New Year’s Message From Kectil Program

As 2016 comes to a close, we at the Malmar Knowles Family Foundation look back on 2016 with gratitude. 2016 was an organizational year that found us with many new tasks to create The Kectil Program, and no roadmap. We are not aware of any other Program that is organized and has the aspirational goals that Kectil has, so we had to construct this using our own vision. In fact, the aspirational goals themselves were created in 2016! Our goals are simple yet extraordinary and ambitious—to connect potential youth leaders in the developing countries in a forum for mentorship, networking, training and conversation about important topics concerning your own advancement to a leader who can give back to society with moral and intellectual contribution. Another goal is to emphasize that every youth is important and can make a positive difference when focused and enabled. A third goal is to connect potential youth leaders with global thought leaders on a range of subject in an easy format for both. We let these goals guide us.

We were fortunate to be able to make the first announcement of The Kectil Program in April 2016 at the Conference on Intellectual Property and Development hosted by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland (a United Nations agency). We were able to describe our vision to several hundred official representatives from developing countries, to a very positive response.

Our website,, was launched in June 2016. It took hundreds of hours to create the look, feel and content of the site to convey our goals, aspirations and enthusiasm as well as to build an application portal that youth could use to apply to the Program. We knew we were on our way when the first application was fully completed and submitted, with transcripts and recommendations, within one week of opening the portal, by a talented woman from Pakistan (shout out to Rabia)!

Between June 2016 and December 2016, to our amazement, almost 16,000 people from 82 countries visited the website! And over 1,700 youth registered on the site. We were overwhelmed with the response, which confirmed the need for this Program.

While youth were visiting the website and applying to the Program, we were busy behind the scenes securing faculty and mentors, and working actively with our Advisory Board to ensure that the Program is useful and meaningful to the participants. We reached out to corporations for web-session content, and Pfizer Corporation, Philips Electronics and AT&T stepped up to provide content for the inaugural 2017 year. We express our appreciation to these companies for their support.

In September, we engaged the help of The Talent Firm in Johannesburg, South Africa to take the lead on producing and editing the web-sessions with content provided by the faculty, companies and participants. We are very pleased that Nozipho Mbanjwa, a gifted communicator and broadcast anchor on CNBC South Africa focusing on business news in Africa, is taking the lead to assist us.

In December, we reviewed many applications and selected the 2017 inaugural Kectil Colleague group. We are thrilled with the diversity of countries, talents, cultures, views and goals.

We are blessed with the progress made in 2016, and now we are ready for the 2017 Kick-off!

Wishing you a wonderful New Year!

Sherry Knowles
The Kectil Program