U.S restates commitment to youth empowerment

Zubairu Mohammed, Abuja

The United States of America has restated its commitment towards empowering the people of Nigeria especially the youths.

The US Ambassador to Nigeria James Entwistle stated this during a reception for newly selected 100 young Nigerians to participate in 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows at American Embassy in Abuja.

Ambassador Entwistle who said the initiative has significant impact to the lives of Nigerians added that Nigeria is going through a period of social, political, and economic change, and young leaders have a vital role in the outcome.

He said, “Mandela alumni contributions have already made a positive impact on Nigerian society across the country. Last December, Mandela alumni donated clothes and blankets to the residents of an internally displaced person’s camp in Maiduguri to help them cope with the unusually cold harmattan season”.

While congratulating the beneficiaries who come from different geopolitical zones, the Ambassador urged them to be good representatives in their host community.

“As you all embark on this adventure, I ask you to be good ambassadors for families, your communities, and of course, your country. You will have the opportunity to meet hundreds of bright and inspiring minds from other parts of Africa. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn, to share, and to expand your network”, he added

The US Representative to Nigeria also emphasised the need for them to work hard to share experiences with members of their communities and the Young African Leaders Initiatives Network.

“We hope that you will leverage the U.S and the African connections you have established to the maximum potential. Many of you are already making an impact in your communities; indeed, that is why selected you”.

In the fight against boko haram and other terrorist groups, the Ambassador commended Nigeria for its significant progress and assured that, United States of America stands with Nigeria in solving its security issues.

He said, “the United States remains committed to supporting Nigeria in overcoming its security challenges and ensuring the safe return of the young women of Chibok and all those abducted by boko haram. Please keep up the good fight. Your work is really making a difference, and I applaud you”.

The selected one hundred participants in this year’s Mandela Washington Fellowship come from six geopolitical zones in Nigeria.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship programme of President Obama’s Young African Leaders (YALI) President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.

The Mandela Washington Fellow (inaugurated in 2014) will bring 1,000 young leaders to the United States in summer 2016 for academic coursework and leadership training and will create unique opportunities in Africa for Fellows to put new skills to practical use in leading organisations, communities, and countries.