Name: Umar Danilo Ali
Year of Graduation: Spring 2023
Academic Activities: Business Case Competition & Hult Prize
Non-Academic Activities: Director of Strategic Planning and External Relations in a technical school and Advisory in Youth Parliament of Mozambique.
Umar Danilo Ali is a 2nd year, 3rd Semester from Mozambique, who is currently undecided with his major but is leaning Strategic Management and Organization. He considers himself to be a social activist, a pan Africanist and as an aspiring young entrepreneur. In addition, he is also interested in education and using at as the key to develop Africa. In the interview, Umar talks about his experiences, aspirations, as well as what he does outside of the classroom, and academic setting.
(What brought you to Japan and APU)
Umar main reason for coming to Japan is because of the country’s modernization, technology and developmental progress. Japan’s ability to develop over a short period of time and emerge into a first world country. His interest is in understanding how and why Japan were able to accomplish this feat, and whether their method would be applicable in aiding in Africa’s development. In regard to APU specifically, the multi-cultural environment and opportunity to interact with many different cultures and individuals. The opportunity to be in a place and represent his country, and act as an ambassador to the people you interact with of your home country. In addition, the opportunity to alleviate stereotypes and educate the rest of the world about Africa. Lastly, the quality of education in Japan is significantly higher than in Mozambique, as well as the employment rate being extremely high.
(In your time at APU, what have you learnt about APU)
In his time at APU, he’s learnt a lot about the discipline that is deep rooted in Japanese culture. Requiring a high level of self-awareness and self-discipline in order to fit into the different cultural requirements but is a very necessary skill for any professional. Adopting a mindset and way of life that he describes as “almost the opposite” of African culture. On the other hand, he’s taken time to try and get a deeper understanding of Japanese culture and the way of life in Japan in order to immerse himself into the society, and he’s gotten the opportunity to adopt the mannerisms and societal norms by virtue of his involvement in various activities and his interactions. Lastly, he has learnt a lot about the role of empathy and consideration within decision makers in Japan. He believes that leadership centred around those principles is the key to development and productivity.
(What skills would you like to acquire in the future and Aspirations)
Umar believes that Data Analysis as a skill, in addition to information technology-oriented skills, is essential in businesses management due to the fast pace nature of the worlds technological advancements. Umar’s main priority is to help build Africa, using Japan and AP as a means to acquire the knowledge and experience to be able to effectively make a difference in Africa. He has a deep passion for education and using it as a tool for development and modernization. He places education as a seg-way to development and advancement. Being able to provide Africans with education about Africa and being given the tools to “decolonize” their minds and disassociate from the belief that African education disqualifies you from being as competent as someone who received a western education as well as teaching the youth that they are the ones who have the true power to make the change within their country. He places teaching the youth about ethics rather than about skills of prime importance, in addition to teaching them about the country itself, stating “how can you change our country if you don’t understand our history.” He believes that there is a lot of potential in Africa and the key is to abandon the colonized mind-set.
(Activities outside of academics)
Through his passion for education and desire to develop his home country, and Africa as a whole he is currently working as a Director of Strategic Planning and External Relations in a technical school, where his role is centred around monitoring and innovating the curriculum. His intention is to build a lusophonic African leadership academy, centred around the same principles as the Africa Leadership academy. The school itself is going to be located in Cape Verde and will be open to cater to lusophonic students. In addition, he was part of the Youth Parliament of Mozambique as an advisory. Where he had the opportunity to get first-hand experience to issue such as Child Marriage and child labour which affect children in Mozambique as well as the whole of Africa.
(Learnings and Alumni Preference)
According to Umar Knowledge comes from real-life experience rather than educational experience. He believes that your occupation does not affect the value of the advice you would have to give, he’s open to listening to anyone that would be willing to give him advice. He believes, any perspective and advice he receives, even if not applicable immediately could be applicable at a later point in his life.