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What emerged at the recent ALI dinners

Leadership Dinners

What emerged at the recent ALI dinners in Johannesburg and Cape Town are that there are three key dimensions that fellows want to take forward to increase engagements with ALI.

  1. Although the ALI Fellows appreciate that ALI needs to be non-aligned, and is a platform to develop, nurture, and inspire leaders to act in their individual capacity, it was felt by fellows that we are in a moment in our history where ALI itself needs to play a greater role and to act. An analogous joint activity is that of the Liberty Fellowship in South Carolina. Many of its fellows felt passionate about the issue of the Confederate flag and they used their skills and influence to remove it from state buildings.

At some of the dinners, fellows asked what the ALI fellowship’s Confederate flag is. The following were suggested:

  • The nuclear issue. This was seen as a burning, apex state capture issue in that it will bankrupt South Africa and affect many generations to come. It was felt that this could be an issue around which individual fellows can rally. Some ALI Fellows will be leading ALI’s approach on this and will be contacting individual fellows to provide support. ALI will be co-ordinating the fellows, but will not be taking a stand itself.
  • It was felt that actions could be themed under the banner of reducing inequality. One of the major drivers of inequality in education, and to this end, Roger Dickenson is engaging with ALI Fellows working on education to work more collaboratively and, through this, to make a greater impact.
  • The Good Society. Many fellows are doing significant work to create the Good Society. We will more actively communicate this to the fellowship and play a more active role in connecting fellows with similar actions to enhance impact.

It was acknowledged that collective action does not mean everyone doing the same project – it is rather about facilitating more connections.

  1. The Good Society. It is clear that there is not a shared view amongst ALI fellows as to the meaning of The Good Society. This is indicative of South Africa today, where the issue is not merely the removal of those driving state capture, but rather what is the society that we want in its place, and how can we create something more equal than the status quo. ALI Fellows are interested in having dialogue around this issue and engaging on what a good society actually means as well as creating a future vision. That could be used as the basis for consolidating ALI’s action. It was, therefore, suggested that we theme a dialogue series under “The Good Society” that would enable fellows to engage on topics such as race and transformation, land, wage disparity, concentration of ownership, basic income grant, youth inclusion, and economic growth. It is proposed to reach out the Heather Sonn to support us in driving such a series of dialogues. These will be held in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

 

  1. Multi-class events. The fellows found significant value in being able to connect with fellows across classes and get to know each other better. In this context, we need to continue to organise dinners as well as the Pan African Impact Forum about which all fellows are extremely excited.

The dinners also allowed for engagement on the transparency of ALI’s governance as well as its proposed ethics committee. It is estimated that nuclear expansion in South Africa will cost the country close to R 3 trillion and will only be completed by 2040. It is believed by almost parties other than a select few, that nuclear expansion will bankrupt South Africa. To this end, diverse constituencies around the country are collaborating to ensure that transparency, good governance and economic prudence are followed thoughout the nuclear deal. If you are interested in getting involved in any capacity, please reach out to Angela Karnein on angelak@alisa.co.za

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