We received a heart-warming letter from Chikezie Emmanuel Uzuegbunam who has been selected to be one of the 100 Brightest Young Minds in Africa. Chikezie is a PhD Scholar and a teaching assistant at University of Cape Town, South Africa. We are blessed to have him as one of our mentors right here on Opportunity Desk.
Read his success story letter below and be inspired!
It is with much elation that I write you. A couple of months ago, I stumbled upon an opportunity on Opportunity Desk to apply to be one of 100 Brightest Young Minds in Africa by an international leadership development organisation headquartered in South Africa: Brightest Young Minds.
The application process was rigorous as you had to send in a CV and answer lots of essay-like questions such as: Why do you feel you are qualified to be named one of Africa’s Brightest Minds and what distinguishes you from others? What do you perceive to be Africa’s greatest challenges? Tell us about some of the ground-breaking achievements you have been involved with?
Not that I didn’t believe that the work I have done as a young change agent deserved some recognition, but I was astonished, after about a month, to receive a letter that ended thus: ‘following the review of your application, we are delighted to confirm your #BYM2017 attendance! Congratulations on being one of Africa’s Brightest Young Minds in 2017!’
As an OD Mentor, this would be the first I would be successful with an application I learnt about from Opportunity Desk. As a mentor, I have always helped to polish applications for others and make them suitable. Long story short, I have just returned to Cape Town from Johannesburg where I was invited with other incredible bright minds from over 17 countries around the continent to participate in a partially-funded Summit that ran from 24 September until 29 September 2017.
Having been to most academic conferences internationally and locally in the past, this would remain the longest, most intense and life-changing one week of my life so far. This was a whole new, different and fantastic experience for me as a young scholar and leader on the continent. It is helping me come up with better social innovation ideas that would impact society aside from the academic research that I have been engaged with, providing new ways of thinking about making an impact with my work and passions.
There are no words to describe it. We were talking and learning about social innovation, technology, Big Data, Social Entrepreneurship, Business Financing, Project Development and Model Building global collaboratory innovation, Next Generation Social Innovation, to Volunteering, to mention a few. Government officials, United Nations representatives, social entrepreneurs, civil society groups and corporates were present and formed part of the facilitators for the workshops, seminars, training and group projects that formed part of the summit agenda.
My gratitude goes to BYM for their selection of me, and to OD for their hard work at bringing global competitive opportunities our way, every time. To everyone who has been trying to break through with some of these things, I leave you with these words: “Ever tried? Ever failed? Try again. Fail Again. Fail better. Your success is in those failures. You can either step forward into growth, or you can step backwards into safety. You make a choice”.
Congratulations Chikezie Emmanuel Uzuegbunam! Keep aiming for the sky!
For more information about 100 Brightest Young Minds, click Here!