Four Seychellois win places in US president’s first Young African Leaders fellowship
The four successful Seychellois applicants Sylla, Khan (first and second from left) Lespoir (fourth from left) and Vengadasamy (second from right) - (Seychelles Nation)
Seychelles will be well represented at the first Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders as four Seychellois have been chosen to be among more than 500 other African young leaders to participate in the programme that was announced by US President Barrack Obama in June 2013.
The US ambassador to Seychelles Shari Villarosa announced the names of the successful Seychellois candidates Monday April 28, in the presence of the Seychelles Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean- Paul Adam.
Elected member of the Seychelles National Assembly for the ruling party 'Parti Lepep', Sheryl Vengadasamy and Fatoumata Sylla who is currently the Director General for Youth Affairs in the President’s Office; have been selected under the Public Management category. Micheline Khan who runs her own business clinched a place among the Business Entrepreneurship group. Khan wants to create a platform for young people who are likewise interested to be able to network and exchange know-how and experiences. Fourthly, young Seychellois pilot Christopher Lespoir has been chosen to form part of the young innovators category.
Lespoir will be travelling to Boston University while Sylla will get the experience of Cambridge, Massachusetts at the prestigious University of Harvard. Khan will travel to Louisiana for her fellowship and Vengadasamy will attend the University of Arkansas.
The fellowship will last six to eight weeks, however Vengadasamy will stay on into the US for another two months, as her fellowship includes an additional internship of eight weeks.
The fellowship which starts in June will include visits to various institutions, training as well as an opportunity to meet with President Obama.
Villarosa who said she read through all 70 applications from Seychelles stressed that through the initiative the US seeks to strengthen ties with African countries.
She added that after the candidates return home the embassy in Mauritius will organise activities which will allow the US to follow them and the way they use the knowledge they have gained to give back to the community.
“We will also include the other participants who were not successful this time around, in the activities. Maybe next time they might get chosen,” she said adding that the participants have also been selected according to how much they are already giving back to their community.
In total 70 Seychellois were among 50,000 young people from the African continent who submitted applications for this year’s fellowship through which Obama aims to help empower young Africans to make a difference in their countries.15,000 applicants came from Nigeria alone.