Past Successes

The Emerging Leaders Programme (ELP)

ELP was a joint program of the Center at Duke and the Southern Africa-United States Centre for Leadership and Public Values in the Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town. Over six years (2002-2008), ELP trained 135 Fellows - rising mid-career leaders from southern Africa and the United States in the principles and practices of servant leadership. ELP served as the model for the Louisiana Effective Leadership Program (LaELP).

Among ELP's many distinguished graduates are The Most Reverend Thabo Makgoba, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town; the Honorable Michael Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia; General Ntsiki Motumi, the South Africa Defence Force's first female general officer; Esther Benjamin, Director of Global Operations, United States Peace Corps; Reginald Stanley, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Calvert Investments; Christopher Howard, President, Hampden-Sidney College; Yolie Flores Aguilar, Vice President of the Board of the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest in the United States; Benjamin Kodisang, Managing Director, Old Mutual Properties; and General Tsepe Motumi, Acting Secretary of Defence, South Africa.

See Fellows' assessments of their Fellowship experience

The Center is actively engaged with many of its alumni/ae (from ELP and LaELP) in developing an active alumni networking organization, using such techniques as "webinars" and other internet-based communication tools. The goal is to learn from and support one another along our individual but often intersecting leadership journeys.

The Binational Civil Society Forum and "Renewing Struggles for Social Justice: A Primer for Transformative Leaders"

Through five annual 3-day meetings (2002-2006), the Forum brought together 68 South African and American nonprofit leaders as members and 30 others as resource persons (speakers, panelists, site visit hosts) to share ideas about critical challenges facing our two nations' civil sector. Our common goal was achieving social and economic equity. As discussions matured, the Forum defined three areas of pressing and common concern: effectively combating HIV/AIDS among low-income people; advancing the cause of restorative justice for those groups of people who have experienced uncommon and often persistent injustice; and supporting self-help initiatives of low income people and their communities.

The Forum's work resulted in Renewing Struggles for Social Justice: A Primer for Transformative Leaders (2008), authored by the Center's Deputy Director, Lance C. Buhl with contributions on HIV/AIDS by Forum members Kathryn Whetten and Rachel Whetten and a preface by Ambassador James A. Joseph. It is also available upon request to the Center and can be purchased on's Kindle. 6 Forum members included the Rev. Ivan Abrahams, Presiding Bishop, Methodist Church of South Africa; Ivye Allen, President, Foundation for the Mid-South; Russel Ally, a member of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission and now at the Ford Foundation; John Barros, ELP Fellow and Executive Director, Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (Boston); and Amelia Jones, CEO, Community Chest of the Western Cape; among others.

“Building Community Philanthropy Project”

The Center at Duke played a critical supporting role in "Building Community Philanthropy Project," a five-year project of the Southern Africa-United States Centre for Leadership and Public Values (University of Cape Town) on indigenous forms of philanthropy across that region. For example, Ambassador James A. Joseph chaired the project's advisory committee. With funding from the Ford Foundation, the project conducted original research on indigenous forms of philanthropy in more than 100 low-income communities (in Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. It identified the many and varying ways in which members of those communities effectively provide informal but frequent help to one another. And it suggested how formal philanthropy, to be effective in such communities, must replace typically vertical (top-down) with more horizontal (partnership-oriented) patterns of interaction.

The Ford Foundation provided funding for "Building Community Philanthropy." The project's book, The poor philanthropist: How and why the poor help each other (2005), was authored by Susan Wilkinson-Maposa (project manager), Alan Fowler (research director), Ceri Oliver-Evans (director of the Centre at UCT) and Chao F.N. Mulenga (project researcher). It is available also by contacting the Center at Duke.