The U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie S. Sullivan, has said efforts to ensure that the young generation of Africans are empowered, forms a key component of their partnership with Africa.
“Across the continent, the United States partners with national and local governments, civil society organizations, and citizens from all walks of life to advance mutually reinforcing goals of democracy, prosperity, and stability.”
“I cannot emphasize enough how critical youth engagement is in our pursuit of those goals,” she added.
Speaking at a reception in honor of the 2019 Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF) cohort, Ambassador Sullivan extolled the virtues of the MWF program, the exchange programs. She said they do not only provide professional skills and networking opportunities, but they also form friendships and bonds between Ghana and the US.
This goodwill, she noted, leads to sustained relationships with tangible outcomes that contribute positively to Ghana’s development.
The ceremony was also attended by Ghanaian alumni from YALI and other U.S. Government exchange programs from previous years.
Since the inception of the Fellowship, the U.S. Government has committed significant resources to enhance leadership skills, bolstering entrepreneurship, and connecting young leaders from across Sub-Saharan Africa.
This year, the U.S. Embassy in Ghana selected 32 people, through a rigorous competitive process. They comprise leaders from business, the public sector, and non-governmental organizations.
A total of 700 African leaders between the ages of 25-35 will participate in the Fellowship and hone their skills at a U.S. higher education institution with support for further professional development after they return to their home countries.
Upon their return, the 2019 cohort will join over 200 Ghanaian Mandela Washington Fellowship alumni. Beyond that, they will become part of the larger U.S. – Ghana Alumni Association, which numbers in the thousands, all bound by their shared experience of participating in an educational or cultural exchange program in the United States.
The Fellowship focuses on leadership and skills development in one of three tracks: Business, Public Management, or Civic Engagement
The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of YALI. Launched in 2010, YALI seeks to invest in the next generation of African leaders to spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Sub-Saharan Africa.
The initiative contains three programs – the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the YALI Regional Leadership Center Program, and the online platform YALI Network.