Better Future Foundation, BFF, a Liberia-based youth entrepreneurial skills and development organization, has embarked on an intense public awareness campaign for mass participation of Liberian youth and students in the Mandela Washington Fellowship for young African leaders.
The program is scheduled to be held in the United States next year.
Through the Fellowship, renamed in honor of former South African President and Nobel Peace Laureate, the late Nelson Mandela, 500 most promising young Africa leaders travel to the United States each year to gain the skills and connections they need to accelerate their own career trajectories.
The program also enables young Africans, under the age of 35, to undergo six weeks of academic and leadership training at top US universities in one of three spheres, Business and Entrepreneurship, Civil Leadership and Public Management.
Speaking Saturday, in the edifice of the YBB Youth Enhancement Center for Peace Democracy & Development on Peace Island, New Hope in Paynesville, James Mlubah, a young Liberian entrepreneur who, in June, 2014, participated in the Mandela Washington Fellowship in the US and performed with credit and distinction, urged Liberian youth and students to strive for the unparalleled opportunities that the fellowship offers for young African leaders.
Mr. Mlubah said Liberian youth who would be meritoriously selected to form part of the total of 500 young African leaders for the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship, will have the opportunity not only to interact with United States President, Barack Obama, but also participate in a six-week leadership and other mentoring programs at world class American universities. They will also meet with US government, civic and business leaders among others.
Another Liberian youth who in June, 2014, participated in the program in the USA, characterized it as immensely resourceful in building the capacities of young Africans to effectively contribute to sustainable peace, development and democratic governance in many countries on the African Continent.
Mr. Kamara also encouraged Liberian youths who are the future leaders of the country to embrace the spirit of competition in all spheres of life by developing confidence in their individual abilities and output.
Meanwhile, BFF President Augustine S. Arko, the convener of the orientation workshop, cautioned young Liberians to explore opportunities for academic and professional advancement at all times.
“As you prepare to apply for the Mandela Washington fellowship, volunteer in the service of your communities, country and the larger society,” Mr. Arkoi concluded.
It may be recalled that in 2014, 15 young Liberians were selected after a meritorious vetting process by the US government through its Embassy near Monrovia to participate in the Mandela Washington Fellowship program.
As part of the Young African Leaders Initiative, through which participants also have opportunities to expand their individual businesses and projects via access to millions of dollars for small grant funding, the 15 fellows from Liberia, two of who were members of BFF, joined 485 other promising young Africans to participate in an intensive six-week executive leadership training, networking, and skills building in the US.
Application for the Mandela Washington Fellowship is open to all as applicants and are not being discriminated against on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, socioeconomic status, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Some of the African countries participating in the fellowship program include Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, central African Republic, Chad, democratic Republic of Congo, republic of the Congo, Cote d’Iivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea.
Others are The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Mali, Nigeria, Liberia, among others.