Americans and young African leaders address global challenges

Americans and young African leaders address global challenges

 

Americans and young African leaders address global challenges

The US Department of State and IREX are pleased to announce the 26 Americans selected to receive Reciprocal Exchange Awards as part of a new component of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

The Reciprocal Exchange Awards allow American professionals to travel to sub-Saharan Africa to collaborate on projects with Mandela Washington Fellows who participated in the program this summer.  Through these projects, Americans and young African leaders form lasting partnerships and increase mutual understanding across the United States and Africa. 

Hands down, the biggest takeaway of this whole experience was forming a new understanding of the opportunities, challenges, and perspectives of Malawian youth.

Alexis Taylor, a 2014 Reciprocal Exchange awardee

"Hands down, the biggest takeaway of this whole experience was forming a new understanding of the opportunities, challenges, and perspectives of Malawian youth," said Alexis Taylor, a 2014 Reciprocal Exchange awardee. “This was my first trip to the continent of Africa. I was enlightened by local perspectives of the UN [Sustainable] Development Goals, the true challenges facing their nation, and [how] to overcome those challenges."

The Reciprocal Exchange component awards up to $5,000 to each American to help fund ongoing projects between 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows and American professionals. Fellows met the Americans through site visits, networking, internships, and other parts of the six-week Academic and Leadership Institutes in the US during the Fellowship.

Through these competitive awards, 26 Americans will travel to 17 countries in sub-Saharan Africa for up to two weeks in 2017. The Reciprocal Exchange Awards will support diverse projects that address a wide array of global and community challenges.  

American awardees include the following individuals from across the US, traveling to the following destinations in sub-Saharan Africa: 

Benin

Brian MacHarg (North Carolina), civic engagement education 

Botswana

David Gordon (New York), disability advocacy

Burkina Faso

Dan Shalmon (Illinois), youth empowerment 

Cameroon 

Lindsay Yeager (New York), feminine hygiene

Ethiopia 

Dimy Doresca (Iowa), agriculture

John Lumkes (Indiana), agriculture

Rudy Hightower, II (Ohio), mental healthcare

Kenya 

Betty Watts (Virginia), health education

Brandon Kliewer (Kansas), disability advocacy 

Susan Gold (Wisconsin), health education

Tee Thompson (Michigan), agriculture 

Liberia

Joseph Deng Malual (Wisconsin), women's empowerment

Madagascar 

April Reed (Arizona), disability advocacy 

Teena Curry (Maryland), financial management

Malawi 

Maia Donohue (Texas), entrepreneurship 

Kathryn Kutzner (Pennsylvania), women's empowerment 

Mauritius 

Alexander Anthony Lopez (New Hampshire), waste management 

Niger

Brian MacHarg (North Carolina), civic engagement education

Nigeria

Tanikka Mitchell (Illinois), technical training

South Africa/Ghana

Chenits Pettigrew (New York), arts & education

Tanzania 

Estella Hunt (Nevada), technology training

Esther E. Gottlieb (Ohio), agriculture

Jason Mackenzie (Indiana), alternative education

Zambia 

Bryan McGarvey (Indiana), agriculture

Ryan Dion Taylor (California), alternative energy

Zimbabwe 

Gina Haney (California), arts & cultural programming 

A second round of Reciprocal Exchange Awards is anticipated to be announced in late December 2016. These will further strengthen lasting connections between Americans and Fellows, both personally and professionally, to benefit their communities in the long run.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). The Mandela Washington Fellowship brings young leaders to the United States for academic coursework and leadership training and creates unique opportunities in Africa for Fellows to put new skills to practical use in leading organizations, communities, and countries.

For more information, visit yali.state.gov/washington-fellowship. You can also get updates at Facebook.com/MandelaWashingtonFellowship and Twitter.com/WashFellowship.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is a program of the US government and is supported in its implementation by IREX.