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Mandela Fellowship Forum Stresses Youth, Independence

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For a third year, The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, a flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), has successfully immersed a group of African scholars into six weeks of interdisciplinary academic coursework, cultural and civic engagement and service learning.

In honor of the completion of the program, fellows and guests gathered at the Howard University School of Social Work to host a forum titled “Africa, My Perspective,” with a purpose of demystifying stereotypes and providing solutions to promote African progress.

“Children of Africa, you have been privileged beyond measure,” said Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, African Union ambassador to the United States. “You owe it to go back home and share with those who have not been as fortunate as you have been. And remind them that in any use that you are going to be faced with as an African, refuse to be used to play other people’s dirty work. You’re smart enough. Take your time and understand the issues. Africa can no longer continue to be other people’s playground. We need African solutions to African problems.”

The opening remarks set the tone for a thought-provoking panel discussion focused on building Africa through entrepreneurship and technology while navigating through existing policy paradox.

“Africa is faced with quite a number of challenges, but it all starts with a realization that we, Africans, can do something for ourselves,” said fellow Angela Ameso of Uganda. “We do not always have to sit back and wait for the Western world to give us donor help, to give us support.”

The importance of self-reliance echoed throughout the panel discussion. Many of the fellows agreed that in order for Africa to progress, its people must seek “African solutions to African problems.”

Read more @ The Washington Informer

 

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