PAYLP Alumni Share Their Knowledge With Local Communities Back Home

In August 2018, Meridian welcomed 109 high school students and adult mentors from twenty-three African countries to the U.S. for the Pan Africa Youth Leadership Program (PAYLP), an annual three-week academic and cultural exchange on leadership development and civic engagement. Below is a blog post written by Vanessa Elongo Meridian’s PAYLP Intern who is originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is an international student at George Mason University studying Integrative Studies with a concentration in International Studies. “It has been almost two months that our PAYLP 2018 Alumni of the summer cohort returned to their home...

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Cultivating talent among African students through Community Action Plans pitches to DC social entrepreneurs

Nearly 100 students from 23 African countries arrived in Atlanta, Georgia, this summer to participate in the Pan-Africa Youth Leadership Program (PAYLP). Many students were not only traveling outside their respective countries for the first time, but also meeting citizens of neighboring countries for the first time. Participants shared that they were equally intrigued by exposure to the customs and personalities of fellow Africans, along with those of the Texans, Washingtonians, Hoosiers, and other Americans they met during their three-week cultural and educational exchanges across the United States. Upon arrival in Atlanta, students were challenged to assess the greatest...

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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  

PAYLP Through the Eyes of a Meridian Intern

 “This program has offered me the opportunity to experience what I’ve learned in school, a lot of what I teach my pupils and read on the internet and books…. I am sure this will breed a group of young leaders with a hunger for success.” (Private Mchenga of Malawi, PAYLP Adult Mentor participant) Students will often look to adults, school, and friends to shape the things they do not know. When that is not enough television and movies fill in the gaps.  As it turns out, romanticized perceptions, movies, and television often steer us further away from the reality...

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