Executive Staff

Dr Ken Baucom


Dr Baucom, AERLA Director, is an American who has been involved in education in Africa for over 35 years. Some years ago he was the founder of a company which at the time had over 30,000 students per year, the largest private education body in Africa. He gave the company over to its users.  He has written numerous school books’, other monographs journal articles, produced educational television, and has served as the global education manager of the De Beers Diamond Corporation and its sister company, the Anglo American Corporation – at the time the worlds largest mining group. He has served as education consultant to Africa’s largest corporations.

Also an academic in the United States, Dr. Baucom has taught at Radford University, the University of Hartford, the University of Georgia, the University of South Carolina, and The Citadel, the official military college of the State of South Carolina.  At The Citadel Dr. Baucom taught African political systems in the Political Science Department. In South Africa Dr. Baucom has directed M.A. and Ph.D students in education at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

Dr. Baucom is also the founder of several NGOs and of the North American International School in Pretoria, South Africa. In cooperation with industries in Africa, Ken has been involved in setting up 86 schools. Dr. Baucom came to South Africa originally to work with the Institute of Race Relations. He has worked in a number of African countries.

Dr Scott Firsing

Firsing US FlagDr Firsing is an AERLA co-founder now based in the USA where he teaches at university. He also serves as an Adjunct Research Fellow at Monash University, and as a Fellow at the Institute for Global Dialogue based at the University of South Africa. Dr Firsing is a former Senior Lecturer and Head of the International Studies department at Monash, and also a former executive at the Africa’s largest privately owned defense/aerospace company Paramount Group.

Dr Firsing is passionate about the youth and leadership. In 2011, he founded the African NGO, Young People in International Affairs. In 2012, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) selected Dr Firsing as an African leader and he subsequently attended intensive leadership training in the UK. Overall, he has won numerous awards in research, teaching and community engagement, and frequently contributes analysis on education and the international relations of Africa to global media such as Al-Jazeera, AP, BBC, CNBC Africa and others.

John BayneGeneral (ret) John Bayne- Recently retired South African Air Force (SAAF) Brigadier General John Bayne is AERLA’s Commandant, providing significant input into the military and aviation side of AERLA.

General Bayne joined the SAAF in 1972 and flew the Impala and Cheetah’s for 14 years. This was followed by commanding the 85 combat flying school and leading the silver falcons for three years. More recently, he spent 2000-2005 in the UK on the Hawk project, which he then implemented in SA. From 2009 until is retirement in July 2014, General Bayne was the Director of Combat Systems in the SAAF.