Five hundred young African leaders, including 15 Liberians, have arrived in the United States to take part in the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).
The Washington Fellowship aims to empower 500 of Africa’s most promising young leaders through academic coursework at U.S. colleges and universities, leadership training, networking, and professional opportunities.
The Washington Fellowship is a key component of President Obama’s commitment to invest in the future of Africa.
The White House developed this initiative in recognition of the critical and increasing role that young Africans are playing in strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa.
Over the next six weeks, the Washington Fellows will be hosted by colleges and universities.
On campus, Fellows will participate in academic and leadership institutes in one of three areas including business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, and public management.
All Fellows will convene in Washington D.C. for a three-day Presidential Summit, where they will engage in a Town Hall event with President Obama.
One hundred of the 500 Fellows, including three of Liberia’s 15 participants, will remain in the United States for professional fellowships at U.S. businesses, non-governmental organizations, and governmental offices.
Upon returning to their respective home countries, Fellows will engage in networking sessions and have access to seed funding and professional development opportunities.
Over 49,000 candidates from throughout Sub-Saharan Africa between the ages of 25 and 35 applied for the 2014 Washington Fellows, making the Washington Fellowship selection highly competitive.
The selected 500 Washington Fellows, 50 percent of whom are women, represent all 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Liberia selected 15 young leaders out of 850 applicants to participate in this inaugural program.