Fifteen (15) young Liberians are currently in Washington, D.C. in the United States to participate in President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).
The Liberians are among other Africans at the fellowship in the United States, and they are to a three-day discussion with the President and then visit universities and colleges to undergo leadership training, networking and professional opportunities.
Those attending the fellowship include Abel W. Cheayan, Samuel T. Duo, Matthew M. Fred, Benjamin M. Freeman, Jr., Laura Golakeh and James A. Greaves. Others are Phillip G. Innis, Sarah M. Johnson, Patrice D. Juah, Kolu M. Kamah, Mohammed B. Kamara, Sedekie B. Kamara, Yassah N. Lavelah, James K. Mulbah, Agiechie C. Sawyer.
The Washington Fellowship kicked off in 2010 with three Liberians including Amos T. Kofa and Bai S. G. Best in attendance. Andrew Giahyue and others participated in subsequent editions.
It is a key component of President Obama’s commitment to invest in the future of Africa, and its aim is to empower 500 Africa’s most promising young leaders through academic course at U.S. colleges and universities.
On campus, Fellows will participate in academic and leadership institutes in one of three areas including business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, and public management.
One hundred of the 500 Fellows, including three of Liberia’s 15 participants, will remain in the United States for professional fellowships at U.S. businesses, non-governmental organizations, and governmental offices.
The White House developed the initiative in recognition of the critical and increasing role that young Africans are playing in strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa.
Upon returning to their respective home countries, Fellows will engage in networking sessions and have access to seed funding and professional development opportunities.
Over 49,000 candidates from throughout Sub-Saharan Africa between the ages of 25 and 35 applied for the 2014 Washington Fellows, making the Washington Fellowship selection highly competitive.
The selected 500 Washington Fellows, 50 percent of whom are women, represent all 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
15 young leaders out of 850 applicants from Liberia were selected to participate in this year’s program.