The Pan Africa Youth Leadership Program: Cultivating social entrepreneurial and civic minded leaders

The Pan Africa Youth Leadership Program (PAYLP) is a program designed to develop leadership skills in youth through dynamic trainings and cultural exchanges. In April 2018, Meridian hosted adult mentors and young scholars between the ages of 15 and 18 from Sub-Saharan Africa, including the nations of Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. “I have discovered a group of diverse cultures, from my fellow African participants from Sudan, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, Namibia, Botswana as well as Malawi.” Exchange programs like these bring leaders from around the world to the U.S. to experience and enhance...

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PAYLP alumnus Brian Sibanda’s journey from poverty in Zimbabwe to scholarship in the United States

For 18-year-old Zimbabwean Brian Sibanda, discovering that he had been accepted to Pomona College in California was nothing short of a dream come true. “I was very shocked and for a couple of days I thought I was dreaming.” A former participant in the Pan-African Youth Leadership Program (PAYLP) administered by Meridian International Center in partnership with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), Brian received a full scholarship to attend Pomona College this year where he is now just days away from completing his first semester. As someone who faced adversity at a young age, this feat represents a major milestone in Brian’s ongoing journey to empower himself and the lives of youth like him in countries across Africa. Continue  

Culture at the Center: Eritrean Community in D.C.

Every day around 5pm, people start pouring through a small heavy door on 18th Street in Adams Morgan.  Nearly hidden behind the long lines from the bars that surround it is the entrance to the Eritrean Civic and Cultural Center (ECCC).  Among the DMV’s considerable Eritrean population, the ECCC has emerged as one of the foremost meeting places for the community.  Continue  

“The Let Girls Learn U.S. Exchange Program” by Bochra Laghssais, A Moroccan Participant

First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama invited 22 Moroccan girls and 22 Liberian girls to the White House for the premiere of the CNN documentary We Will Rise on October 11, the International Day of the Girl. I was one of the Moroccan girls invited to Washington D.C. as part of First Lady Obama’s “Let Girls Learn” initiative. The White House visit was a follow-up to First Lady Obama’s visit to Liberia and Morocco in June 2016, during which we Moroccan girls participated in a roundtable discussion on the challenges young girls face in order to continue...

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