On May 26 and 27, the U.S. Embassy in Burkina Faso hosted 10 young Burkinabe professionals who were selected to represent their country as Mandela Washington Fellows this summer in the United States. This high-achieving group will be part of a group of 1,000 young Africans who will spend 6 weeks in the United States attending academic institutes and leadership training as part of the U.S. government’s Young African Leaders Initiative. On day one, the Fellows heard from guest speaker T’Errance Favors, a YALI coordinator who traveled all the way from Washington, DC to assist Embassy staff and former YALI Fellows to facilitate our day-long program of informational sessions about the program. The new Fellows also enjoyed a face-to-face chat and a photo session with U.S. Ambassador Sandra Clark. Day one closed with a game night to facilitate team building. On day two, Fellows learned travel tips, discussed key aspects of American culture, and were provided with other advice to help them best prepare to take maximum advantage of not only training but networking opportunities. They closed the day with a visit to a local park. Before leaving the orientation session, Fellows received handy travel tote bags with books on leadership.
The Leaders’ experience in the United States will include a summit in Washington, D.C. in early August, where the Fellows will interact with the U.S. government, civil society, business leaders and others. Beforehand, they will spend six weeks at ten different universities across the United States. This academic, professional and cultural immersion will enable the Fellows to forge links with peers from all over Africa. Two YALI Fellows from Burkina Faso, Reine Alexandra Abo, and Franck Ouedraogo will have the opportunity to take part in an eight-week internship at various sites across the United States.
The YALI program is a key US government program to support training and development of future leaders in Burkina Faso and across Africa. Fellows will receive training in business and entrepreneurship, public administration, and civic engagement. The U.S. Embassy in Burkina Faso and the U.S. State Department are proud to work with such an inspiring group of young Burkinabe and we can’t wait to hear about their experience when they return later this summer!