One thousand young African leaders will gather in Washington August 1-3 for the third annual Mandela Washington Fellowship Presidential Summit. Part of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), these fellows will network with business leaders, U.S. officials and each other.
But the main attraction will be President Obama’s town hall meeting.
Since 2014, the Mandela Washington Fellowship has brought 2,000 young Africans to the U.S. for six weeks of leadership training. Fellows are placed at one of 36 colleges and universities based on their interest in business, civic leadership or public management. Some fellows also participate in professional development at nonacademic organizations.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship represents just one facet of Obama’s initiative to support young Africans. The YALI Network, a virtual community, represents another. In the last year, the network has increased in size to nearly 250,000 members. They can access free online courses in topics ranging from climate change to entrepreneurship to human rights. All told, they have earned more than 130,000 course certificates. Many also take part in monthly online conversations with experts ranging from Cathy Russell, the U.S. ambassador for global women’s issues, to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
Both the Mandela Washington Fellowship and the YALI Network help young Africans as they work for a brighter future for their communities, their countries and their continent.