Chargè d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy
at the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship
Pre-Departure Orientation Reception
May 10, 2017
(As prepared for delivery)
Salaam! Good evening ladies and gentlemen, friends.
I would like to acknowledge several esteemed guests:
Nicole Chulick, the Deputy Coordinator for Products in the Bureau of International Information Programs at the Department of State;
Tau Shanklin-Roberts and Niki Deanda, also from the Bureau of International Information Programs, who led a three-day training workshop;
Kelly King, Program Officer for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the Department of State.
First of all, congratulations to all the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders finalists and alternates! You’ve selected for one of the most exciting, inspiring and life-changing exchange programs from the Department of State.
Most of you spent the day at the Embassy’s Satchmo Center learning about the Fellowship – what to expect, what you’ll be doing for six-weeks in the United States. When you depart for the United States next month, this will mark the start of a new chapter in your life.
Briefly, the Mandela Washington Fellowship is one component of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). The other two components of YALI are:
- the YALI Network which provides virtual resources to learn, to connect and to gain new skills; and the Regional Leadership Centers which provides training, mentoring and networking opportunities in Dakar, Nairobi and Johannesburg.
YALI was launched in 2010 to recognize and support the critical and increasing role of African youth in strengthening democratic institutions, increasing economic growth and prosperity, enhancing peace and security across Africa. Nearly one in three Africans are between the ages of 10 and 24, and approximately 70 percent of Ethiopia’s total population is below the age of 35.
The Young African Leaders Initiative – with its components: the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the YALI Network, and the Regional Leadership Centers – are signature programs of the Department of State to invest in the next generation of African leaders.
What I love most about the Mandela Washington Fellowship is that all of you are future African leaders – whether in business, academia, public health, civil society, in your communities – dynamic visionaries who will make an impact.
Tonight is an opportunity to meet my colleagues, alumni of the 2016, 2015 and 2014 Mandela Washington Fellowship, key partners and friends. When you return in July or after your Professional Development Experience, we look forward to hearing about your experience and engaging with you.