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Awakening the leader within: Columba Leadership Academy Alumnus as Youth delegate at CoP28

Columba Leadership wants young people to become alive to their potential and to recognize their ability to lead change in their own lives, their schools and communities. Founded in 2009, the aim continues to ensure that high schools in South Africa are capacitated to make values, youth engagement and youth-adult partnerships part of the school culture and foster conducive environments for development, learning and teaching.With a footprint of 277 schools across 7 provinces, 11 259 principal, educator and learner graduates and over 7000 out of school alumni, a remarkable young leader, Lindani Zungu, who is now a senior at New York University, in Abu Dhabi is aColumba Leadership programme alumni who continues to demonstrate a multifaceted academic journey encompassing Political Science, Sustainability and Business. This young man is committed to fostering social progress and sustainability across Africa.

His story serves as beacon of inspiration, and demonstrates that education, vision and determination can shatter barriers and redefine norms. This youth leader has made transformative changes in his life, inspired by the 6 values that are used as catalyst for youth leadershipprogramme at Columba. A programme that has long been recognized for its impact, and the achievements of its alumni continue to solidify its reputation as a cradle of future leaders.

Lindani Zungu is a testament to the transformative power of values-based leadership. He is a Columba Leadership programme alumni, who has emerged as a youth delegate at the prestigious 28th Conference of the Parties (CoP28). This milestone not only reflects hiscommitment to global environmental issues but also highlights the efficacy of institutions like Columba, dedicated to nurturing leadership qualities in young minds.

His journey from learner at Columba Leadership programme to a youth delegate at CoP28 is one marked by dedication, passion, and a commitment to creating positive change. The academy’s unique approach to leadership development, which is values-based and emphasizes both personal growth and community impact, has undoubtedly played a pivotal role in shaping Linda Zungu’s trajectory.

Columba Leadership Academy stands as a beacon of hope for aspiring young leaders. Established with the vision of empowering South Africa’s youth, the academy’s curriculum goes beyond conventional education. It integrates leadership training, character development, and community engagement,providing learners with a holistic foundation for success using

 awareness, focus, creativity, integrity, perseverance and serviceas value systems.

The academy’s commitment to instilling a sense of responsibility towards societal issues has evidently borne fruit. The CoP28 appointment of one of our alumni as a youth delegate underscores the global relevance of the values instilled at Columba Leadership. Zungu’s journey is a testament to the academy’s success in nurturing not just academic achievers but socially conscious individuals ready to make a difference on the world stage.

The Conference of the Parties (CoP) is a crucial platform where world leaders, policymakers, and advocates converge to discuss and address pressing environmental issues. CoP28, being the 28th iteration of this global summit, is set to be a pivotal moment in the ongoing battle against climate change. Having a youth delegate from Columba Leadership present at such a forum reflects the academy’s commitment to producing leaders who are not just aware of global challenges but are actively engaged in finding solutions. The role of youth in addressing environmental challenges cannot be overstated. Young leaders bring fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and an unparalleled passion for creating a sustainable future. Columba’s emphasis on empowering South African youth to take charge and contribute positively to society aligns perfectly with the urgent need for global youth involvement in environmental advocacy.

The academy’s unique blend of mentorship, experiential learning, and community service prepares learners not only academically but also emotionally and socially. This comprehensive values-based approach equips graduates with the skills needed to navigate complex global issues, such as climate change, with confidence and resilience.

The accomplishment of having a Columba Leadership Academy alumna/us as a youth delegate at CoP28 serves as an inspiration for current and future youth. It demonstrates that regardless of one’s background, with the right education and mindset, young individuals can become influential voices in global conversations on crucial matters like climate change.

As a youth delegate at CoP28, Zungu is not just a passive observer but an active participant in shaping the discourse. Hispresence signifies the importance of including diverse voices, particularly those of the younger generation, in the decision-making processes that will determine the future of our planet.

Lindani Zungu used his platform at CoP28 to advocate for sustainable practices and policies. His unique perspective, rooted in the academy’s values of ethical leadership and community service, can potentially influence global strategies aimed at mitigating climate change and promoting environmental sustainability. The impact of this achievement extends beyond the individual alumni. It serves as a testament to the efficacy of institutions that prioritize holistic development. The ripple effect of this accomplishment is felt not only within the academy but also throughout the broader community, inspiring others to pursue education as a means of empowerment and positive change.

The representation of Zungu as a youth delegate at CoP28 is a milestone that reflects Columba Leadership commitment to shaping leaders who are not only academically proficient but also socially responsible. It highlights the transformative power of education in creating individuals who can actively contribute to global discussions and work towards a sustainable and equitable future. As we celebrate this achievement, it is a reminder of the potential within every young mind and the crucial role we play in nurturing the leaders of tomorrow. We invite you to help us awaken leaders who will change lives and their communities just like Lindani Zungu.


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