Tag Archives: President Barack Obama

2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship application opens Oct. 1

1,000 young Africans to benefit

Credit: Presidential Precinct

Credit: Presidential Precinct

The United States’ Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria on Wednesday announced that applications for the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship will begin to be accepted on Thursday, October 1, 2015.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship programme of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative, and a key part of the US commitment to invest in the future of Africa.

Beginning in 2016, the fellowship will bring together 1,000 young African leaders across three tracks – business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, and public management – for a six-week, in-depth academic and leadership training at 20 top American universities.  Afterwards, the fellows will converge in Washington, D.C., for a Presidential summit, featuring a town hall with President Obama.

According to the statement, eligible candidates should be between the ages of 25 and 35 and have a demonstrated track record of leadership in a public, private, or civic organization, and a commitment to contributing their skills and talents to build and serve their communities.

It said, “Interested candidates should visit http://www.yali.state.gov to apply and seek further information.  The application deadline is November 11, 2015.

“Prospective fellows needing access to the Internet may visit the Information Resource Center at the US Embassy in Abuja or US Consulate General in Lagos or one of the 11American Corners in Nigeria to complete the application. “

According to the statement, nearly one in three Africans are between the ages of 10 and 24, and around 60 percent of Africa’s total population is below the age of 35.  The Mandela Washington Fellowship initiative is part of the President’s overall effort to encourage investment in the education and training of the continent’s next generation of leaders.

In 2010, President Obama launched YALI as a vehicle to support an emerging generation of African leaders.  In 2014, the programme was expanded to include 500 young African leaders from sub-Saharan Africa.  In 2016, 1,000 young Africans will participate in the fellowship.

Since its inception, 86 young Nigerians have participated in the fellowship, and over 26,000 young professionals in Nigeria have joined the YALI network.  In 2016, approximately 100 young Nigerians are expected to participate in the fellowship.  Grace Jerry, a Nigerian fellow and an advocate for people living with disabilities, introduced President Obama at the 2015 presidential summit.

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The legacy my father left


“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom,” Umberto Eco in Foucault’s Pendulum

Happy Father’s Day!

Last night I was listening to the weekly address of the president of the United States, Barack Obama, and it reminded me of the legacy my father left.

When he passed on last year, I knew I had lost a formidable father, a masterly mentor and a terrific teacher.

He was a father full of care, love, humility, generosity and understanding. He made so positive an impact on me that I can’t forget him in a hurry!

He did not only tell us the value of living a good life, of prayer and of meditating on the word of God, he showed us by his own example.

He was a stickler for knowledge, excellence and personal development. Though he did not have the chance to receive formal education in the four walls of a school, he was so committed to personal development that he was able to read and write.

Amid overwhelming odds, he strove to give his family his best. To be sure, his good example and the good name he left are the legacy I will always cherish and emulate.

“I know how important it is to have a dad in your life, because I grew up without my father around. I felt the weight of his absence,” President Obama said. “So for Michelle and our girls, I try every day to be the husband and father my family didn’t have when I was young.”

Stressing the need for fathers to get more involved in their children’s lives, Obama said: “What makes you a man isn’t the ability to have a child; it is the courage to raise one.

”There is nothing more precious in life than the time we spend with our children. There is no better feeling than knowing that we can be there for them and provide for them…”

Over the past couple of years I have met with a lot of young people who don’t have a father figure in their lives, said Obama, “Any of us can do our part to be a mentor, a sounding board, a role model for a kid who needs one…Taking responsibility for being a great parent or a mentor is a choice that we as individuals have to make. No government programme can ever take the place of a parent’s love.”

Many years ago, the brother of Alfred Nobel died in Stockholm. But the newspapers got the name wrong as they concluded it was Alfred Nobel himself who had died, and wrote his obituary, which he read the next day. In Nobel’s premature obituary, he was remembered primarily for inventing dynamite, which had been responsible for the deaths of countless human beings in wars and conflicts around the world.

This obituary has such a shocking effect on Nobel that he immediately began rearranging his entire life to change his legacy and assure that his obituary, when it was ultimately written, would be completely different. To this end, he established the Nobel Prizes, based on his great fortune, which are today the highest awards that can be attained in the worlds of literature, medicine, science, economics, peace and chemistry.

By thinking clearly about the legacy he wanted to leave, he transformed both his present actions and his ultimate memory. He rewrote his own obituary.

“A father acts on behalf of his children by working, providing, intervening, struggling, and suffering for them. In so doing, he really stands in their place. He is not an isolated individual, but incorporates the selves of several people in his own self,” said Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Once again, Happy Father’s Day!

‘FEMI tweets @asufemi


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