Participants in the Young African Leadership Initiative arrive in the United States.

One thousand promising professionals and civic leaders from 17 sub-Saharan countries arrived in the United States this week, June 12-18, under the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders program — and Atlanta is hosting 50 of them.

Twenty-five are to attend Georgia State University’s Public Management Institute and will receive six weeks of academic and leadership training including citizen engagement, human resources management and public financial management.

This is the third year that Georgia State has welcomed YALI fellows, providing each participant with a peer collaborator selected from metro Atlanta’s business, civic and government agencies who will provide practical experiences and lessons on best practices.

Clark Atlanta University also is hosting 25 YALIs for the fourth straight year that it has been involved in the program. This program is unique in that Clark Atlanta is one of two historically black college enrolled along with Howard University in Washington and is one of 15 universities offering the YALIs a program focused on business skills.

Georgia State and Clark Atlanta are among the 38 higher education institutions in the United States hosting the program of the U.S. State Department and the Washington-based non-profit  the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX).

The program was launched by the Obama administration in an effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. Nearly one in three Africans are between the ages of 10 and 24, and approximately 60 percent of Africa’s total population is below the age of 35.

Launched in 2010, the YALI program aims to provide the young leaders with skills to develop their countries economically, strengthen democratic governance and enhance peace and security across the African continent.

To learn more about Georgia State’s program, call Sharon Hill, clinical associate professor and program director, at (404) 413-0125 or send an email to To learn more about Clark Atlanta’s program, call Mesfin Bezuneh at (404) 880-6274 or send an email to

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