60 Zimbabweans selected for Mandela fellowship programme

HARARE - The United States Embassy in Harare has announced the selection of 60 young Zimbabwean leaders who have been invited to participate in President Barack Obama’s Mandela Washington Fellowship Programme for Young African Leaders.

Karen Kelley, the counsellor for Public Affairs at the embassy, said the participants were chosen through a highly competitive application process with more than 1 600 candidates having submitted applications for the programme.

“The list has 31 males and 29 females. 19 participants are resident outside Harare, and three participants are young leaders with disabilities,” she said.

Obama’s Young African Leadership Initiative is a part of the commitment of the United States to invest in the future of Africa, she said.

“The White House created this initiative out of the recognition of the critical and increasing role that young Africans play in strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security on the continent,” she said.

The Zimbabwean fellows will be among the 1 000 Mandela Washington Fellows travelling from across Africa to the United States in mid-June for a six-week programme of leadership training, academic coursework, and mentoring.

The programme is designed to hone the skills they need to serve their communities. Each fellow will be placed at a US university to concentrate in one of three tracks: business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, and public management. Fellows will also have opportunities to meet with US government, civic, and business leaders.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders started in 2014. Since then, 60 Zimbabwe young leaders from diverse sectors, including business, civil society and the media, have participated in the programme.

Upon returning to Zimbabwe, the fellows continue to build the skills they developed during their time in the United States through support from the embassy; the Regional Leadership Centre in South Africa, and the YALI Network.

Through these experiences, Mandela Washington Fellows have access to ongoing professional development opportunities, mentoring, networking and training, and competitive seed funding to support their ideas, businesses, and organisations.

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