By Segun James
The United States Consul General, Claire Pierangelo, Thursday hosted young 56 Nigerians who participated in the 2019 Mandela Washington Fellowship to a reunion conference.
The 56 Nigerians were among the 700 young leaders from sub-Saharan Africa who recently completed a six-week intensive academic and leadership programme at some of the most prestigious US colleges and universities.
Information Specialist, Public Affairs Section, US Consulate General, Mr. Temitayo Famutimi, said in a statement that 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.
Speaking at the opening of the two-day conference in Lagos, Pierangelo urged 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.”
Pierangelo debriefed some of the fellows to learn about their experiences in the US, while the fellows jointly 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 US government has sent nearly 4,000 young Africans leaders to the US to empower them through academic course work, leadership training, and networking opportunities. Of this number, about 400 were Nigerians.
When they return to their home countries, Mandela Washington Fellows continue to have access to ongoing professional development opportunities as well as funding for projects coinciding with the US Mission’s goals and objectives.