On June 13, Secretary Hillary Clinton will welcome more than 60 young African leaders to the Innovation Summit and Mentoring Partnership with Young African Leaders, a three-week professional development program sponsored by the U.S. government in collaboration with implementing partner, Meridian International Center. On June 14, Under Secretary of Political Affairs Wendy Sherman opens the program at the Innovation Summit in Washington, D.C. This program is part of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative, the Obama Administration’s long-term program to engage Africa’s young leaders who are actively promoting positive change in their communities. The President’s Initiative, which began with President Obama’s Forum with Young African Leaders in 2010, has included more than 2,000 U.S government-sponsored programs for young leaders across Sub-Saharan Africa in addition to the First Lady’s Young African Women Leaders Forum, held in South Africa in June 2011.
The Innovation Summit will serve as the opening event, bringing together high-profile business leaders, inspirational speakers, and international and local civil society activists. After the two-day event, participants will travel to business internships in Seattle, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Miami, Huntsville, Denver, Chicago or Cincinnati for the Mentoring Partnership with U.S. companies and non-profit organizations. The two weeks in U.S. cities will provide a hands-on experience in the American workplace and exposure to cultural aspects of American life. Closing ceremonies will take place in Chicago on June 29 and 30. The Innovation Summit and Mentoring Partnership will stress social and business entrepreneurship as a tool for harnessing Africa’s intellectual capital to create jobs and sustainable, equitable opportunities. Looking to the future, these programs aim to enhance a U.S.-Africa collaboration to promote business innovation, investment, and social responsibility activities in Africa.