Experience of a Lifetime: Young African Leaders Studying in the United States

From the University of California-Berkeley to Yale University, 500 young African leaders from sub-Saharan African countries are studying at academic institutions throughout the United States and gaining meaningful, life-changing experiences that will shape the way they interact with each other and help encourage further advancements in their respective fields.  These young Africans are the first wave of participants in the Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. 

On July 15, four Fellows from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, and Uganda joined Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield and Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan in a Google+ Hangout moderated by ABC News Digital Reporter Dana Hughes. The Fellows discussed their experiences studying in the U.S. and how they plan on applying what they’ve learned to their lives when they return home. I hope you take a moment to watch highlights from their conversation.

According to Adebayo Alonge of Nigeria, a Fellow currently studying business and entrepreneurship at Yale University, “there is no doubt that a program like this, this program here in the U.S. that helps to open the minds of African – young African leaders into the possibilities of creating businesses and growing across their value-creation structures and models across the continent, will lead to a situation where jobs will [be] created as these businesses are formed.”

Throughout June and July, Washington Fellows are studying one of three topics: business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, and public management in six-week academic programs at U.S. colleges and universities. The Fellows, ages 25-35, have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries. 

Afua Prempeh of Ghana describes the Washington Fellowship through her experience studying public management at Florida International University:  “this program very cleverly finds a way of bringing us together to network now and to build a better future for Africa.”

For more information on the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and the Washington Fellowship Program visit: yali.state.gov. 

Follow the Washington Fellows on Twitter at @WashFellowship and #YALI2014 and on Facebook at FB.com/WashingtonFellowship

About the Author: Yvonne Ribeiro-Yemofio serves as a Public Affairs Specialist in the Office of Digital Engagement at the U.S. Department of State.  



Donnadieu S.
July 20, 2014
Thank you for such great care and help.
Muyombi M.
Congo, Democratic Republic of the
July 21, 2014
The concepts of time and money never has a very easy thing for some of us , that is why we want to add your knowledge to the one we have. Every things those we can get by our intelligence,strength,those are not only for us,thèse are for all thé world and then we are only thé simply manager. brotherly and friendly!
Jean H.
July 22, 2014
This fellowship is very important for African Young Leaders to increase their Knowledge and I am interested.
Titus E.
Utah, USA
July 26, 2014
This is great! I loved it, I'm from Uganda but studying in Utah, U.S.A & wish i could participate in this kind of stuff given chance, I love politics as i'm also an up coming future leader of my country. Well done country mate Cyrus Salabwa, thanks for representing & you all did a great as well
Utsaha A.
October 2, 2014
The concept of Public management, leadership and Entrepreneurship is actually indispensable in all spheres of life. The YALI network is doing really great for Africa and I believe that the idea of networking young Africans will encourage brotherhood/unity and reinforce the stronghold in making our Africa better. Long Live Africa! Long Live Nigeria! Long Live YALI! Long Live the United States of America!
President Obama Hosts is "Forum with Young African Leaders" in the East Room of the White House
July 18, 2014


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