Akilah’s First Advisory Council Meeting of 2012

Last Thursday night, Akilah held its first Advisory Council meeting of 2012. All Rwanda-based members of the Council were in attendance, and met at the beautiful Serena Hotel, which graciously hosted our event in downtown Kigali. (See the full list of Advisory Council members>>)

The Advisory Council serves as our “brain trust”, and gives highly knowledgeable ad experienced individuals the opportunity to play a critical role in Akilah’s development and to touch the lives of thousands of Rwandan women.

Akilah staff Irene, Kim, Denise, and Robert

Akilah staff Irene, Kim, Denise, and Robert

Founder Elizabeth Dearborn Davis presented to the Council, giving a brief overview of the many highlights of 2011. We had two students travel to Hong Kong for 6-week internships; student Jackie Kirabo received a scholarship to complete an event planning internship in Barcelona, Spain at Simulia’s annual technology conference; and students Anita and Florence launched their own clothing and handbag business.

Eliz speaking to Advisory Council

Our second annual Metropolitan Safari tour was a huge success, with Elizabeth and students Allen and Noella raising over $140,000 for the scholarship fund in 13 different US cities through over 70 speaking events. Major highlights were the attendance of Bill Gates Sr. to our Seattle event and his donation of $30,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as World Bank President Bob Zoellick speaking as our guest of honor at the Washington, DC event.

Elizabeth then discussed our 2012 goals, with the main announcement being the restructuring of our academic program. Akilah is now offering one core Business Diploma, with a Focus in Hospitality Management (currently underway) or Entrepreneurship (beginning in September 2012). We also celebrated the launch of Akilah Farms, made possible by a generous grant from the Segal Foundation, which will provide lunch for our students and provide a revenue stream as we sell produce to local businesses.

From left to right: Chantal Gatali, Pastor Philbert Kalisa, Jackie Karuletawa-Kakiza, Elizabeth Dearborn Davis, Solange Katerebe, Shirley Randall, Edwin Sabuhoro, Denise Omani, Dave Hughes, Jean Luc Miravumba, Lisa Martilotta, and Albert Nkamukwereka.

The meeting was a huge success, filled with enthusiasm and new ideas for the coming year. We look forward to meeting with the Council again soon!

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