News / Africa

Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Programi
X
Laurel Bowman
July 29, 2014 10:18 AM
President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Laurel Bowman

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Iniative brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business.  Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted.

At a townhall with program participants Monday, the president announced the program was being renamed in honor of Nelson Mandela.

"The spirit of this program reflects Madiba’s optimism, his idealism, his belief in what he called “the endless heroism of youth," President Obama said.

The initiative will now be known as the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

Intensive coursework is part of the six-week program.  And the fellows are also visiting major U.S. corporations, volunteering at community-level organizations and meeting local government leaders.

Eric Ntumba of the Democratic Republic of Congo is studying public management at the University of Arkansas in the town of Fayetteville, where he got to meet Fayetteville’s mayor.

“We are learning from people who are already high-profile public servants or high profile political actors and that’s really, really interesting and insightful," Ntumba said.

A big part of the experience is the chance to meet and exchange ideas with other young African leaders who share their aspirations.  

Sani Bello and Amina Ahmed, both from Nigeria, say this is an important achievement in the time they have spent as fellows at Howard University. 

“We are from different countries but we are all thinking in the same direction: how do we develop our countries?  How do we develop the continent?," they explained.

Amina and Sani are coming to the end of their stay in Washington.  During a class at Howard University’s business school, students presented their ideas to one another.

Amina and Sani both said the business classes have been life-changing.  But they say it’s the American spirit of volunteerism that they hope to put to use right away.

“Service leadership, giving to the community, paying it forward," they explained.

“Leadership is not just about leading.  It’s also about serving," added Sani Dantuni Bellow, also a fellow.

Between classes and site visits, each of the Nigerian students had a chance to rest at their apartments and reflect on their experiences.

" I want to check my Facebook," confided Amina. "Education is power.  With education you get liberated.  With education you become empowered.”

“There are some things that we can do on our own to drive development," noted Sani.

After the VOA interview, the group headed to visit a Washington think tank.  And soon they will travel back to Africa, and move forward toward their bright futures as Africa’s rising stars.

You May Like

Analysis: China Raises Hong Kong Rhetoric to Tiananmen Level

A front-page commentary in The People’s Daily called the current demonstrations 'chaos,' the same word Party officials used 25 years ago to describe the Tiananmen Square protests More

US Airstrikes Anger Syrian Civilians Fleeing Their Homes

Pentagon officials say they have seen no credible evidence of civilian deaths caused by US airstrikes against Islamic State militants More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: SYLVESTER BAAR from: BENUE STATE
August 16, 2014 4:31 PM
KEEPUP THE GOOD WORK


by: SYLVESTER BAAR from: BENUE STATE
August 16, 2014 4:31 PM
KEEPUP THE GOOD WORK


by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
July 30, 2014 2:37 AM
We must not allow African youth to take responsibility for the irresponsible actions and shortcomings of our current leaders.
Our irresponsible leaders should be held accountable for their leadership actions.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid