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DEF to Increase Funds for the African Leadership Academy

Oct 25, 2011 12:46 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... The Diamond Empowerment Fund (DEF) committed to increasing funds to the African Leadership Academy by 40 percent in 2012.  The African Leadership Academy is one of three beneficiary schools receiving funds from DEF, whose mission is to empower Africans in diamond-producing nations through education. The other two are CIDA City Campus, a business college in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the Top Achievers Program in Botswana.

''We’re proud that DEF can play a key role in helping to educate, cultivate, develop, and support future leaders who will provide ethical and productive governance throughout the African continent, especially in diamond-producing nations,'' said Nancy Orem Lyman, DEF's executive director.  The increase was made possible from a fundraising effort during the Hong Kong show along with other hosted events throughout the year, she added.

DEF made its first grant to the Academy in 2009 to establish the “DEF Scholars” program for students from diamond-producing nations in Africa. In September, during the Hong Kong show, DEF hosted the “Diamonds in the Sky Hong Kong” fundraiser, which raised more than $2.5 million.

Based in Johannesburg, the African Leadership Academy was founded by Fred Swaniker on the belief that ethical leadership is the key to transforming the African continent. A residential pre-university institution, it is aimed at developing ethical, visionary, effective, and accountable leaders across the entire continent of Africa. To be accepted, students must show extraordinary leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit, and a passion for leading Africa ethically. It recruits students from all 54 African nations; at the present time, 41 nations are represented at the Academy.

Bryden Sweeney-Taylor, the executive director of African Leadership Foundation,  said, ''The continued support of African Leadership Academy from the Diamond Empowerment Fund is a true testament to the fact that we are on the right path to empower and develop the next generation of African leaders.''

The Academy's first graduating class of 88 surpassed all goals, according to DEF, with 92 percent of the students being admitted to college and securing a collective amount of more than $10 million in college scholarship funds to schools including, Harvard University, Yale University, Stanford University, Dartmouth College, and Duke University.

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Tags: academy, DEF, diamond, empowerment, fund, Jeff Miller
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