Akilah is excited to announce that one of our students, Vestine Ukwishaka, has been selected to represent Rwanda in the 2013 Hansen Summer Institute on Leadership and International Cooperation. Vestine will travel from Rwanda to the U.S. in July to take part in this renowned 3-week leadership institute at the University of San Diego.
Vestine, a Hospitality Management major who will be graduating in November, went through an extensive application process, including letters of recommendation, academic transcripts, and a Skype interview. She was thrilled to learn that she had been selected to represent her country at this leadership program.
“Before this I never even had a passport because [an opportunity] like this was not part of my dreams,” said Vestine. “But I know it would never have happened if it were not for the efforts and belief of Elizabeth [Dearborn-Hughes] and Akilah.”
Representatives from 16 counties will be participating in the program, including Morocco, Uganda, Ukraine, Israel, Russia, Argentina, Nepal, Ethiopia, Poland, Kyrgyzstan, Romania, Bosnia, Georgia, and the United States. Attendees will participate in hands-on classes in leadership skills, conflict resolution, and relationship building with practitioners from the academic and professional worlds. Throughout the duration of the program, representatives will have the opportunity to interact and learn from their peers and respective countries.
A driven and passionate student, Vestine says she looks forward to improving her leadership skills. “I’m most excited about improving my confidence in leadership and then to practice those skills in my community and country.” Talking about her own leadership goals, Vestine says she hopes to become a strong and approachable women leader. “My goal after graduating from Akilah is to be a role model wherever I work and to help develop my community, especially the jobless youth.”
Vestine and her fellow representatives will take part in a number of field trips and activities during the 3-week program, including a two-day workshop on social entrepreneurship at San Diego State University, the Coronado Island 4th of July parade, a Padres professional baseball game, a visit to the U.S.-Mexican border, San Diego Zoo, and an outing to the San Diego Mayor’s office.
Vestine is grateful for this life-changing opportunity: “My heart is filled with joy, my mind is now full of ideas and thoughts of greater opportunities I will now have in the future after this training.”
Congratulations, Vestine! We are very proud of you!