Ghanaian cohort of 32 Mandela Washington Fellows will join other 700 fellows from Africa to participate in a six-week academic and leadership-training programme in various Universities in the United States of America.
They represent the 2019 Ghana Fellows and are expected to share their experience with others as well as use lessons learnt to help them lead organisations and communities to facilitate the development of the country.
The Fellowship is the flagship programme of the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI), which has supported more than 3,500 young Africans since 2010 to further develop their leadership skills and potentials.
At a reception to honour the Cohort in Accra, Madam Stephanie S. Sullivan, US Ambassador to Ghana congratulated the group.
She said this year’s Ghanaian cohort of 32 Mandela Washington Fellows represented the best and brightest of Ghana’s young professionals from diverse sectors across the country.
The Ambassador stated that youth empowerment was at the heart of the US-Africa partnership to advance mutually reinforcing goals of democracy, prosperity, and stability.
Making reference to one of the opinion pieces by Mr Tibor Nagy US. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Ambassador, Madam Sullivan said, “Everyone who follows trends in Africa knows that a demographic “tsunami” is coming between now and 2050…”
“Unless we harness the entrepreneurial spirit and dynamism of young Africans and help create jobs and opportunities that will help them thrive in their countries, we will not see the economic development needed to sustain these populations.”
Since its inception, she said YALI had grown to include three program components: the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the Regional Leadership Centres, and the YALI Network.
Madam Sullivan emphasised that these programmes complement one another to form a large and dynamic network of young African leaders who were improving transparency and accountability of governments, starting and growing businesses, innovating, and, ultimately, serving their communities.
Sharing some of the success stories of some fellows, Madam Sullivan mentioned that 2018 Fellow Mr Terrence Addey, a Police Officer during his fellowship at Arizona State University met Dr Noah Fritz from the Mesa, Arizona Police Department.
With support from the State Department, she said Terrence invited Dr Fritz to Ghana to build capacity of Ghanaian police officers on data collection, map creation, geocoding, visualization, and spatial analysis to better respond to the communities that they serve and protect.
She said nearly 3,000 Ghanaians-a wide array of leaders in government, business, academia, and civil society who hold and have held prominent positions, including Professor Mike Ocquaye Speaker of Parliament, Mr Haruna lddrisu, the Minority Leader, the Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo and Former President John. A. Kufuor have benefitted from US Exchange Programme.
Madam Fati Mahnoud Wattigi, a 2019 Fellow and a nurse at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, said she hoped to learn from her area of specialisation to help the transformation of the sector.
She said it would help her to mobilise books from well-wishers to support her one student one storybook campaign on-going at Darkuman basic schools.