The U.S. Mission on Thursday, welcomed the young Nigerians who participated in the 2019 Mandela Washington Fellowship to a reunion conference held in Lagos.
Fifty-six Nigerians were among the 700 young leaders from sub-Saharan Africa who recently completed a six-week intensive academic and leadership program at some of the most prestigious U.S. colleges and universities.
At the opening of the two-day conference, U.S. Consul General Claire Pierangelo asked the Fellows to compare notes on their fellowship experiences and explore how they can enhance their community service and impact in Nigeria.
“I encourage you to continue to work to improve your communities, to mentor young people, to be politically active, and thereby strive to create a Nigeria that will truly be the giant of Africa,” Consul General Pierangelo said.
Following her remarks, Consul General Pierangelo debriefed some of the Fellows to learn about their experiences in the U.S.
They uniformly expressed appreciation for the Fellowship and stated their eagerness to get to work in their respective communities.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship began in 2014 and the U.S. government has sent nearly 4,000 young Africans leaders to the U.S. to empower them through academic course work, leadership training, and networking opportunities. Of this number, about 400 were Nigerians.
Upon returning to their home countries, Mandela Washington Fellows continue to have access to ongoing professional development opportunities as well as funding for projects that coincide with the U.S. Mission’s goals and objectives.
Fellows may also apply for their American partners to travel to Africa to continue project-based collaboration through the Reciprocal Exchange Component of the Mandela Washington Fellowship.