Foreign Policy Blogs

Young Foreigners making an impact in Africa

 

South Africa, where many of the young foreigners are currently working and making a difference. Photo courtesy of mydestination.com

South Africa, where many of the young foreigners are currently working and making a difference. Photo courtesy of mydestination.com

Last year I blogged about some phenomenal young people from the African continent doing extraordinary things.

This years search was somewhat different. Young People in International Affairs (YPIA) based in South Africa put out a worldwide call for nominations earlier in 2013 to find the top 35 foreigners under 35-years-old making an impact on the continent of Africa. The point of this year’s Top 35 was to provide a counter narrative to the established and expected story of social migration out of Africa towards the West.

Last year YPIA had the Top 35 under 35 Africans that were staying and making positive contributions to Africa. This time the NGO thought to take it further and ask if there were young people from outside the continent making a difference. They were surprised at what they found. Not that there are people from all over the world that move to Africa to make a better life for themselves and the continent (we knew that). What surprised YPIA was the innovative creativity that needs to be noticed and celebrated. This YPIA hopes goes one small step in that direction.

From adventure travels across the continent to NGOs begun after short exchange courses; to marvelous businesses and surprising marriages that provide emphasis on staying in Africa and “making the continent work.” What YPIA found were inspiring individuals with inspiring stories to share about their lives, the continent they’ve chosen to live on and the projects that they dedicate their lives to. Pliny the Elder once said, something new always out of Africa, and it still bears true today.

Nominations were called in February and received throughout the year. To qualify, nominees must have met the following conditions:

  1. Under the age of 35 at the time of nomination
  2. Not a citizen of an African country
  3. Excelling in their respective field and area of expertise;
  4. Making a substantial impact on critical African issues and international affairs;
  5. Recognized among colleagues and the broader community as a leader/future leader;
  6. Values ethics and human rights

After searching far and wide, receiving nominations from all over the world and of course the continent, YPIA and its Advisory Board are proud to announce the following winners in the first bi-annual Top 35 foreigners under 35 in Africa.

They are grouped according to the following five categories and in no particular order: Politics, Business, Education/Academia, Community Development, Science and Technology.

And the winners are…

 

PHILIPPA WHEATON

Philippa Wheaton started Enke NGO in March 2009 with two friends after volunteering in Kwa-Zulu Natal province, South Africa. Realising that spaces did not exist for young people to come together to make a difference, she and her friends Thomas Walsh and Kathryn Maunders started Enke which is Tswana for Ink and appropriately their motto is “Make your Mark.” Enke has gone from strength to strength working with large corporate donors to equip and empower young people. Philippa, who goes by Pip, is Australian by birth and having planned to stay six months says, “South Africa stole her heart,” and those six months has become four years and seven months and counting.

Area: Community Development

Nationality: Australia

Age: 30

Organisation: Enke – enke.co.za

Position: Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Countries working in: South Africa

 

DESIRÉE KOSCIULEK

Desirée Kosciulek was appointed as a Youth Development Officer in 2010 by the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA). The position was part time and involved managing the new youth programs just developed. Since then she has grown the program and the amount of participants considerably, in particular the Model U.N. program, the SAIIA Youth delegation to Cop 17 and the Environmental Sustainability Program. These programs are run across high schools, universities and across multiple South African provinces in particular Western Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng. Her most notable achievement is the Youth Leaders Conference, something she conceptualized, fund raised and implemented herself having to work across the full policy spectrum of NGO’s, government departments at all levels and communities.

Area: Education/Research

Nationality: United States of America

Age: 30

Organisation: South African institute of International Affairs – saiia.org.za

Position:  Youth Development Officer

Countries working in: South Africa

 

CHRIS BRADFORD

After working in international conglomerates, Chris Bradford moved towards the Education sector, teaching in several educational facilities, which led him to co-found the African Leadership Academy (ALA) in 2004. He has led the creation of the innovative admissions process where applicants have to answer a single question, “What problem have you identified in your community and what have you done about it?” As dean he also directs the curriculum that focuses on entrepreneurial and ethical leadership. To date, ALA has taken in 400 students and has shown itself to be a one of kind school not only in Africa but the world.

Area: Education

Nationality: United States of America

Age: 35[i]

Organisation: African Leadership Academy – africanleadershipacademy.org

Position: Founder and Dean

Countries working in: South Africa

 

JOE WHITE

Joe White has helped set up five non-profits and two social enterprises, all of which still exist. In response to needs he identifies in the community he sets up organizations to create work and the like and after a period of time he hands them over to young people to run. As all seven are still running, his projects embody the popular term “sustainability.” He has lived in South Africa since he was 18-years-old, when he took a few months off before university to “go help out” in Madagascar. Now married to a South African woman with two children, it seems America’s loss has been Africa’s gain.

Area: Business/Social Enterprise

Nationality: United States of America

Age: 35[ii]

Organisation: World Changers Academy/Catalyx Consulting – wca-sa.orgcatalyxconsulting.co.za

Position: Founder and Director (of both)

Countries working in: South Africa, with influence in Madagascar, Nigeria, Uganda

 

CLINTON BUSH AND MICHAEL HEYNE

Long distance travel over treacherous and uncertain lands, this is the adventure that speaks to young men the world over. And exactly what Clinton Bush (Right) and Michael Heyne (Left) plan to do. This adventure duo plan to on ride from London through Spain across the Strait of Gibraltar down the bulge of Africa, across to Zambia ending in Cape Town South Africa. The point besides the adventure is to show of the modern side of Africa and to raise money for an NGO Friends of Tionge, which arranges for better play spaces for children in Zambia. Clinton, an Australian, met fellow students from Zambia at their sister campus Monash University campus in Malaysia. That’s where the idea of doing something for this NGO came about – but ideas only go so far. Also it’s not often young students actually carry through on an idea. However, only after his return to Australia and meeting up with Michael was it possible for an idea to become reality, and so Ride for Zambia born. Good luck guys!

Area: Community Development/Adventure

Nationality: Australia

Age: 23 and 24 respectively

Organisation: Ride for Zambia – rideforzambia.net/

Position: Community Development/ Fund-raisers

Countries working in: Zambia

 

ANDREEA-LOREDANA TUDORACH

It’s perhaps stereotypical, but African projects are often seen as part of the Western meaning North American and Western Europe pity projects. A sad but true stereotype — fortunately Andreea-Loredana Tudorach destroys this stereotype both for being from Romania and definitely not engaging in pity projects. Her byline is, Life’s happenings make 10 percent of your life, whilst 90 percent is how you react to it. She helps grapple with the 10 percent so you can master the 90, and she does so in a remarkable way through community social theatre. Challenging mental limits through global education and using movement, dance and music all the ingredients that young people love and do anyway to be innovative and creative. Showing the real power of theatre, an organization that hails from her native Romania.

Area: Community Development

Nationality: Romania

Age: 29

Organisation: Art Fusion – www.artfusion.ro/

Position: Trainer and Consultant in Youth Field

Countries working in: Continental, at the moment Lesotho and South Africa

 

BETTINA SCHULTE

Bettina Schulte works for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Chad. Of German nationality, she has worked within multilateral organizations since graduating from university with a masters degree in development studies and international relations. Previously in the thick of things in the Dabaab Refugee Complex in North Eastern Kenya, which is the largest refugee complex in the world, Bettina is working to resettle displaced persons from ethnic and tribal violence.

Area: Politics/International Politics

Nationality: Germany

Age: 32

Organisation: UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Position: Associate Regional External Relations Officer

Countries working in: Chad, Kenya

 

OLIVIA HOPE MYEZA

Olivia Myeza is CEO of Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust based in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. Australian by birth and married to a South African man with two children, Olivia leads and NGO that tackles the Aids epidemic heads on. Hillcrest, in their own words is a “multifaceted, holistic HIV/AIDS project that exists to provide unconditional love to all infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in a practical, sustainable way.” Under her leadership, Hillcrest has grown the 4 major areas they focus on: Care, Prevention, Income Generation and Poverty Alleviation projects. Olivia has mobilised the community to care not only for those affected by HIV/Aids but the broader community as well. Our favourite project headed by Hillcrest is the Gogolympics where Gogo’s (Granny’s) compete in sports in a lighthearted get together recognising their role in fulfilling social responsibilities of parents that have passed due to HIV. Olivia is leading an organisation recognised for its impact on the ground amongst the community.

Area: Community Development/Health

Nationality: Australia

Age: 30

Organisation: HillCrest Aids Centre Trust – hillaids.org.za

Position: CEO

Countries working in: South Africa

 

YARIK TURINIANSKYI

A graduate of the University of Pretoria, Yarik is a well read and written citizen of the continent; someone who understands the inner workings of the policy frameworks that can better the standards of Africa and the lives of its people. Yarik Turinianskyi  is a Ukrainian by birth and has worked on the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) carrying out research across South Africa, Lesotho, Senegal and Mozambique. Recently turning 30, he continues the critical reflection necessary to build strong, effective and responsive state institutions.

Area: Politics/International Politics

Nationality: Ukraine

Age: 30

Organisation: South African institute of International Affairs – http://www.saiia.org.za

Position: Programme Manager – Governance and African Peer Review Mechanism Programme

Countries working in: Continental

 

RIONA JUDGE MCCORMACK

Riona McCormack is Irish by birth but resides in South Africa and works as the Communications Officer for the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA). Previously at the United Nations, she specializes in using the best of modern technology to tell a story or convey an important message. This is especially important in the NGO and UN sector. We are convinced that when she gets her hold of your message no one cannot be moved.

Area: Education/Academica

Nationality: Ireland

Age: 30

Organisation: South African institute of International Affairs – saiia.org.za

Position: Communications Officer

Countries working in: South Africa

 

NNEKA STEFANIA ACHAPU

Too often we hear that Africa is the next and best placed emerging economy everyone should be looking at. Its rare that someone actually does what they say, and yet Nneka Achapu did exactly that by starting the US Bilateral African Chamber of Commerce (USBACC) that is specifically geared towards greater trade with Africa and the Pacific North West. Her Houston based NGO focuses on Bilateral trade for small minority led companies, liaises for companies wishing to invest in Africa and vice versa. As well as reaching across the continent, Nneka also speaks 4 languages and sits on numerous boards relating to energy and the green economy. Obviously someone with vision who sees potential so obviously a good fit for the Top 35.

Area: Business/Entrepreneurship

Nationality: USA

Age: 27

Organisation:  U.S. Bilateral African Chamber of Commerce – usbacc.org

Position: CEO & Executive Director

Countries working in: Continental

 

CLAUDIA HARGARTEN

Since graduating university Claudi Hargarten has been involved with NGO’s, human rights in some capacity. Most recently she was seconded to the Kenyan Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission. Previously she participated in the Go Africa Go Germany programme and has travelled widely throughout the continent and worked in a Refugee camp in India. A global citizen by nature it seems Africa has found in Claudia someone who is as passionate about Africa as anyone can be about their own land.

Area: Politics/Community Development

Nationality: German

Age: 31

Organisation:  Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission of Kenya – tjrckenya.org

Position: Secondee

Countries working in: Kenya

 

HASAN DARWISH

Too often academia is filled with criticism and not enough solutions based approaches to  the problems intellectuals find themselves in. This is soon to change if Hasan Darwish has his way.  An assistant researcher/lecturer in engineering at University of Pretoria and now inventor, Hasan designed the Busy Box in response to the disjointed approach to facilities regarding education and entertainment. He has found a novel and economic sustainable approach to combining both. The Busy Box is a self contained unit that by day is a classroom with virtual e-learning and by night transforms in a movie theatre or venue for private booking. Hasan envisaged it as a complete self sustaining unit that is managed by an owner-operator. One can’t help wonder what else Hasan has up his sleeve over the next few years. We’ll be watching…

Area: Science and Technology, Business/Entrepreneurship

Nationality: Syrian

Age: 21

Organisation: Entrepreneur – Link

Position: Innovator

Countries working in: South Africa

 

BENEDICTE KURZEN

Creativity and art come in numerous ways, Benedicte a graduate of the Sorbonne has chooses to show hers through the still images caught on camera. She takes photographs across Africa, recording the lives scattered across the continent in everyday situations. Based in South Africa, she travels across the continent to such countries as Uganda, DRC, Chad, Nigeria, Egypt, Malawi and Ivory Coast to mention only a few. Its hard to imagine the continent’s variety when you haven’t travelled there yourself, but Benedicte’s work will get you close.

Area: Business/Entrepreneurship

Nationality: French

Age: 33

Organisation: Self Employed – bkurzen.photoshelter.com

Position: PhotoJournalist

Countries working in: South Africa

 

STEPHANIE GIAMPORCARO

Against the pessimistic narrative of qualified people leaving Africa for better opportunities steps Stephanie Giamporcaro. A graduate of the Sorbonne in Paris, she is senior lecturer at UCT’s Graduate School of Business, and her research focus is on the implementation of sustainable and responsible investment (SRI) in Africa. With the rise of the internet and the globalization of knowledge discourse around the world, Stephanie’s relocation to South Africa is even more remarkable. Its in the complicated and nuanced research that Stephanie does regarding areas such as carbon financing and investment relating to sustainable development that policy changes executed that affect millions of people. As such,we can’t help but wish her all the best and recognize her as a deserving finalist of the Top 35.

Area: Education/Research

Nationality: French

Age: 35[ii]

Organisation: UCT Business School

Position: Senior Lecturer and Researcher

Countries working in: South Africa

 

CLÉMENCE PETIT PERROT

Clemence Perrot is a French journalist by training who has chosen to use those skills to empower young people in the use, creation and development of material for community radio stations. Clemence works at the innovative Children’s Radio Foundation that teaches children how to manage radio technology and develop content for the medium. As radio is much larger and easier in Africa to use than the internet, the skill of radio stations that empower and provide a platform for community voices to be heard is a powerful tool to support democracy and social/economic development. Responsible for curriculum development, one can only wonder what creative and innovative projects her students will do with the skills they learn from her.

Area: Community Engagement

Nationality: French

Age: 33

Organisation: The Children’s Radio Foundation – childrensradiofoundation.org

Position: Curriculum Director and Programme Director

Countries working in: South Africa, DRC, Liberia

 

JUTTA VILLET

From the small German town of Grevesmühlen Jutta Villet immigrated permanently to South Africa in 2010 after her masters exchange program introduced her to the country. From a small German town to Africa’s largest city, Johannesburg has been good to her. Along with heading up the marketing department of DAV recruitment consultancy (known as one of the best in the country), marrying a South African and inviting their four-month-old daughter into the world, Jutta is an excellent example of the counternarrative to those leaving the country, instead immigrating to South Africa with the belief that opportunities and an expanded possibilities of those things that make life such as love, marriage, children, work and fun are possible in Africa.

Area: Business

Nationality: German

Age: 28

Organisation: DAV Professional Placement Group

Position: Marketing Manager

Countries working in: South Africa

 

SHEIRY DHILION

Sheiry exemplifies the global citizen. Her family is originally from India, she was born in Canada, and worked in South America and Africa and a Rhodes Scholar specializing that most universal disciplines, medical obstetrics. Her current projects include assessing the access to obstetric care in South African government hospitals, a noble initiative considering the the dangers of mother to child HIV infection possibilities, post-natal care and nutrition, and the countless other areas of speciality that professional medical services bring to childbirth and prevent the concerns that prior generations had. Shiery has a great start with the Rhodes Scholarship, but this probably won’t be the last we hear from here, especially if you follow health care in Africa.

Area: Education

Nationality: Canadian

Age: 30

Organisation: Rhodes Scholarship

Position: Researcher/Activist

Countries working in: South Africa

 

JARED PENNER

Currently, Jared works for an interesting an NGO that focuses on financial inclusion and education for children and youth. Entrepreneurship is seen as the answer to Africa’s problems, so the fact that Child and Youth Finance International is purposely focused on this goal has the opportunity to make a huge impact in Africa. Jared is responsible for the educational dimension of the NGOs work, crucial if what your conveying are intangible skills such as financial economics.  Jared’s influence is felt in over 125 countries and has almost reached 20 million children. Previously, he worked in microfinance in Mozambique, but obviously this wasn’t having a large enough affect on the Africa and the world. So it seems children the world over, but in particular Africa, have benefited from Jared’s economic acumen.

Area: Business/Social Entrepreneurship

Nationality: Canada

Age: 33

Organisation: Child and Youth Finance International – childfinanceinternational.org

Position: Head of Educational Division

Countries working in: Mozambique and Zambia

 

AYUSHI GUMMADI

Ayushi Gummadi is a Fulbright scholar, who has chosen to spend her time in South Africa, helping, among other things, to teach English at South African schools and Further Education and Training (FET) colleges. Previously, she was a student leader in the Panhellenic Council, and more recently has worked in Egypt on development projects. She has an eye for business and international affairs as they relate to development. This was helpful as she worked in a microfinance venture in one of South Africa’s provinces, Mpumalanga. All this probably means that with all the opportunities Africa has to offer, Ayushi will probably never really leave Africa for good, and by all means you’re free to stay.

Area: Education

Nationality: USA

Age: 23

Organisation: US Department of State

Position: Fulbright Scholar/English Teacher

Countries working in: South Africa

 

Madelynne Wager

Madelynne Wager is the only Machel-Mandela intern at the Brenthurst Foundation whose interests revolve around urbanisation and inequality. With such research interests, it helps that she’s located in the largest urbanized and economically powerful city in South Africa. As well as being a policy hawk, Madelynne is a social activist having been involved with grassroots campaigns such as One.org, Feed the Future and PEPFAR. Johannesburg is lucky to have her.

Area: Education/Research

Nationality: USA

Age: 22

Organisation: Brenthurst Foundation – thebrenthurstfoundation.org

Position: Machel-Mandela Intern

Countries working in: South Africa

 

Daniel Heyman and Grant Bridgman[iv]

“You can’t see the wood for the trees,” or in this case the cloth for the belts. That’s what this team of young Americans, by the name of Daniel Heyman and Grant Bridgman, have done in Sierra Leone, a land known for its decades long civil war and mass atrocities. Daniel asked if he could make a belt out of some beautiful local cloth Grant had bought from the market – and thus an international business was born. Daniel and Grant saw an opportunity to empower locals with and through their own products. Innovatively they raised $10 000 of funding through the crowdfunding website Indiegogo with their Bureh Belts Project (Link). Now this small project has grown large legs by selling local made Bureh Belts to international fashion houses across Europe and North America. Why start such a project when based in the United States, they answer “We’re extremely optimistic on the future of Sierra Leone and the region. In the time we’ve been working there, businesses have opened, jobs have been created, roads have been built and electricity supply improved. Things are far from perfect but the momentum is encouraging. It all starts from the individuals on the ground working hard to improve their situation and those around them.” What more can be said, individuals choosing to and making a difference. By taking local cloth grown from local produces they have created employment through manufacturing in a region starved of both. It seems Bureh Belts bring more color into Sierra Leone than the belts they sell internationally, and it’s projects like this where local Africans partner with our international cousins that great things happen. Daniel and Grant are real exemplars of what it means to be top leaders in Africa. 

Area: Business

Nationality: USA

Age: 25 and 26 respectively

Organisation: Bureh Belts – bureh.com

Position: Business/Entrepreneurs

Countries working in: Sierra Leone

 

SIMON STUMPF

Simon Stumpf encapsulates the 21st century phenomenon, someone who is neither an old style capitalist entrepreneur nor an old world social worker. Instead he considers himself an experienced Global Social Entrepreneur, which is new breed of solution orientated people who find solutions for pressing social problems. By being innovative, creating new markets and addressing immediate problems the hope is to create sustainable development in all its facets. Simon is a Yale graduate from the U.S. who has worked with street children in Mombasa, National Justice in Washington, and developed social enterprises in Laos. Living in Kenya and working at Ashoka, an organization dedicated to the broad vision of creating a global community that recognizes and nurtures entrepreneurs as the key to local problems, it’s no wonder why Kenya is recognized as one of the most innovative countries on the continent. Keep up the good work, Simon.

Area: Community Development

Nationality: USA

Age: 29

Organisation: Ashoka – Innovators for the Public – ashoka.org

Position: Senior Change Manager for Fellowship

Countries working in: Kenya

 

KELLY BAIRD

Kelly Baird is program manager for an innovative and unconventional NGO, Grassroots Soccer (GRS). They use the power of sport and in particular soccer to inspire and educate communities to stop the pandemic of HIV. As smiling and having fun through sports are perhaps the condition of what it means to be human, they seem to be onto something. Kelly runs the organization that reaches roughly 30 000 children yearly – which in itself is amazing, but it doesn’t stop there. Kelly asked a dangerous question after working five years in her well-paid job in Denver, asking “isn’t there more to life?” Move on several years and she now lives in Cape Town, travels all over Africa and affects thousands of peoples’ lives. Good on you, Kelly.

Area: Community Development

Nationality: USA

Age: 30

Organisation: Grassroots Soccer – grassrootsoccer.org

Position: Program Manager

Countries working in: Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, West Africa

 

WHITNEY JOHNSON

People don’t always recognize that when they take small steps in a journey that they might be embarking on a great adventure that will allow them a far greater life than even they envisaged. When Whitney Johnson embarked on an exchange unit in Cape Town, no one, including herself, would have guessed that years later she would have started an NGO, reached communities of kids suffering with HIV, and improved their lives through sustained and holistic health care. But that’s exactly what happened. A graduate from Colorado in Psychology and not willing to remain a counsellor on a couch, Whitney has created an NGO with an international network and filled a pressing social gap in Khayelitsha, South Africa’s HIV pandemic.

Area: Community Development

Nationality: USA

Age: 28

Organisation: Ubuntu Africa – ubafrica.org

Position: Founder/Executive Director

Countries working in: South Africa

 

KATE TICKEL

“What can you do with philosophy?” is a common complaint among undergrad’s and their parents. Well, if Kate Tickel is anything to go by, they should be asking “what can’t you do with philosophy?” The answer, apparently nothing. Kate is trained philosopher who has taken on corporate raiders and marauding war lords in Eastern Africa over the humanitarian crises that stem from resource conflicts. The DRC is home to over 80 percent of the world’s minerals needed to run high end technology devices the world over. She is rather proud of her training in the ancient canon of Western Philosophy and put it to good use developing and co-authoring Congo Sourced- Congo Free, an audit template for local, sustainable, and human rights-promoting procurement of conflict minerals. As well as changing the world, Kate is also a model, but one better be careful when using the philosopher-model tag in a derogatory manner. Her philosophical training is what led her to human rights advocacy path and is truly shattering every conceivable “glass ceiling” everywhere she goes, from conceptions of models, to philosophers as staid reclusive old men, to the possibility of changing a war torn area of Africa. The world definitely needs more philosopher-models but for now Africa will keep her.

Area: Community Development/Activism

Nationality: USA

Age: 31

Organisation: Congo Sourced – Congo Free

Position: Creator and Co-Founder

Countries working in: DRC and Congo

 

MADELEINE GOERG

Madeleine Goerg is one of those intellectuals that embody the globalized 21st century.  Living in Brussels, working for the German Marshall Fund of the United States and writing on Western African political and social developments, she is interested in transatlantic relations between the United States and Europe. She also follows South-South inter-state relationships between developing nations. Having worked with YAHAnet, an advocacy and  communication platform about HIV between the universities of Toronto and Kwa-Zulu Natal, it seems that whatever area of the globe Madeleine turns her attention to things are bound to happen.

Area: Politics/International Politics

Nationality: France

Age: 27

Organisation: The German Marshall Fund of the United States – www.gmfus.org

Position: Program Coordinator

Countries working on: West Africa

 

NICK MONKHOUSE

Nick Monkhouse is our first international civil servant. He currently serves as the Head of the Politics and Economics Team for the British High Commission in Pretoria. He specialises in economics and development, both of which we need more of in Africa. He is also passionate about sharing knowledge and encouraging young people, and we at YPIA know this from his guest lectures before. Before his diplomatic service, Nick worked for the Bank of England and HSBC. With Africa’s growing economic opportunities we’re sure there are plenty more opportunities that will benefit from his good work.

Area: Politics/International Politics

Nationality: United Kingdom

Age: 29

Organisation: British High Commission

Position: Head of Internal Politics and Economics team

Countries working in: South Africa

 

SIMON SCHAEFER

Working for one of South Africa’s premier consulting firms Frontier Advisory, Simon Schaeffer knows how to connect people in Africa. As a Senior Research and Strategy Analyst, Simon researches the opportunities in Africa. He has his work cut out for him as it seems the list of opportunities keeps on growing, but is one which he is well-equipped to handle. Simon has researched the emerging powers of BRICS and their affect on Africa, but more specifically the most major countries in Africa such as Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Zambia. If something exciting is happening, it appears he will know about it. Besides understanding and advising the aspiring business side of Africa, he is also active in South Africa’s civil society coordinating activities between NGOs, churches and organized labor.

Area: Education/Research

Nationality: German

Age: 31

Organisation: Frontier Advisory – frontier-advisory.com

Position: Senior Research and Strategy Analyst

Countries working in: South Africa

 

Flávio Bassi

Flavio Bassi is our only South American on the list, yet he holds his own as an activist, community developer and social entrepreneur. Born in Brazil, Flavio studied social anthropology and public health which he put to good use as a student leader in a variety of positions. This culminated in his participation in the internationally known Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement and the Movement of Dam Affected People. Flavio is obviously a committed social activist, but more importantly someone who has actually made significant achievements in the areas he applies his mind. Currently, he works in Johannesburg as Director for Ashoka Southern Africa, where he leads the team that works at empowering people through social entrepreneurship.

Area: Community Development/Entrepreneurship

Nationality: Brazil

Age: 32

Organisation: Ashoka – Innovators for the Public – ashoka.org

Position: Director

Countries working in: South Africa

 

SCOTT FIRSING[v]

Scott Firsing was set to join the U.S. Air Force in 2003 but then met his South African wife, drastically changing his path in life. After interning at the UN headquarters in New York, he moved to South Africa and has hit the ground running. In recent years, Scott has run the International Studies Department at Monash University South Africa, started an NGO Young People in International Affairs (YPIA) in order to fill the gap between the theoretical work that he taught students and move them closer to the coal face of community activism, intellectual engagement and professional employment. Today, he serves as Director of the North American International School in Pretoria. He also recently created a consulting firm LINK Advisory to help connect American and African companies. His latest adventure, which combined his passion for aeronautics, politics, education and youth leadership, involved helping start the Aerospace Leadership Academy, an American military university preparatory boarding high school for both boys and girls located 80km from Pretoria/Johannesburg. The school focuses heavily on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and life/leadership skills.

Almost eight years since moving to South Africa, having completed his PhD at University of South Africa, providing analysis to dozens of media outlets and NGOs, marrying his SA sweetheart and having two special girls he calls “Afrimericans,” Scott is one example to all Africans that no matter what, you can make Africa work for you.

Area: Education/Research

Nationality: USA

Age: 31

Organisations: North American International School – nais.org.za, LINK Advisory – linkadvisory.com, Aerospace Leadership Academy – aerospaceleadershipacademy.com, Young People in International Affairs – ypia.org.za, Monash University

Position: Director

Countries working in: South Africa

 

MAGALI MALHERBE

Most organizations have systems to ensure success in their mandated tasks. However, it is people that drive systems and ensure success. Magali Marlherbe is one such individual that drives the success of Children of the Dawn, an NGO that cares for HIV infected children. French by birth, Magali has worked for Children of the Dawn for the last decade and helped build it in to a serious NGO that affects the lives of several hundred children. As she married a South African and created happy family here in Africa, it seems that with the fulfilling work and family life Magali Malherbe has found here in Africa, that she’s going nowhere. And Africa is better for it!

Area: Community Engagement/Health

Nationality: French

Age: 34

Organisation: Children of the Dawn – childrenofthedawn.org.za

Position: National Project Manager

Countries working in: South Africa

 

KIRSI JOENPOLVI

Kirsi Joenpolvi is an expert on conflict prevention and resolution strategies, which she has put to good use in a number of contexts, such as at the African Union (AU), European Union (EU) and Sub-Saharan Africa. She has worked in a number of NGOs dealing from child care to state building. A multitalented woman who speaks five languages including Chinese, she is definitely a citizen of the world but someone who is and will make a continuing impact on Africa.

Area: Politics/International Politics

Nationality: Finland

Age: 30

Organisation: UN Development Programme & Crises Management Initiative

Position: Advisor at UNDP BCPR Conflict Prevention Group

Countries working in: Continental (Southern Africa)



[i] Chris Bradford was nominated while 34 and is in the first 6 months of his 35th year, as per the nomination guidelines

[ii] Joe White was nominated while 34 and is in the first 6 months of her 35th year as per the nomination guidelines

[iii] Stephanie Giamporcaro was nominated while 34 and is in the first 6 months of her 35th year as per the nomination guidelines

[iv] Grant Bridgman was born in South Africa but emigrated as a child to the U.S.; his nomination has been approved by the board of YPIA.

[v] Scott Firsing is President and Founder of YPIA. He was vetted through the nomination process, and his nomination approved by YPIA’s board

 

Author

Scott Firsing
Scott Firsing

Dr. Scott Firsing, an American residing in South Africa, is an expert on US-Africa relations. He is the Director of the North American International School (NAIS) in Pretoria, an Adjunct Research Fellow at Monash University, South Africa, an Executive at the Aerospace Leadership Academy and CEO of LINK Advisory, a consultancy helping American businesses enter Africa. Also a founder of the African NGO Young People in International Affairs, Scott is the former Head of International Studies at Monash, a former employee of the United Nations, Department for Disarmament Affairs, and a former fellow at the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA).

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