Yale University to host President Obama’s initiative for young African leaders

Yale will host 25 young African business leaders this summer as part of President Barack Obama’s effort to support innovative minds working to promote economic growth, peace, and security across the continent.

The Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the new flagship program of Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative, designed to empower and increase the impact of young African leaders through academic and leadership training, mentoring, and networking. The Yale World Fellows program will serve as the organizing entity for the Washington Fellowship at Yale.

Chosen from a pool of more than 50,000 applicants, 500 Washington Fellows will spend six weeks at U.S. universities, starting this June. Participants in the Washington Fellowship are young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa, aged 25-35, with a proven record of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, or communities.

“It is an honor to have been chosen as one of the first host universities for President Obama’s Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders,” said Dr. Michael Cappello, director of the Yale World Fellows Program and professor of pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine. “The energy and desire of these young leaders for training and learning are clear, and we see boundless potential for relationship building, exchange, and growth for the fellows and for Yale. We look forward to supporting the work of these leaders this summer and into the future.”

Yale has developed a curriculum that includes training modules in business and entrepreneurship, innovation and technology, and business ethics and centered leadership. Participating faculty will engage the young practitioners while creating opportunities for fellows to share personal and professional views. Other components will include individualized skill building, conversations with successful practitioners, off-campus site visits to businesses and non-profit organizations, volunteer opportunities, and cultural events.

“Drawing on decades of faculty experience on the continent and its multidisciplinary resources, Yale is poised to meet the demands of this dynamic, new generation of African business leaders,” says Cappello.

IBM is a generous co-sponsor of the Washington Fellowship at Yale, as well as a key partner in the delivery and creation of programming. Other partners include Yale’s Office of International Affairs, the School of Management, Yale Center for Engineering Innovation and Design, and McKinsey & Company.