Yesterday, using hashtag #YALICHAT, more than 12,000 people joined Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel (@Stengel) for the first in a series of live Twitter chats on the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and Young African Leaders Network (YALN), briefly out-trending the ever popular hashtag #Beliebers worldwide.
YALI is President Obama’s signature effort to invest in the next generation of African entrepreneurs, educators, activists, and innovators. YALN aims to connect this next generation with resources from the U.S. Government and to one another to build brighter futures for their communities and countries.
Citing his many years working with Nelson Mandela, Under Secretary Stengel expressed his excitement at helping to grow the next generation of leaders. Evan Ryan (@ECA_AS), Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), and Macon Phillips (@Macon44), Coordinator of International Information Programs (IIP), also joined Under Secretary Stengel to discuss topics ranging from governance to leadership for Africa’s brightest young leaders.
In the last week, this #YALICHAT produced more than 39,000 tweets and counting. The YALN Twitter handle, @YALNetwork, also grew by more than 7,400 followers overnight. Top participating countries included Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Cameroon, and Uganda.