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  

If There’s A Will, There’s A Way

Renowned philosopher Confucius once said “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” Perseverance will get you somewhere, and sometimes, it ends up being a better place than you originally envisioned. One of the purposes of professional exchange programs is to motivate participants to realize their potential and to give them opportunities to connect with new people and understand the advantages of social entrepreneurship through exchange of ideas and experiences. This gives them the tool set to persevere through the challenges Confucius referred to so long ago. Professional Exchange Program alumnus Moreblessing...


Small Footprints, Quantum Leaps: A Zimbabwean Fellow’s U.S. Experience

Written by Gerald Mangena, Founder of Great Mountains and Spring 2014 Professional Fellows from Zimbabwe As many people and organizations continue to seek refined and more effective ways of contributing to the development of the continent as a whole, quite a high number of varied exchange programs almost everywhere in the world have sprung but the Meridian International Center’s Business and Entrepreneurship Exchange Program (BEEP) is in a league of its own. There could not have been a better way of empowering emerging business leaders than through an exchange program of this caliber. The greatest part about this program...


Meridian alumnus combats wildlife poachers through force and social media

I have a rhino; at least, an adopted one. Her photo hangs behind my office desk. Bryce gave it to me last year when we were in Bozeman on the final day of his State Department International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) study tour. “Whenever you make the trip to Zim, I’ll take you to see her,” he pledged. Despite Bryce’s best efforts, I’m not sure he will be able to keep his promise. He didn’t have enough manpower to save Maria, another rhino. Bryce Clemence runs Aggressive Tracking Specialists (ATS), a private company that conducts specialized anti-poaching training for...