Social Justice Networks in Action

Alyssa Rickard ’12 works for the Africa Department of Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights. The organization’s Johannesburg (South Africa) office–and Rickard–are working on a project seeking people in southern Africa to serve as mentors to 20 Fellows of a Freedom House program called Empowerment of a New Generation of Leaders in Southern Africa (ENGLSA). The Fellows (and prospective mentees) are men and women between 25 and 45 years old from government, private sector and civil society organizations in Namibia and South Africa, all of whom are committed to ethical leadership and accountable governance. Prospective mentors will use one-on-one and group meetings as well as virtual interactions to mentor, drawing from their personal experiences and professional backgrounds to serve as trusted counselors, loyal advisors, sounding boards and coaches to mentees. Mentors will help the Fellows reflect on their developing competencies and enhance their leadership capacity. In her work, Rickard, who earned her B.A. as a political science major, is drawing on some of her own undergraduate mentors as resources, specifically the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership’s Lisa Brock and Prexy Nesbitt. Rickard took the College’s course on Nelson Mandela, co-taught by Brock and Nesbitt, and later joined one of Nesbitt’s trips to Africa. Both Brock and Nesbitt have extensive networks of social justice leaders in southern Africa that might help Rickard and Freedom House recruit the mentors for ENGLSA. The connection is one example of the worldwide impact of the ACSJL.