DA alumna Hawa Kebe on her career since graduating from DLG 47 in 2011

Hawa KebeI have been working for UNIDO for seven years now, designing and implementing projects to promote youth and women entrepreneurship in the agribusiness sector in West Africa. My passion for private sector development and job creation has always been a key driver in the career choices I have made so far. Ever since my early student years, subjects that have caught my particular attention included economic development, trade agreements, international trade, international relations and foreign languages. However, along the way my pragmatism and natural inclination to identify key challenges, to provide tangible solutions and to transform abstract concepts into concrete realities have eventually led me to pursue a career in project management. And I can tell you that I love what I am doing today. In addition to planning and execution dimensions, I particularly enjoy the variety of stakeholders I am engaging with, having to juggle their different expectations and sometimes conflicting agendas. A day is never like the other, as challenges come in various forms and shapes.

I joined the DA by enrolling in the 47th DLG in 2010, which is now quite some years ago… I have many great memories from my time at the Diplomatic Academy as I have experienced memorable social events and made meaningful personal connections. Some of the students I have met during this intensive one-year programme are still my friends today. My year at the DA was also exciting for the very reason that it was my first introduction to Vienna and Austrian culture. Not only did I enjoy the multicultural setting, but the reputation and the education provided by the DA have definitely proven to be an asset. The DA has opened doors for me professionally without a shadow of a doubt.

My advice to current students is to keep in mind their own professional aspirations or at least areas of interest which will help them to navigate the professional opportunities and challenges and to capitalise on their experience at the DA. As the saying goes, “there is no favourable wind for someone who does not know where he is heading”. I am now part of a vast and highly international network of alumni.

Passionate about entrepreneurship, women empowerment and personal development, I have launched SETI (, a platform aiming at celebrating African creativity beyond the continent. It aims at showcasing new faces of African women whose talent and achievements are contributing to a greater purpose. Indeed, I have a strong desire to promote a new narrative for I sincerely believe that each and every one of us has a unique set of skills and talents that can improve our immediate environment and the world at large. Because we all need inspiration and role models to reach our full potential, I felt the need to provide a safe space to connect, grow and inspire each other. More than a platform, SETI provides webinars and trainings, talks, networking events. Finally, it offers a unique opportunity to bridge buildings and break barriers.

As a self-professed dreamer and a staunch advocate for innovation through constructive criticism, I am committed to take part in initiatives that foster collaboration and high-impact entrepreneurship. I don’t know what the future holds but I am ready to take up any challenge!

[March 2021]