From July 23 – August 1, 2023, the FPC provided foreign journalists from African nations the opportunity to travel to the United States to explore the power of youth civic engagement while highlighting key themes of bilateral engagement from the December 2022 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.
July 23: Journalists from African nations arrived in Washington, DC, to participate in the “Leaders of Today and Tomorrow” international reporting tour. The program, organized by the Bureau of Global Public Affairs’ Foreign Press Centers, aimed to explore youth activism and empowerment while highlighting key themes from last fall’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, including good governance, food insecurity, and promotion of tolerance and diversity.
July 24: The inaugural session took place in Washington, DC, and featured a wide-ranging briefing with senior officials from the Bureau of African Affairs. Assistant Secretary Molly Phee, , and Judd Devermont from the National Security Council discussed U.S. policy priorities for Africa, including global health, food security, and commercial diplomacy.
July 25: Journalists were welcomed and briefed by the Chair and Ranking Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Africa. They also met with officials from USAID and received an academic overview of the U.S.-Africa relationship from the Director of the Institute for African Studies at George Washington University. Additionally, they were briefed on the history and impact of the PEPFAR program.
July 26: The reporting tour moved to Memphis, TN, where journalists were welcomed at City Hall and briefed on the Memphis Academy of Civic Engagement, a program dedicated to developing young civic leaders. The group also learned about efforts to address food insecurity from the CEO of the Mid-South Food Bank, which engages youth volunteers to provide 32 million pounds of food annually.
July 27: In Memphis, journalists explored public health training and social activism. They were briefed by doctors leading the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s Center for Multicultural and Global Health, which focuses on researching health outcomes and promoting equitable access to health interventions. The group also visited the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Hotel to discuss civil rights movements in the U.S. and Africa.
July 28: The final day in Memphis included interviews with clients of the Mid-South Food Bank at a mobile distribution site and an on-the-record discussion with the Institute for Public Service Reporting at the University of Memphis. The Institute, a professionally staffed newsroom on campus, is dedicated to civic-minded journalism.
July 31: The tour’s third stop in Missoula, Montana, started with a briefing by Mayor Jordan Hess and Soft Landing Missoula’s staff and participating refugees. They discussed promoting entrepreneurship through the United We Eat program for community integration and self-support.
August 1: The tour’s last day in Missoula featured a briefing by Grace Gibson Synder, one of 16 young people who have, with the support of an environmental NGO, sued the state of Montana in a lawsuit Held v. State of Montana. The case seeks to protect the young people’s right to a healthy environment, life, dignity, and freedom. The journalists were also briefed by indigenous scholars and experts at the University of Montana, exploring ways the university community is working to strengthen and empower indigenous voices.
August 2: The tour wrapped up with an off-the-record discussion with FPC staff, reflecting on the journalists’ experiences during the reporting tour and its impact on their professional trajectory and reporting.
Throughout the tour, the journalists focused on highlighting youth civic engagement and empowerment while exploring U.S. priorities in Africa, such as good governance, food insecurity, and promotion of tolerance and diversity. They produced stories to showcase the power of young people in shaping a prosperous and productive future.