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Press Release

Barbara Laskin

Fred Swaniker Receives Macalester Young Alumni Award

June 9, 2009 - Fred Swaniker of Sandton, South Africa, has received Macalester College’s 2009 Young Alumni Award.  Swaniker graduated from Macalester in 1999.

The Macalester College Young Alumni Award recognizes an alumnus or alumna who has graduated within the past 15 years and demonstrated outstanding involvement and achievement in their post-graduate education, community contributions, career advancement and their service to Macalester.  

Following Macalester, Swaniker worked in South Africa with worldwide consulting firm McKinsey and Company, where he provided strategic advice to large companies in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, and South Africa. He then went on to launch a biotechnology company in Cape Town and earned an MBA at Stanford University.

But Swaniker left the business world to devote his talents to educating Africa’s next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs.

Today, Swaniker is the founder and CEO of African Leadership Academy (ALA), a pan-African high school dedicated to developing the next generation of African leaders. Located near Johannesburg, South Africa, the ALA opened in September 2008 with 106 students from 29 countries.  The Academy is a two-year, intensive, merit-based program with a world-renowned international faculty. Its curriculum focuses on leadership, entrepreneurship, and African Studies.
In this, its first year of operation, the African Leadership Academy is already harder to get into than Harvard. At least 50% of ALA’s students will pay nothing to attend, but this is no grant; it’s a “forgivable loan,” forgivable only if graduates employ their talents in Africa and do not emigrate.

“Over the next 50 years, African Leadership Academy will develop 6,000 leaders for Africa,” said Swaniker.  “Entrepreneurial and ethical leaders who will launch large-scale enterprises that can eradicate poverty, who will establish innovative non-profit organizations that address Africa’s most pressing challenges, and who will enable governments to make policies that will facilitate economic growth, public health, and political stability. Simply put, this Academy aims to transform Africa.”

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 1,858 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism and civic engagement.