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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18 Inspiring Messages From Young African Leaders

Listen up. Young African leaders have a few things to say about youth leadership.   These 24 incredible changemakers from Togo, Senegal, Chad and Mauritania traveled to the United States to learn and discuss social entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and community building.   The leaders were here last month as part of our second cohort of Pan-African Youth Leadership Program, a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.   Each student developed a community service project or small enterprise to implement upon their return home. Projects ranged from jewelry-making ventures to new libraries to school clean-up initiatives. We’re excited...

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Creating Africa’s Future Leaders – PAYLP Participants Convene in D.C.

The Pan-Africa Youth Leadership Program, Meridian International Center’s newest youth leadership initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, is already proving to be a success. The 24 participants, who range in age from 15-18 and represent eight different African nations, arrived in the U.S. on Sunday, April 6th. Over the next couple days, the participants were then given the best D.C. had to offer: a tour of the Capitol Building; a meeting with the staff of Senator Jeff Flake; a briefing and visit to the National Museum of African Art with the director, Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole; an...

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