Today is Boxing Day, and as I join people around the world to celebrate, I probably also share in the mix feeling of apprehension and excitement that approaching the end of the year is famous for. Apprehension for ticking of the clock for goals we couldn’t hit in the year, and excitement for the possibilities in the coming year. As these thoughts flux in and out of me, I can’t also help thinking of Africa, and the auspicious moment its in. An era where its prolonged birth pangs is about to bring in a fresh start, and a new generation bracing for business, social and ultimately political leadership.
On Christmas Day 2011 Africans still groan in these birth pangs;
Terrorist attacks on churches during Christmas celebration in Nigeria.
Egypt still in volatility of post revolution riots.
Congo pre election violence still erupts, and many more across the continent.
Now with the vantage point of viewing the continent from the eye of a Diaspora, I realize how easy it is to see the continent from the position of weakness and not of strength, and not seeing its challenges as merely the inevitable birth pangs for a fresh start. Moving forward into 2012, and thinking about my role, and a quick audit of 2011; In 2010 my goal was to go beyond borders and thankfully in 2011 I was able to do business, work, live and even impact beyond the borders.
Counting some of my many blessings in 2011:
· Leading across borders; managing Atlas Corps Nonprofit Management Series with participation from 30 countries and a worldwide alumni network is truly a cross border experience.
· Inspiring audiences across borders; from my small social media boot camps in Lagos Nigeria to speaking at George Washington University on LinkedIn for nonprofits.
· Working with governments across borders; interfacing with United States Governments; the US Pentagon and DC state government. Attending the White House Nonprofit leadership Conference, and even a high level session with Ban Ki-moon the United Nations Secretary-General.
· Doing business across borders; my business plan written on regular paper with ink (without a laptop) in Lagos Nigeria was pitched to impact investors on Wall Street. Held Atlas Corps’ fundraising training inside American Express HQ in New York which for me was stepping into Corporate America.
· Found a church across the border; finding a spiritual home with the culture of that of your naitive country could be a challenging search. But thanks to God for leading me to Alpha course family of Jesus House DC, and the New Saints St Paul Baptist church.
These blessings could appear ordinary for some, but for me they are grandiose. I am thankful for the fruition of dreams now within my grasp and now in 2012, my one big goal and mission statement for the year is to Open the Borders of Africa for a free flow of service, work, business and innovation. Like the previous ones, I recognize this is audacious and the prognosis bleak but much more I recognize there is no stopping of an idea inspired for its time.