By Francis Mukuzunga WINDHOEK The Namibian chapter of the Pan-African Network of Leaders (PANeL) was launched in Windhoek last Thursday by the Minister of Education, Nangolo Mbumba. PANeL is an international action-oriented organization formed during a Pan African event in Nairobi, Kenya, in April 2005 and is built on the principles of leadership and good governance seminar held in Dakar, Senegal in 2006. PANeL has been established in 19 sub-Saharan African countries and its members come from different social, economic and cultural backgrounds. The organization aims at building a new genre of competitive leaders focused on African values and principles, be they in business, public or the private sector. PANeL is also part of the Pan-African InterAction Leadership programme sponsored by the British Council. A statement from the British Council says InterAction is a transformational leadership programme that works with dynamic and innovative individuals who want to make a difference in their organization, their communities and consequently their countries. Speaking at the official launch of the Namibian chapter of the organization and graduation of 11 participants in the past programme, Mbumba said humanity now needed competent leaders in various aspects of life. “Never in the history of humanity has leadership been more required than now. The human race is at the crossroads in ways too numerous to outline,” he told the gathering. Since 2004, Namibia has run two cycles of the programme, with nine participants in the first cycle (2004 to 2005), and 11 in the second (2005 to 2006) who graduated at the British Council last Thursday. A third cycle, for the year 2006 to 2007 has also started with 12 participants. “Cycle Three participants, you and your predecessors have been handed an opportunity to interact with Africa. Grasp it, embrace it and apply yourselves fully to optimally gain from it,” Mbumba told the current and would-be graduates. The training programme has had a big impact on many of the students that some have changed their careers; others have won prestigious awards and still others have ventured into their own businesses. Among the most notable of the graduands were Dr Victoria Nicodemus, the Namibia Business Woman of the Year winner for 2004, Charles Eichab, winner of many international grandmaster chess tournaments and an official of the Namibian Chess federation, and Jeremiah Muadinohamba, CEO of the Motor Vehicle Accident fund and winner of the 2006 Communicator of the Year award. UNAM student leader and director of ceremonies at the occasion, Juanita Goagoses, was one of the past participants of the programme. Julia Seitsang and Christiana Matsuis are educators who work passionately with youth activities within their communities and have made a big impact in their respective areas.