President Obama meets Fellows, says plans are underway to expand program

Author: Grace Munene


500 Mandela Washington Fellows met with President Barack Obama on Monday August 3, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Fellows had just completed attending academic and leadership institutes in 20 Universities across the country. The institutes focus on three thematic areas: Business & Entrepreneurship, Public Management, and Civic Leadership. In his address to the Fellows, Obama observed how timely their visit was given his recently concluded visit to Sub-Saharan Africa where he officially kicked off the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, Kenya. During his meeting with the Fellows, he addressed several issues in response to questions raised by the Fellows. His discussion focused on different topics such as technology, climate change, health, gender, governance, and youth. The president announced that the Fellowship will be expanded next year by increasing the number of Fellows to 1000 including sending some 80 young Americans to Africa to learn from other societies. Watch the town hall here.

In addition to the town hall meeting, Fellows also engaged in other activities while at the summit including: a plenary discussion with Massachusetts Senator Edward J. Markey and Georgia’s Fourth Congressional District representative Hank Johnson; ignite talks on opportunity, ethics and equality; group discussions focusing on topics such as journalism, entrepreneurship, democracy, and human rights; a partnership expo; and a talent show. The closing ceremony included remarks by Richard Stengel, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs. Watch the closing ceremony here.