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30 Zimbabweans selected for inaugural YALI Washington Fellowship

Harare, May 15, 2014: The U.S. Embassy announced this week that 30 Zimbabweans have been invited to participate in the first ever Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) Washington Fellowship.

These outstanding young Zimbabwean leaders will travel to the U.S. this June with over 470 other young African leaders for a six week program at one of 20 prestigious U.S. universities followed by a conference in Washington, D.C. hosted by President Obama.

The Zimbabwean recipients were selected from almost 1,500 applicants and represent an extraordinary, diverse group of leaders already making important contributions in entrepreneurship, civil society, and community service in their communities.

The participants are scheduled to arrive in the U.S. on June 14. Starting today NewsDay will exclusively feature each of the selected candidates through this forum.

The youth leaders met Ambassador Bruce Wharton and other Embassy officials last Thursday May 8th where they received additional information about the Fellowship program, posed questions to Embassy officials, and networked with each other.

“Together with President Obama, I congratulate this outstanding group of 30 young Zimbabwean leaders who will represent their country on this first year of the Washington Fellowship, “ said Ambassador Bruce Wharton. “I share President Obama’s vision for the Washington Fellowship and believe that your commitment, courage, and ‘yes, we can!’ attitude will lead sub-Saharan Africa into a new age of prosperity as it takes its place on the world stage.”

“Our only regret is that because of space constraints we were not able to send all of the qualified and worthy candidates who applied this year,” continued Ambassador Wharton. “But this is only the first year of this important initiative for our government in Africa. So I encourage all unsuccessful applicants to reapply next year and also to consider our other educational and professional exchange programs which can be found on our website: http://harare.usembassy.gov.”

The 2014 Fellows have diverse professional backgrounds, including media, technology, business, law, education, civil society, health, arts, and the environment.

Fellows will spend six weeks studying business and entrepreneurship or civic leadership at a U.S. institution of higher education before traveling to Washington, D.C. to participate in a three-day Summit hosted by President Obama.

The Washington Fellowship is the new flagship exchange program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). It will bring together over 500 young African leaders to the United States each year, starting in 2014, for leadership training, academic coursework and mentoring.

Five of the Zimbabwean participants will remain in the United States for an additional eight weeks after their university program to participate in internships in the private and non-profit sectors.

After the Fellowship program, the youth leaders will compete for grant funding to expand their businesses or projects in Zimbabwe.

The Washington Fellowship is the exchange program of the president’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). It will bring together 500 young African leaders to the United States this year for leadership training, academic coursework and mentoring.

After the Fellowship program, the youth leaders will compete for grant funding to expand their businesses or projects in Zimbabwe.

Five of the Zimbabwean Fellows will remain in the U.S. following the Summit to complete an internship in their field.

President Obama launched YALI in 2010 as a signature initiative that supports young African leaders as they work to spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across the continent.

Approximately 60 percent of Africa’s total population is below the age of 35.

Through YALI, the United States is investing in the next generation of African leaders, and has committed significant resources to enhance leadership skills, bolster entrepreneurship, and connect young African leaders with one another, with the United States, and with the American people.


President Obama announced the Washington Fellowship at a Town Hall with young African leaders on June 29 in Soweto last year.

The 500 Washington Fellows will arrive on June 14 for six weeks of academic coursework and training at 20 of America’s top universities (go here for a list of the universities participating). On July 28-30, they will participate in a Presidential Summit for the Fellows convened by President Obama in Washington, DC.

One hundred of the Fellows will stay on to participate in internships in the United States. Africa-based professional development, networking, and community engagement opportunities will be made available for all of the Fellows upon their return to their home countries.

Any citizen or resident of sub-Saharan Africa between 25 and 35 years was eligible to apply for the program. In this inaugural year, almost 50,000 candidates completed applications, including nearly 1,500 from Zimbabwe.

In a message to all those applied for the fellowship President Obama said,

“I launched this effort because I believe that the future of Africa will be defined by extraordinary young people like you, and the United States wants to be your partner. At our town halls at the White House and in Soweto, and in my meetings with young people across Africa, you’ve shown me that you have the talent, the drive, and the determination to become the next generation of African leaders.”


In addition to announcing those selected for the Washington Fellowship this year, President Obama also announced this week the Young African Leaders Initiative Network – or YALI Network, a virtual community that connects young African leaders with resources from the U.S. government and to one another.

Anyone can sign up to receive updates and other opportunities available for young African leaders from the U.S. government by going to this link: Join the YALI Network

Categories: General
  1. July 28, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Reblogged this on Zimdev and commented:

    500 Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, among them them 30 Zimbabweans, are at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington to meet United States President Obama.

    The three day Presidential conference that starts today will see the Sub-Saharan most promising leaders meet with entrepreneurs, government officials and civil society representatives.

    The Presidential Summit follows six weeks of academic study at 20 institutions across the United States as part of the Washington Fellowship.John Kerry has just paid tribute to the work that Zimbabwean Zandile Lambu (pictured below) is doing in technology.“Obama talked about a great spirit in one Zimbabwean YALI participant, Abigail Muleya from Binga, who has several bus rides just to get her interview.

  1. October 9, 2014 at 12:49 pm

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