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Reminiscing Through the Shadows of ALAMAU’s Past

Meet Louis Ene Okon, an ALAMAU and ALA alumni who is 19 years old. Louis among many other achievements on his shelf is a seasoned leader. He has founded an NGO, the Funds for Youth Initiative which aims to support small and medium enterprises in Nigeria. Additionally ,Louis has played a vital role in the government of his country by providing information that facilitates the endowment of opportunities for local farmers in the local and international market. We were honoured to have him speak about his experience as the Director – General of the ALAMAU 2019 team.

What was your experience as the director – general of ALAMAU 2019?

I was the director – general of ALAMAU for a year and in the course of the year, the way that I perceived the role changed. In the beginning, there was a lot of excitement which is not to say the excitement dwindled, but then the excitement took a different form in terms of getting things done, similar to the first day at a new school. I had to learn skills in team dynamics, understanding my colleagues and so on because as the DG, your job is essentially to head the logistics department. The logistics department this year was slightly different from the ALAMAU 2020, in that we had six departments. The department of administration, finance, media and communication, and events,etc. I had to work with all the department heads and establish a working relationship with them by asking myself for instance, ‘How best do I work with Fikemi ?’, (director of admin) in other words, my interpersonal skills. Teamwork as well because then you need to figure out ‘I’m not a member of this team, but how can I contribute to the team?’ In addition, I had a boss, which was Asha, the chairperson of ALAMAU so figuring out those working relationships.

Were you able to transfer those skills in your immediate learning
environment?

Let me make clear that academic work is different from work work. You understand. In an African studies class, when you are split into teams, the way that work plays out is very different from how ALAMAU work plays out. So, the skills are transferrable. However, 12 marks are not at stake.

How did it feel to be the boss?

No, no, we are all colleagues. However, it is harder to work with some people than others are and I think that is how it works with old people. I am not an old person so I cannot tell. (Laughs). However, sometimes-personal relationships get in the way of things. For instance, someone who did not like you before may not like you in the workplace. Alternatively, people may not take you seriously. You may try to monitor people and people may start avoiding you. As a student, you can empathize and discern when to be firm or sympathizing. It is also not as easy because you are trying your best to do the job while maintaining friendships with people who may not want to be your friends.

What was the most challenging part?

Meeting targets. I was very anxious about, meeting targets. I cannot get into the details, but it was difficult.
What is the ALAMAU Vision and what part of it inspires you most?
ALAMAU is really trying to open the doors of diplomacy and public policy, governance and decision making to youths all around the world. MAU is not strictly an African affair. We have delegates coming from all over the world and eventually people are going to grow up and be in positions where they make big decisions. We want them to ask themselves, ‘How can I already have an idea of this experience? Fine, we can get development from the private sector, but we want people to start thinking, How can we help the private sector to grow? Can we enter public policy? Alternatively, adopt a different lens and try to think about issues from that lens or even think about the issues at all because sometimes people are not even aware of the issues that surround them. I have an iPhone, I go to a nice school I learn Math…That is not life. We need to be aware and make an effort, or contribute or already be contributing to impact lives and solve problems. MAU inspires you to think of these issues and provide solutions. It may be a ‘Model’ African Union, but who says you can’t go home to impact change? Alternatively, be part of the AU one day. I buy into all of that and can testify to the power of ALAMAU in making me more conscious and inspired. Before I was DG, I was the deputy chairperson of UNECA (United Nations Economic Council for Africa) and in UNECA, as the delegates discussed, I had to think critically about the issues they discussed such as diversification. I am a Nigerian and that was important for me, as my country is oil dependent.
In a nutshell, MAU inspires if you are engaged. So engage, don’t sit down bored and tired. Research the topics and engage with them. Read research, academia, and published articles.

Thank you for your time.

Meet Louis Ene Okon, an ALAMAU and ALA alumni who is 19 years old. Louis among many other achievements on his shelf is a seasoned leader. He has founded an NGO, the Funds for Youth Initiative which aims to support small and medium enterprises in Nigeria. Additionally ,Louis  has played a vital role in the government of his country by providing information that facilitates the endowment of opportunities for local farmers in the local and international market. We were honoured to have him speak about his experience as the Director – General of the ALAMAU 2019 team.

What was your experience as the director – general of ALAMAU 2019?

I was the director – general of ALAMAU for a year and in the course of the year, the way that I perceived the role changed. In the beginning, there was a lot of excitement which is not to say the excitement dwindled, but then the excitement took a different form in terms of getting things done, similar to the first day at a new school. I had to learn skills in team dynamics, understanding my colleagues and so on because as the DG, your job is essentially to head the logistics department. The logistics department this year was slightly different from the ALAMAU 2020, in that we had six departments. The department of administration, finance, media and communication, and events,etc. I had to work with all the department heads and establish a working relationship with them by asking myself  for instance, ‘How best do I work with Fikemi ?’, (director of admin)  in other words, my interpersonal skills. Teamwork as well because then you need to figure out ‘I’m not a member of this team, but how can I contribute to the team?’ In addition, I had a boss, which was Asha, the chairperson of ALAMAU so figuring out those working relationships.

Were you able to transfer those skills in your immediate learning environment?

Let me make clear that academic work is different from work work. You understand. In an African studies class, when you are split into teams, the way that work plays out is very different from how ALAMAU work plays out. So, the skills are transferrable. However, 12 marks are not at stake.

How did it  feel to be the boss?

No, no, we are all colleagues. However, it is harder to work with some people than others are and I think that is how it works with old people. I am not an old person so I cannot tell. (Laughs). However, sometimes-personal relationships get in the way of things. For instance, someone who did not like you before may not like you in the workplace. Alternatively, people may not take you seriously. You may try to monitor people and people may start avoiding you. As a student, you can empathize and discern when to be firm or sympathizing. It is also not as easy because you are trying your best to do the job while maintaining friendships with people who may not want to be your friends.

What was the most challenging part?

Meeting targets. I was very anxious about, meeting targets. I cannot get into the details, but it was difficult.

ALAMAU is really trying to open the doors of diplomacy and public policy, governance and decision making to youths all around the world. MAU is not strictly an African affair. We have delegates coming from all over the world and eventually people are going to grow up and be in positions where they make big decisions. We want them to ask themselves, ‘How can I already have an idea of this experience? Fine, we can get development from the private sector, but we want people to start thinking, How can we help the private sector to grow? Can we enter public policy? Alternatively, adopt a different lens and try to think about issues from that lens or even think about the issues at all because sometimes people are not even aware of the issues that surround them. I have an iPhone, I go to a nice school I learn Math…That is not life. We need to be aware and make an effort, or contribute or already be contributing to impact lives and solve problems. MAU inspires you to think of these issues and provide solutions. It may be a ‘Model’ African Union, but who says you can’t go home to impact change? Alternatively, be part of the AU one day. I buy into all of that and can testify to the power of ALAMAU in making me more conscious and inspired.  Before I was DG, I was the deputy chairperson of UNECA (United Nations Economic Council for Africa) and in UNECA, as the delegates discussed, I had to think critically about the issues they discussed such as diversification. I am a Nigerian and that was important for me, as my country is oil dependent.

In a nutshell,  MAU inspires if you are engaged. So engage, don’t sit down bored and tired. Research the topics and engage with them. Read research, academia, and published articles.

Thank you for your time.

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