Assembly is a tradition in ALU where the entire community meet every fortnight to reflect and learn from each other. One amazing fact about the tradition of the Assembly is that it is entirely student-run, and so you get to see ALU students in their various elements. In the spirit of the Grand Opening Ceremony, ALU held its third Assembly of 2016 on the 17th of March which was one to show gratitude to those around us. In addition to our community, we welcomed our very own Chancellor, Graça Machel- Mama Machel as we call her and other very prominent guests. This Special Assembly was hosted by some of ALU’s finest; Ms. Melissa Kariuki from South Africa and Eric Maingi from Kenya.
The event kicked off with a message from the Head of College, Mr. Khurram Masood who encouraged us to show gratitude to those who have brought us far in our ALU journey. “This Week in Africa” was up next with the stunning Wangui Kibera and Sofonias Neguisse where we were informed of the continent’s latest news. We were also introduced to the newest student initiative known as #Floetry by the lovely Stephanie Gogo. This initiative tackles issues that affect society and serves as a platform to hear what everyone has to say.
Still in the gratitude mood, the Unsung Leader of the Month awards were presented. This is an award basically given to at least one staffulty and student who have demonstrated excellent leadership in a month. Our very own Houcem Khlifi, Katleho Mohono and the Employer Partnerships Team were those we thanked for the value they added to our lives in the month of February.
“When we’re born, we are given glasses to see the world. As we grow, we are given different lenses to see from such as education, the media and the things around us. These color our glasses and could jail us and detain us. I hope the friendships we build at ALU and hence the bridges we build here will come in handy to prevent wars and will promote Pan-Africanism.” These were the beautiful words by Ms. Maty Diop of Senegal who shared her story on Breaking Stereotypes. This reflection from her was from an eventful part of her journey as an exchange student in the US.
Who can forget “The Hot Seat” with Tinashe Sibanda who interviewed Dr. Ian Solomon, the Vice President of Engagement at the University of Chicago. In this segment, they discussed the challenges of a 100-year-old university. He said that old institutions should be able to think on their feet like ALU (which I definitely snapped to!). More importantly, universities should prepare you for a change and continuous learning in an unpredictable world. This discussion made myself and the ALU community laugh, but most importantly reflect and think deeper as students on the kind of culture and learning we want to leave ALU with.
Last but not the least, what is Assembly without a performance? We were inspired by our very own Thembeka Manana and Eric Maingi who serenaded the community with their soulful and beautiful voices. All in all, I can definitely say that this Assembly was truly a special one. It allowed me reflect and celebrate the wonderful people in my life who did not just introduce me to ALU, but have been with me every step of the way. It also made me celebrate not just my individual achievements, but that of the entire ALU community as well. I cannot wait for the next assembly because I know that it promises to be something even bigger and better.
By Selasi Torkornoo.