US Embassy holds reception for 2018 Mandela Washington Fellows

BY: Kate Baaba Hudson
• Some of the fellows at the reception
• Some of the fellows at the reception

The Embassy of the United States of America (USA) in Accra has organised a reception for the 2018 Ghana Cohort of the Mandela Washington Fellows who have completed six weeks of intensive academic and leadership training in the USA.

The 33 young and talented fellows joined 700 others from all over the African continent to undertake the programme which sought to help them effectively lead organisations, communities and countries.

Delivering his address to welcome them, the Charge d’ Affaires of the Embassy of the USA, Mr Christopher J. Lamora, said “the young professionals represent Ghana’s best and brightest in business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership and public management”.

He explained that the fellowship was a flagship programme of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), adding that YALI and specifically the Mandela Washington Fellowship Programme was about growth. “It’s about progressive leadership development. The key word is ‘leaders’,” he added.

3,500 young Africans

Mr Lamora observed that since 2010, YALI had supported more than 3,500 young African men and women in further developing the leadership skills and potential they had already demonstrated during the highly competitive and rigorous selection process.

He gave the assurance that YALI doesn’t start and end with the Mandela Washington Fellowship, saying the initiative also had the Regional Leadership Centre programmes and the online platform YALI Network.

He announced that the four YALI Regional Leadership Centres, one of which is in Accra, provided in-person and online training in business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership and public management.

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They also offered extensive opportunities for professional development and networking, he added.

The Accra Regional Leadership Centre located at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA)  serves talented young leaders between 18 and 35 years from nine West African countries.

He mentioned the countries as including Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra-Leone and Togo.

The Charge d’Affaires asked the fellows to share their experiences with their colleagues, friends, neighbours and families, saying: “Be leadership multipliers and mentor those under and around you.”

New skills

Two of the fellows, Ms Josephine Akuba Buah, who had her training at the Oklahoma State University, and Mr Abdul-Hamid Sheriff, who trained at the University of Iowa, said they had acquired new skills and knowledge which they were ready to use to develop their businesses.

They described the programme as awesome and very beneficial which had also exposed them to a lot of business techniques, adding that they were very grateful for the opportunity.