Economic Empowerment Program for Zambian and Zimbabwean Professionals

In the spring of 2014, Meridian International Center will begin the implementation of the U.S. Department of State’s Professional Fellows Program for Zambia and Zimbabwe. Beginning in May 2014, the program aims to bring 24 professionals to the U.S. from Zambia and Zimbabwe in two cohorts to introduce them to American business, entrepreneurial, and marketing practices that they can later implement in their home countries. The program incorporates a 3-week fellowship with an American business or NGO based in Denver, CO, or Charlotte, NC, as well as skills-based workshops, and culminates with a Professional Fellows Conference in Washington, DC. The participants will also benefit from a reciprocal two-week visit from eight American counterparts to Zambia and Zimbabwe in 2015.

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A Foot in Both Worlds

With the unique opportunity to coordinate two conferences as part of follow-on for the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative–and hours to clock at airports and en route to Dakar, Senegal–I eagerly settled in with the search function at Amazon.com. For a while now, as part of my travel, I love nothing more than to dive into books—generally fiction—set in the place where I’m heading.

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Young African Leaders Reuniting to Re-energize and Strategize in Dakar

It was quite historic, a reunion of over 40 Young Africans, meeting in Dakar, Senegal to brainstorm how to collaborate across the continent, to discuss the notion of what it means to be a Young African Leader and to share stories of successes and challenges in the work of moving Africa forward in the areas of democracy, youth and women’s empowerment, entrepreneurship and education. Continue  

Exchange Behind the Scenes in Dakar

As the 44 alumni of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) trickle in to a hot and unpredictably rainy Dakar, Senegal, many for the first time, it is still a day until the seminar and the exchange has already begun. From late night political discussions over a bottle of wine, to breakfast rendez-vous over French pastries and jus de bissap, and a cultural excursion to Goree Island, a place full of history and painful remembrance, these dynamic young leaders don’t waste a second sharing their stories, ideas and plans – big plans – for the future with one another. Continue