President Obama’s Young African Leaders’ Initiative (YALI) programme

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President Obama’s Young African Leaders’ Initiative (YALI) programme

Post  Sirop14 on Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:34 pm

President Obama’s Young African Leaders’ Initiative (YALI) programme

Four Seychellois selected

Four young Seychellois are successful applicants in the US President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders’ Initiative (YALI) – The Washington Fellowship, to take place in Washington in June.
As part of the six-week programme the four will be attached to different universities in the US where they will receive training and mentoring in three key programme areas, namely public service, community service and business entrepreneurial development.

The names of the four successful applicants were revealed yesterday by the US ambassador to Seychelles Shari Villarosa during a press briefing in the presence of Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Paul Adam, youth principal secretary Alain Volcère, parents and relatives of the applicants and other guests.

They are Micheline Fatima Khan, the managing director of A to B Ltd, and Christopher Lespoir, a young pilot with Air Seychelles, who will be enrolled on the business entrepreneurial development.
Khan will be going to Yale University in Indiana while Lespoir will head to Texas University. Fatoumata Sylla, the director general for youth affairs in the Office of the President, and Sheryl Vengadasamy, parliamentarian and elected member for Mont Buxton, will be registered on the public service programme.

While Sylla will be going to Howard University in Washington DC, Vengadasamy will be going to Arkansas University.
“I am very honoured to have been selected for the programme and I am very excited and happy and looking forward to some good networking with other young African leaders I am about to meet,” Ms Khan said.
For his part Mr Lespoir thanked both the US and the Seychelles governments for making such an opportunity possible. “I am really excited and looking forward to make the most out of the programme but more importantly to bring the most back to Seychelles and eventually contribute to the future,” said Mr Lespoir.

Ms Sylla said: “I am very excited. It is not very often that we get the chance to interact with colleagues from the African continent. Now that we will have the chance to interact with some 500 young people, there is a lot for us to learn, there is a lot for us to bring to the United States to share with other young people.”

Unlike the other three applicants, Ms Vengadasamy will be among 100 young African leaders who have been selected to stay on in the US for an internship programme of eight more weeks following the YALI fellowship.

She thanked President Obama for this great initiative and everyone here including her constituency for allowing her time to take part in the programme.
“It will be a beneficial experience not only for me personally but for my country,” said Ms Vengadasamy.

The four successful applicants were chosen from 70 applications received from Seychelles.

So far this is the largest group of young Seychellois to apply to the programme since its launch by President Obama in 2010. The aim of the programme is to invest in and support young African leaders as they work to spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across the continent.
Neddy Padayachy took part in the programme in 2010.

Application for the fellowship was opened late last year and applicants had to make their submissions online while interviews for the successful applicants were conducted locally by fellowship officials who travelled all the way to Seychelles.

Speaking after the names of the applicants were revealed, Minister Adam congratulated the four young Seychellois leaders who will be travelling to the United States in June for the YALI.
Minister Adam said Seychelles is very proud of the four applicants.

“The government has always placed a lot of importance and emphasis on the empowerment of young people. The approach of the government has been to give young people opportunities today and not to simply speak of them as the future,” said Minister Adam.

He went on to congratulate President Obama for the initiative which he said compliments the strategy that Seychelles is putting in place, namely the Seychelles Young Leaders Programme.

Ambassador Villarosa said while in the US the group will also have the opportunity to meet President Barack Obama and the theme of that meeting will be ‘Investing in the future for the next generation’.

She noted that she has been very impressed to read from the different applications received, the many good initiatives young Seychellois are doing here.

“The four are the best of the best but there are a lot more good initiatives and good people out there doing their best to make Seychelles a better country and we hope that in the coming years they too will have a chance to travel to the United States as well,” noted ambassador Villarosa.

She said Seychelles as a whole should be congratulated for the excellent candidates and is encouraging more young Seychellois to apply for the fellowship next year.


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