On October 27, Cultural Affairs Officer Merlyn Schultz and Vice Consul Connor O’Steen welcomed to the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde four young Cameroonians who participated in an on air quiz on the background of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative/Mandela Washington Fellows Program (YALI/MWF). The youth were Marc Alain Gangoue, Jorel Freedy Nkamy Njiang, Michelle Estelle Moupayo, and Steve Justin Tioken.
Mr. O’Steen and Ms. Schultz congratulated the youth and offered them gift prices of t-shirts inscribed “Today a Reader, Tomorrow a Leader” and books featuring leadership, sports, and artistic profiles from Nouveaux Horizons. “Thank you for joining us on air. We are proud of your initiative and believe, as President Obama and Ambassador Michael S. Hoza have said, that you are the future of Africa and Cameroon. We encourage your efforts to attain an education and pursue your dreams,” said O’Steen.
Ms. Schultz also congratulated Michelle Estelle Moupayo and said that promoting the empowerment of women and girls is one of the United States of America’s highest foreign policy priorities. “We are proud of you and believe in your success as well as in the success of every Cameroonian girl,” Schultz noted. Both U.S. diplomats encouraged the winners to apply for the YALI program, an initiative launched in 2010 by President Obama. In 2016, Cameroon will double its number of participants to 24 with a total of 1,000 for Africa.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and embodies President Obama’s commitment to invest in the future of Africa. The first class of Mandela Washington Fellows arrived in June 2014 for six weeks of intensive executive leadership training, networking, and skills building, followed by a Presidential Summit in Washington, DC. Through this initiative, young African leaders are gaining the skills and connections they need to accelerate their own career trajectories and contribute more robustly to strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa.
See Facebook album of their visit: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10156166282795716.1073742113.312546460715&type=3&uploaded=5. See Facebook album of radio program visit “Promoting YALI and Debunking Diversity Visa Myths”: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10156151921960716.1073742111.312546460715&type=3. To learn more about YALI, please see: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/07/28/fact-sheet-mandela-washington-fellowship-young-african-leaders.