Dartmouth Joins Obama’s Initiative for Young African Leaders


Dartmouth College will provide hands-on training to 25 young African leaders this summer as part of President Obama’s effort to promote economic prosperity, democracy, peace, and security in their home countries.

The Washington Fellowship program is the new flagship of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), which was announced during his visit to Africa in 2013. The program is overseen by the U.S. State Department and the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX). It will bring more than 500 young African leaders to 20 U.S. schools for six weeks this summer. They will receive leadership training, academic coursework and mentoring in one of three areas: business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, and public management.

"We’re delighted that Dartmouth was selected to participate in this White House initiative," said Daniel Benjamin, director of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding. "Our work in YALI will help expand Dartmouth’s international engagement and give us important insights into capacity-building work in the developing world, which is going to be a major growth area for the U.S. in the decades to come."

From June 14 to July 26, Dartmouth will host 25 fellows from sub-Saharan Africa for YALI's business and entrepreneurial section. Dartmouth will offer the fellows a cultural and educational experience that builds on the institution's strengths—collaborative partnerships across academic programs; an experiential learning philosophy; and a living-learning approach that bridges curricular and co-curricular opportunities.

The Washington fellows will participate in an intensive design-thinking workshop at Thayer School of Engineering and in an entrepreneurship course through the Tuck School of Business and the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network (DEN).

In addition, the fellows will work with the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences at Dartmouth in a weekly leadership seminar, with the William Jewett Tucker Foundation on weekly service and civic engagement projects, and with Dartmouth Outdoor Programs on group-based expeditions and team-building opportunities. The fellows will take courses throughout the week, conduct site visits with area start-ups and participate in a range of outdoor and cultural events, including an American homestay weekend and Fourth of July celebrations.

YALI and its Washington fellows program are anticipated to expand annually under President Obama’s initiative. This summer’s YALI program is an opportunity to establish a framework for supporting similar large-scale, multi-disciplinary programs at Dartmouth. For its participation in the program, Dartmouth will receive a $100,000 grant, which the College will match. Other institutions hosting Washington fellows include Yale, the University of California-Berkeley, Northwestern, Morgan State, Tulane, and the University of Texas at Austin.

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