Global Advocacy for African Affairs
Education Leadership/Governance

60 Young Nigerians for Mandela Fellowship in US

United States Mission to Nigeria is to send 60 young Nigerians to participate in the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship programme for six weeks from June 18 to August 2.

US Embassy in Nigeria confirmed this recently in Abuja. According to the Embassy, the participants would join other African fellows in the US for the programme.

”The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship programme of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

”It is composed of academic coursework, leadership training, and networking.

”Total of five out of the 60 fellows will remain in the US for an additional six weeks to participate in a professional development experience at select companies and organisations,” the embassy stated.

According to the embassy, through this initiative, 28 US universities will host 700 young leaders from sub-Saharan Africa.

The young leaders would be in various US institutes focused on public management, business and entrepreneurship, and civic leadership.

It stated that Nigeria’s fellows represent the largest cohort from any one country.

It stated that as part of the orientation, the US Embassy invited three leading Nigerian professionals to participate in a mentoring workshop

”The professionals included Afolabi Imoukhuede, Senior Special Advisor to the Vice President on Job Creation; Serah Makka-Ugbabe, ONE Campaign Country Director; and Lawrence Afere, 2014 MWF alumnus and founder of Springboard Farms.

”All three of them shared unique perspectives on leadership and opportunity,” it stated.

It noted that Imoukhuede quoted Nelson Mandela in speaking about Nigeria’s importance to the future of Africa.

It added that Makka-Ugbabe remarked that “these are the faces we’ve been waiting for.”

It also quoted Mr. Afere who concluded the workshop as explaining how his fellowship experience “gave him wings to fly” with his business success.

It explained that the US Embassy Counselor for Public Affairs Mr Aruna Amirthanayagam stated that more than 11,000 Nigerians applied to participate in the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship programme.

“After the review by our partner NGO, after a reading by members of the Mission Nigeria community, after an interview in either Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan, Akure, Enugu, Port Harcourt, and Calabar, a total of 60 young Nigerians were selected”, he said.

Amirthanayagam further explained that, Nigeria had the largest single cohort from any country in Africa.

”This is in recognition of the fact that the US-Nigerian relationship is one of the most important, not only in Africa, but in the world, ” he said

It also quoted the Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, David Young, as urging the fellows to be generous with the unique opportunity they had been given.

“The U.S. is making an investment in you through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking.

”You will return to Nigeria later this summer with increased capital. Share that wealth with others.

”The Mandela Washington Fellowship and the larger YALI program embody the US government’s commitment to investing in the future of Africa,” he said.


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