This week, nearly 1,000 of sub-Saharan Africa’s most promising young leaders are in Washington, D.C. to meet and collaborate with U.S. government, private sector, and civil society leaders as the culmination of their Mandela Washington Fellowship experience.
The Mandela Washington Fellows Presidential Summit starts today and here are some facts that can help you follow this event:
1. The Mandela Washington Fellows are successful young African leaders.
In 2014, President Obama launched the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, the flagship program of his Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), to help young African visionaries access the resources, training, and networks they need to become the next generation of leaders in all areas of society.
These Mandela Washington Fellows, who are all between the ages of 22 and 35, spend six weeks at colleges and universities throughout the United States honing their expertise and exchanging ideas in business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, and public management.
2. The U.S. Government is committed to the Mandela Washington Fellowship.
Nearly one in three Africans is between the ages of 10 and 24, and around 60 percent of Africa’s total population is below the age of 35. The Mandela Washington Fellowship is a key part of President Obama’s commitment to invest in the education and training of the continent’s next generation of leaders. The response has been huge, and, in 2016, the program has doubled to include nearly 1,000 Mandela Washington Fellows.
3. The Mandela Washington Fellowship is an investment in Africa.
To complete their Fellowship, the Mandela Washington Fellows network with U.S. leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors at the Presidential Summit. These collaborations help the Fellows build on the skills they developed during their time in the United States.
Upon return to their home countries, the Fellows work with U.S. embassies, the YALI Regional Leadership Centers, USAID, and affiliated partners to turn their plans into action. These experiences include access to mentoring, networking, training, professional development opportunities, and seed funding to support their ideas.
4. The YALI Network connects people across the Continent.
The YALI Network is another resource for our Mandela Washington Fellows. The Network was established in December 2013 as a way to provide personal and professional development resources to young Africans to effectively make positive change in their communities.
The over 250,000 members connect, collaborate, and network via the YALI Network Facebook page, Facebook group, and on Twitter.
5. Everyone can join-in on the Summit conversations.
Engage with us this week on our social media platforms using #YALI2016. Look out for updates on many of our Twitter handles, including @ECAatState, @ECA_AS, @YALINetwork, @StateDept, @stengel and @IIPState.
On Wednesday, August 3, we’ll start a SnapChat story on the @StateDept handle, and host a Facebook Live session on the State Department Facebook page. Follow an exclusive photo series on Instagram @ExchangeOurWorld, and send questions and reactions throughout the week.