The U.S. embassy in Nigeria has selected 40 Nigerians to participate in the Mandela Washington Fellowship Programme for Young African Leaders in 20 top U.S. universities, for a period of six weeks.
Speaking in Abuja on Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador James Entwistle, congratulated the beneficiaries on their selection.
Mr. Entwistle explained that the 40 Nigerian fellows were selected amongst 7,000 Nigerian applicants and tens of thousands of others throughout Africa.
“I congratulate the newly selected 2015 Mandela Washington fellows. As you may know, you competed with more than 7,000 applicants from Nigeria alone.
“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,” he said.
The envoy explained that the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, is an integral part of President Barack Obama’s commitment to invest in the future of Africa.
“The White House created this initiative in recognition of the critical and increasing role that young Africans play in strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security.”
Entwistle said 45 fellows from Nigeria were among the 500 young people selected from across Africa in 2014 to participate in the fellowship.
According to him, the fellows engage in an intensive, six-week fellowship at 20 top U.S. universities.
“They also had the opportunity to participate in a presidential summit, hosted by President Obama in Washington, D.C.
“Some fellows also completed internships with prestigious U.S. organisations like the Smithsonian Institution, the Brookings Institution, and Deloitte Consulting,” he said.
Mr. Entwistle said fellows from the programme were using their knowledge and experiences to scale up their businesses and initiate projects that would have a tremendous impact on society.
The U.S. envoy advised the fellows to be good ambassadors, saying that they would have the opportunity to meet hundreds of bright and inspiring minds from other parts of Africa.
He admonished them to take advantage of the opportunity to learn, share, and expand their network.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria, one of the fellows, Hassan Rilwan, said he looked forward to learning how to build a generationally-sustainable business model.
“Most Nigerian businesses do not grow beyond the first generation. In America, you see businesses that are beyond a century or 200 years.
Another fellow, Grace Jerry, who is physically-challenged, said she hoped to learn about mainstreaming disability in development efforts in Nigeria. (NAN)
Below is full list of fellows [NAME, DISCIPLINE, & UNIVERSITY]
1. Alueshima Utasha, Public Management, Florida International University
2. Lukmon Buliameen, Business and Entrepreneurship, University of Wisconsin-Stout
3. Ikuba Ona, Civic Leadership, Arizona State University
4. Oluwaseyi Dara, Business and Entrepreneurship, University of Wisconsin-Stout
5. Catherine Edeh, Public Management, University of Minnesota
6. Ibrahim Balami, Business and Entrepreneurship, Clark Atlanta University
7. Nkemdilim Azinge, Civic Leadership, Rutgers University
8. Amina Alkali, Civic Leadership, University of Delaware
9. Grace Jerry, Civic Leadership, University of Virginia
10. Fatu Ogwuche, Public Management, Howard University
11. Rilwan Hassan, Business and Entrepreneurship, Northwestern University
12. Benjamin Dankaka, Public Management, Virginia Commonwealth University
13. Muhammad Saleh, Civic Leadership, Tulane University
14. Rukayya Sani, Civic Leadership, Wagner College
15. Haruna Ndahi, Business and Entrepreneurship, University of Nevada, Reno
16. Bobwealth Omontese, Public Management, Syracuse University
17. Chinomnso Ibe, Civic Leadership, Wagner College
18. Abiola Odunaiya, Civic Leadership, University of California Berkeley
19. Chioma Achi, Civic Leadership, University of California Berkeley
20. Jamila Mohammed, Public Management, Syracuse University
21. Mlumum Ikpaahindi, Public Management, University of Minnesota
22. Cynthia Chiamaka Ndubuisi, Business and Entrepreneurship, Dartmouth College
23. Abosede Oluwaseun Lewu, Business & Entrepreneurship, University of Notre Dame
24. Oluwafunmilayo Adebimpe Ilori, Business & Entrepreneurship, Clark Atlanta University
25. Adekunbi Gbemisola Adeoye, Business & Entrepreneurship, University of Texas at Austin
26. Damilola Opeyemi Sobowale, Business & Entrepreneurship, Clark Atlanta University
27. Anuoluwapo Oluyomi Akinola, Business & Entrepreneurship, Dartmouth College
28. Chioma Ilobekeme, Agha Business & Entrepreneurship, Dartmouth College
29. Ejiro Sharon Okotie, Civic Leadership, Arizona State University
30. Oluwafunmilola Wonsebolatan James, Civic Leadership, Tulane University
31. Glory Chinenye Oguegbu, Civic Leadership, University of Delaware
32. Ayoola Philip Adeniyi, Business & Entrepreneurship, University of Nevada-Reno
33. Oladipo Adesida, Business & Entrepreneurship, University of Nevada-Reno
34. Omotola Samuel Oni, Business & Entrepreneurship, Northwestern University
35. Oluwatimilehin Paul Olagunju, Civic Leadership, University of Virginia/College of William & Mary/Presidential Precinct
36. Olakunle Olusola Ajayi, Civic Leadership, Rutgers University
37. Olusola Samuel Owonikoko, Civic Leadership, Wagner College
38 Williams Kwame Rashidi, Civic Leadership, University of California, Berkeley
39. Olakunle Joel Adewale, Civic Leadership, Tulane University
40. Oluwamayowa Adepeju Salu, Civic Leadership, Arizona State University