Fred Swaniker to speak at 2018 commencement

Rebecca Edwards

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Macalester’s 2018 commencement address will be delivered by acclaimed education entrepreneur Fred Swaniker ’99.

Swaniker is the founder of four pan-African development organizations: African Leadership Academy, African Leadership Network, Global Leadership Adventures and African Leadership University, focused on educational access and opportunity.

Swaniker, who majored in economics at Macalester, went on to earn his MBA from Stanford. It was in Palo Alto that he first wrote the business plan for the African Leadership Academy – a residential boarding school in Johannesburg, South Africa.

According to its mission statement, the Academy seeks to “develop leaders who prevent wars, entrepreneurs who create jobs, and innovators that develop lasting solutions to the root causes of Africa’s problems… the future Nelson Mandela, the next Wangari Maathai, and the African Bill Gates.”

The University, meanwhile, is a growing coalition of universities opening campuses across the continent with locations currently in Rwanda and Mauritius. CNN called the university “the Harvard of Africa.”

Swaniker’s work with the African Leadership Network connects the two in an annual networking and workshopping event that hosts over 400 public sector leaders, business leaders, celebrities, academics and authors.

Swaniker was named a TED Fellow in 2009, and is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader alumnus. He has been named one of the 15 “best emerging social entrepreneurs in the world” by Echoing Green, and was one of 115 young leaders invited to meet former President Barack Obama at the 2010 President’s Forum for Young African Leaders.

Commencement is set for May 12.