A recent visit to Tanzania provided University of St. Thomas graduate students with a rich cross cultural learning experience and hands-on leadership development training.
This trip was a part of the coursework for the international leadership program. The focus of the program is to prepare the next generation of students to become global leaders and change agents. While in Tanzania, the students learned more about the future of development and globalization by focusing on four key pillars; economy, healthcare, education and governance.
We had the honor and privilege of meeting with Chief Sec. Hon. Ambassador Ombeni Y. Sefue. He shared reflections on Tanzania’s educational system and economy. He stressed the importance of education for building a strong foundation for Tanzania’s future. He stated education is about “ultimately training the next generation of leaders.”
We visited local schools to learn more about how students are being trained and prepared for the future. Our visits included Mwandet School, Pambazuka Africa Education Center and St. Jude’s Primary School. Firsthand, we witnessed each student’s passion for learning, and through their personal accounts learned about their commitment to becoming servant leaders. At St. Jude’s School, I met students who aspired to become the future president, nurses, lawyers and teachers; with the goal in mind of strengthening their communities.
Sefue also helped us to visualize the future of Tanzania’s economy. He described Tanzania as a “country of great potential” for economic growth. The foundation of Tanzania’s economy is reinforced by the agricultural and tourism sectors.
Agriculture accounts for more than 40 percent of the domestic GDP, represents 85 percent of the exports and employs 80 percent of the workforce. Coffee, tea, cashews, tobacco and sugarcane are the key cash crops.
Tourism also serves as a significant contributor to Tanzania’s economy. Tanzania is the home of many of the world’s greatest tourist attractions from the famous Mount Kilimanjaro (Africa’s highest mountain) to Oludavi Gorge (world renowned historic archeological site). These tourist attractions draw people from across the globe. One of the highlights of our trip was a visit to Ngorongoro Crater. Our safari visit provided us with an opportunity to see Tanzania’s wildlife in its natural inhabitant and learn more about the importance of environmental preservation.
Sefue concluded his remarks with a call to action for those who are passionate about leading social change. He challenged our students to “learn to look at the world through new eyes.” In essence, future leaders must be willing to grapple with the social justice challenges of our times by seeing new possibilities and creating new solutions to the world’s problems. The trip to Tanzania provided our students with the opportunity to gain a new set of eyes related to the future of development. They learned key lessons about the importance of cultivating human capital and promoting community engagement.
For more information about the International Leadership program, visit www.stthomas.edu/celc/academics/internationalleadership.