Journalism lecturer Asanda Ngoasheng recently joined leading decision makers from around the world in Austria for the ninth edition of the prestigious Austrian Leadership Programs (ALPS).
The program, which is run by Austria’s Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, gives participants the opportunity to establish a strong long-term network while spending a unique week in Austria.
Ngoasheng was nominated for the programme by a previous recipient.
The week-long programme included a meeting with Austria’s Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl and Secretary-General Michael Linhart at the Foreign Ministry as well as a visit to the United Nations Headquarters.
Ngoasheng said one of the highlights was delivering a talk, titled Changing the African Narrative, at the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue in Vienna.
“It centred on how Africa is no longer the centre of the four D’s – destruction, death, disease and drought. There is more to Africa than that and I spoke on some of the developments on the continent, including the fact that Rwanda is leading in terms of technology, South Africa is leading in term of science with the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Project and other successes.”
Ngoasheng took many lessons from the experience.
“The main lesson was that sometimes you think the work you do has little impact outside your home country until you speak to others doing the same work globally and then you realise the global impact of your work.
“When I was in Austria I spoke to cultural diplomats about the diversity and transformation work I do and found that they were interested in the tools I use and the methodology I rely on as they are tackling an immigration crisis and need to open dialogue between citizens and immigrants.”
Her experience will help to enrich her students’ knowledge.
Among other things Ngoasheng met the spokesperson for the Austrian government and the Head of the Vorarlberg State – both interactions which will be beneficial for her Political Reporting class.
She also visited many companies, which will allow her to teach her Business Reporting class about business at a local, national and global level.
“Austria is about to become the European Union Chairperson and so their international relations importance is increasing. It is important for me to know about them and impart the knowledge to my Political Reporting students so they have a better understanding of global politics and regional integration leadership.”