2012 Highlights

As we prepare for another busy year at Akilah, we reflect on the highlights and successes of 2012:

January 2012
The new semester started with 100 students in the Hospitality Management Diploma.

Our Rwandan Advisory Council and staff gathered to celebrate past successes and outline goals for 2012.

The Rwandan Advisory Council meets at the Serena Hotel

Our Admissions team and Student Ambassadors led information sessions throughout the country to recruit new students for our Entrepreneurship Diploma.

Student Ambassadors Emmanuella and Ernestine speak to prospective Akilah students with CEO & Co-founder Elizabeth Dearborn-Hughes

Akilah celebrated International Women’s Day 2012 with on-campus contests and a great evening event with students, staff, and local supporters.

Year 1 students participate in a campus-wide competition celebrating International Women’s Day

Akilah celebrated its partnership with Women for Women International (WfWI) when 53 women graduated from the 6 month Culinary Arts program.

Participants of the Culinary Arts program prepare a meal for their graduation

Beth Kanter, an expert in social media and communications for the nonprofit sector, held a 2-hour workshop on campus that trained students to use social media to enact social change.

Beth Kanter leads a workshop for year 2 students

Professor Erinn Tucker organized a textbook drive, collecting 8 boxes of books donated by Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration faculty, staff, and students.

Jacqueline Novogratz, founder of the Acumen Fund and renowned author of The Blue Sweater, visited the Akilah campus to meet our student body and speak about the importance of a global community.

Jacqueline Novogratz speaks to students on the importance of a global community

In the first six months of 2012, the Akilah Farm produced more than 400 kilos of beans and 800 kilos of maize plus many other vegetables. Produce is currently being used in daily student lunches. Akilah Farms was featured in Africa Agribusiness Magazine.

Pumpkins grow on the Akilah Farm

Forbes Magazine named Akilah CEO & Co-founder Elizabeth Dearborn-Hughes as one of the world’s five most influential women changing the world through social entrepreneurship.

Our most exciting and monumental moment of 2012? The graduation of our inaugural class with 100% job placement. The 39 graduates have launched their careers in hotels, tour companies, eco-lodges, and more. 17 graduates are currently participating in a management training course with Marriott International in Dubai and will return to Kigali in 2014 to help open the Kigali Marriott. There was extensive press coverage of the graduation ceremony. A Wall Street Journal article and this blog by Bill Marriott highlighted our partnership with Marriott International.

The Class of 2012

Akilah launched our new Diploma in Entrepreneurship. The first intake of 30 students will gain the skills needed to launch and manage their own ventures.

New students together with staff on campus

Akilah participated in the first-ever UN International Day of the Girl celebration by partnering with 10×10, a global campaign to educate girls so they can break the cycle of poverty and create a ripple effect of change. Akilah hosted an event on campus and students spoke out about the importance of education in their own lives. Akilah’s work was cited in Cecilia Attias’ Huffington Post article discussing International Day of the Girl!

Student Nadine speaks about the importance of education

On Student Government election day, candidates gave speeches and the entire student body came out to vote.

The 2012-2013 Student Government

The 3rd annual Metropolitan Safari tour raised over $140,000 towards the Akilah Scholarship Fund! Akilah alumni Francine and Irene traveled throughout the U.S., meeting Akilah supporters and sharing their stories. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn officially declared September 28th as Akilah Day in Tampa.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn presents the Akilah Day plaque

Akilah students launched their Social Projects partnering with Rwandan based organizations to create change on a local level through education and empowerment.

Akilah students with the women they tutor through the Urukundo Foundation

Akilah was featured in a new book, Rwanda Inc: How a Devastated Nation Became an Economic Model for the Developing World.

We launched the Akilah Impact video, highlighting a phenomenon we have witnessed among Akilah students over the past three years.

The Akilah Impact is the personal impact these young women experience as they increase their confidence and expand their knowledge through education.

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