I wish the participants and the Golden Guru mentors every success and look forward to hearing about their learnings, friendships and successes at the conclusion of the Program,” said Senator Stephens.

Keren Dattner, Managing Director of Nicholas Dattner and Co, Leadership Victoria Alumni and a mentor in African Leadership Development Program said the potential for the program was “huge”.

“I think I’ll find it, personally, deeply rewarding, I’m expecting to find inspiration in the experience and be able to apply it to my own approach to leadership”, she said.

The program sees 33 LV Alumni partnered with 33 leaders from the African / Australian community in mentor / mentee relationships. Mentors will be supporting participants throughout the program as well as assisting with the completion of a Community-Based Project.

The program will run until September, although we expect that many relationships will extend beyond the formal program.


SBS World View Interview African ThinkTank April 2010 – MP3 file