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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Still Learning

Real apologies are due people for going AWOL this last week. I went to school! Okay maybe not exactly but first l did a cross-country race. I went from Cape Town to Cotonou to Ibadan and then to Abuja in four days.

Just returned from a four day, hectic but life-enhancing seminar in Abuja. I am a member of the second class the African Leadership Initiative run by the ASPEN INSTITUTE in Colorado. There is a South African group, a South American group and an Indian group. The idea is to identify in different parts of the world people below age 45 who have demonstrated leadership potentials and help groom them into informed, effective leaders who can substantially influence their society.

My class is drawn from Nigeria and Ghana and is an eclectic group, which includes Amina Oyagbola at MTN, Aigboje Aig-lmoukuede of ACCESS BANK, Florence Seriki who founded OMATEK computers, and the delightful Mairo Zakari who runs a home school for disadvantaged children in Kano. The Ghana group includes Angela who is truly an angel, her husband Ken (never meet a more in love, humane, spiritual and down to earth couple in my life), the irrepressible Yofi Grant, the wise and knowing Roland who teaches us hilarious native dances for class dynamics.

Our moderators are the exceptional Peter Reiling and Keith Berwick. Peter, senior fellow of Aspen and ED of the Henry Crown Fellowship program is also former president and CEO of TECHNOSERVE and is a true human gem, Keith, a four time Emmy winning broadcaster and author, a true statesman and incredible human being who at 79 had spent the past decade and more grooming people who might grow to solve human problems all over the world. He will spend the foreseeable future writing, getting fit for a marathon and spending time with his family.

We had met earlier in the year in Akosombo Ghana to deliberate on what it takes to be an effective and enlightened leader using examples from as far back as Ceaser Borgia in Rome and recent as Lee Kwan Yu, Mandela and Ghandi. This last meeting was on the concept of a good society.

What l love about this class is that it takes you on a truthful personal journey. It is less about techniques and all about values, which are personal and individual, aimed towards a personal vision of the greater good for the larger number. There is no grandstanding, no exoneration no finger pointing. It is all soul searching, strength building, result oriented and action requiring. The readings are taken from writings as varied as Plato’s REPUBLIC to Simon Bolivar’s writings, Milton Friedman, Hobbs, Drucker as so on. Our next class will include writings from Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe and more from Nelson Mandela. I’m researching more writings out of Africa by leaders both good and bad, from philosophers, and minds in thought. I’d appreciate any suggestions you smart leaders might have.

<>My Arrests<>

The highlight of this seminar for me was a performance of ANTIGONE, which we put together in 2 days. I dare say l was a worthy Antigone since l am not just the resident class creative loony but also the obvious hot-headed community driven liberalist. The part where l hang myself and Aigboje tries to kill his father, then kills himself and embraces me in death was a riot to organize and act. We called ourselves ALIwood and I include a little video clip to amuse you.

<>My Story<>

I cannot really communicate the ALI experience and l will not try. What l wish is that many more will be brought to a consciousness of their own potential leadership roles in ensuring a good society such as can be attained. This week l will do an article on my personal concept of the good society as it relates to Nigeria and we can start our own conversation on it. Right now I’m just knackered and am going to sleep.

<>The hanging<>

For more, check out www.aspeninstitute.org/ali


bolaji said...

Hi Funmi,saw you during your Marathon classes at the hilton, remember i asked for a hug you were with MTN's Amina. Just otside the hotel.
My Broadband is not broadbandish enough so cannot view the clips but i will be patient and wait.
Welcome back!!

Dqueenb said...

Hey Aunty Funmi...I see you doing the damn thing! Very nicely done!

Naijalove said...

Now this sounds like a full dose of personal and professional growth wrapped in one. I could use a class like this... enjoy!