“The Leadership We Want” is a conference organised by the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows (MWFs) on February 17 and 18, 2017, at La Cannelle, Domaine Les Pailles.
It gathered over 120 participants aged between 17 and 50 years old around three key themes: Education and Community Development, Business and Socio-environmental Responsibility and Human Rights and Gender. The conference gathered 160 participants including some 20 volunteers from Lions Club of Ebene and students from University of Mauritius.
The U.S. Embassy entrusted the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows (MWFs) with the task of organising this leadership workshop. A grant of $ 18,000 was allocated to the MWFs through the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, for the organisation of the conference and for a small grants competition of $ 3,000 each. The conference was organised in collaboration with the Lions Club of Ebène and The Professional Learning Centre (TPLC). Dr Melanie Zimmerman, Chargé d’affaires at the Embassy of the United States of America to Mauritius and Seychelles, delivered the opening address.
The MWF cohort 2016 was on the move for several months to make this first common event a success: The main organisers included Pritee Auckloo, Junaid Udhin, Desire Dian, Dominique Chan Low, Komal Boodhun, Joanna Doorghen, Koushal Narrain, Nazeem Jhungee, Sandrine Steulet, and Ram Mudhoo. “The team was constantly in communication with the US Embassy and our good support Priya Beegun was exemplary in this supporting us,” says Pritee Auckloo.
This conference was an opportunity for young leaders or leaders-in-becoming, NGOs and young professionals to network, learn, inspire others and make further impact in their communities. It was also a platform for leaders based in Mauritius and Rodrigues to seriously reflect on and engage in discussions on the sustainable impacts and future of leadership in the Republic of Mauritius.
According to MWF 2016 Pritee Auckloo, the two day conference was an amazingly enriching and vibrant experience. “As the first MWF Cohort 2016 initiative, our target was to make participants live the magic and realising that everyone can lead and leadership does not require a position in hierarchy. We wanted participants to realise that that the ‘Leadership we want’ starts from US first and it is possible to lead in different ways. In this non political platform we wanted everyone (every leader) to realise first that leaders are active and responsible citizens first whether that is in spheres of influence such as your own organisation or in NGOS or even in Politics. We also wanted them to feel that CHANGE is possible and is happening and we also wanted them to believe that they have an active role to play in their own organisation to support and encourage positive actions. Our speakers enthused the young participants with the zeal to be decision makers, passionate and ethical leaders, respectful of human rights and gender equality among others.”
The speakers various speakers were Dr Om Varma, Director of the Mauritius Institute of Education; Professor Arnaud Carpooran of the University of Mauritius; Tolga Mahlke, Principal Consultant at Atrain Ltd.; Vaughan Heberden, Director of TPLC and Financial Services Consultant; Environmental activist Yan Hookoomsing; Rita Venkatasawmy, Ombudsperson for Children and Anushka Virahsawmy, Director and Regional Manager of Gender Links.
The main themes
The three main areas of discussion are:
Education and Community development
Discussions evolved around current trends, success stories and challenges in education with a view of looking at sustainable replicas in education with good leadership.
Business and Socio-environmental responsibility
The Leadership We Want showcased the values and behaviours and the accompanying strategies that will equip business leaders and entrepreneurs to drive businesses to success without ignoring the growth and welfare of the human factor.
Human Rights and Gender
The Leadership We Want, acknowledged the rights of the vulnerable members of society and values the coping strategies they use to survive and combat instances of victimisation. Discussions evolved around Children’s right, LGBTIQ, disability rights, right to rehabilitation amongst others.
A grant of $ 3,000 was awarded as support for their community project. They are Nabeel & Imraan Hingun, Olivier Fanfan and François Mark.