By Fatimah Bashir
The American University of Nigeria (AUN), has introduced a programme to train
its students to become global leaders.
Known as Emerging Leaders Academy (ELA), the project was initiated by the
Vice President for Campus Life and Dean of Student Affairs, Byron Bullock.
The institution, reputed to be Africa’s foremost development university is in Yola,
the capital of Adamawa State, North-east Nigeria.
Its mission is to provide quality education to Nigeria and Africa’s future leaders, to
equip them with the skills needed to solve development issues, and give them the
knowledge needed to create solutions for their community, their country and,
ultimately, the world.
In line with this, the university had designed ELA in January 2015, as a year-long
programme to inculcate strong leadership and entrepreneurial skills on its students.
“What we’ve done in terms of the recruiting the emerging leaders is have students
complete an essay explaining several things,” Mr. Bullock said.
“However, we primarily look for students who have not been engaged in any
leadership role here on campus. They could be the shy, quiet kind of students.
“In addition to developing leadership skills, we also want to develop students who
could serve in an ambassadorial role during events and activities in the university.
“Once students complete the program and get their certificates, they become
ambassadors of the AUN.”
Currently, only one class has completed the training and certification while the
new class recruited January 2016, is still undergoing training.
Continuing, Mr. Bullock said, “These young people we train know how to receive
guests, speak publicly and function in dining settings. We teach etiquettes, we
teach a variety of skills they would need, not just here but when they leave this
university and go into the real world.
“We’ve brought in an incredible number of speakers and presenters to address all
kinds of topics. Our mission is to create something innovative and this programme
has actually given us an opportunity teach them skills they ought to have.”
Mr. Bullock said the programme was designed to also address the need for women
in leadership positions, adding half of those engaged in the ongoing training are
He said ELA just concluded a leadership seminar for female students to underscore
the important role they would play not only in Nigeria but also globally.
An ELA trainee, Anisa Suleiman, said she can represent the AUN anywhere in the
“Emerging Leaders Academy has prepared me to be a great leader. I was taught
from the beginning to think and behave like a leader,” Miss Suleiman said.