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  

Empower Her: Support Women’s Entrepreneurship

Women make up more than 50 percent of the world’s population, yet account for less than 1 percent of global wealth. Despite great strides, there remains a wide gender gap in the international economy. Entrepreneurship is key to closing that gap as it gives women control and ownership, but they need greater support to tap into this economic driver. Continue  

Community Comes Together to Paint Mural in El Viejo, Nicaragua

I’m participating in the Mural Arts Exchange Program through the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, currently traveling throughout Nicaragua to meet with youth and other community groups from five different cities. In each location, we’ll be creating murals together. As of now, we’ve completed three and have two more to go. Here’s a recap of the first mural, in El Viejo.


Obama’s Best Quote from the #SOTU

We may be a little biased, but our ears definitely perked up when we heard this one:


Since we know a thing or two about exchanges here at Meridian, here are a few things you may not know behind this quote: