Front Row: Public Affairs Officer, United States Consulate General, Lagos, Dehab Ghebreab, (right); Public Diplomacy Officer, Rhonda Watson, (left); with Mandela Washington Fellows selected from the 17 states in the Consular District of Southern Nigeria, during a Pre-Departure Orientation program in Lagos on Tuesday. Photo: U.S. Consulate General

U.S. Ambassador Congratulates Newest Mandela Washington Fellows

The U.S. Embassy and Consulate General recently recognized 40 young Nigerians selected to participate in the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship.  The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and a key component of President Barack Obama’s commitment to invest in the future of Africa.  The White House developed this initiative in recognition of the critical and increasing role that young Africans are playing in strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa. 

Speaking at a special gathering in Abuja and via satellite in Lagos, U.S. Ambassador James F. Entwistle congratulated the new fellows on their competitive selection amongst 7,000 Nigerian applicants and tens of thousands of others throughout Africa. 

“You all should be proud of your accomplishment.  Your selection says a lot about who you are as young leaders and the level of impact you are having on your communities as entrepreneurs, civic leaders, and public servants,” said Ambassador Entwistle.  He added, “You will have the opportunity to meet hundreds of bright and inspiring minds, just like yourselves, from other parts of Africa.  Take advantage of the opportunity to learn, to share, and to expand your network.”

In 2014, 44 Nigerian fellows comprised part of the inaugural class of Mandela Washington Fellows.  Fellows participate in an intensive, six-week program on academic excellence and leadership focused on business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, and public management at U.S. colleges and universities.

Ibrahim Olalekan is a media writer and specialist. His enormous task as journalist has earned him media space in some leading online newspapers. Aside being a seasoned journalist, Olalekan has keen interest in advocacy, rural development and politics. Olalekan is a graduate of Mass Communication from the University of Lagos, and can be reach via: or +2348101988313 and @lekanpaul

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