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ALI is an evidence-based identity development program that seeks to drive a paradigm shift that transforms how youth of African descent see their world and their possibilities by first transforming how they see themselves (their past, present, and future) and the continent of Africa. ALI aims to improve outcomes for Black teenagers by instilling cultural pride, increasing self-awareness, facilitating critical thinking, and teaching 21st century skills. The program has three parts and culminates in a birthright trip to Ghana.

Image by Billy Chester

Part one: Where do I come from?

Scholars begin the journey of self-discovery by taking an African Ancestry DNA test, learning about Africans and the continent of Africa, and hypothesizing what their ancestral DNA results will be. The scholars then participate in an overnight educational trip to Washington, D.C. with guided tours of Howard University, the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. Scholars also participate in a unique critical thinking experience curated by world-class Egyptologist, Anthony Browder.

Part two: Where am I now?

While their African Ancestry DNA results are being analyzed, ALI scholars will begin Part 2 of ALI: Influencer Academy and begin African Link Initiative’s TEDx (TED-Ed) Club. As an approved club by the TED organization, African Link Initiative teaches public speaking and prepares its scholars to record TEDx (TED-Ed) Talks. Five ALI scholars are now published speakers on the TEDx (TED-Ed) global platform.

Part three: Where can I grow from here?

Influencer Academy is followed by Part 3 of ALI: Teen Summit. In this open forum of facilitated conversations, youth are encouraged to unpack and re-think individual, group, and cultural constructs. Teens explore their ideals about how they see themselves both today and tomorrow. The goal is for teens to learn by doing – practicing a growth mindset, thinking critically, improving self-awareness and accountability, being curious, journaling, and challenging their own paradigms, biases and stereotypes. 


Birthright Trip to Ghana

ALI culminates with a Homecoming Trip to Ghana to experience African culture firsthand and visit the historical sites of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. This 14-day experience starts in Washington, D.C. with a diplomatic VIP sendoff at the Embassy of Ghana. In Ghana, teens will meet with their Ghanaian peers, take part in a youth-led community service project, an African Tribal naming ceremony and so much more. Each night, teens will spend time reflecting, journaling, and sharing their thoughts and feelings about their experiences.



Shazel Muhammad is the founder and lead consultant at Eunoia Global, a leadership training and coaching firm. She specializes in helping individuals and organizations get from where they are now, to where they want to be. Through Eunoia, she also develops and executes programs that empower youth around the globe. Shazel’s life mission is to connect with the people that God puts on her path, and together, cultivate the best in humanity by first cultivating the best in ourselves. 

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