The program dubbed Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa will launch in July and aim to help young people working in government, civil society, and the private sector. They will serve as the “backbone of a larger ecosystem of foundation changemakers across the continent and, eventually, the world, as the foundation launches similar leadership programs in regions around the world.”
The 200 participants, pulled from more than 10,000 applicants, will participate in a five-day workshop centered on development and civic engagement to help promote positive change in Africa. The workshops will be following a year-long program where participants will be able to access other trainings and webinars led by global experts.
“These remarkable individuals will be a part of our largest and most ambitious leadership group to date: the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa,” Bernadette Meehan, who is leading the program as its chief international officer, said in a statement. “In bringing together 200 young leaders from across Africa, we hope to begin a conversation about how each of us can create positive change in our communities.”
Former President Barack Obama will celebrate the new program with a visit to Johannesburg on July 17, before Nelson Mandela International Day. There he will also be delivering the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, which will honor the 100 year anniversary of Mandela’s birth. “This year we thought: who can best represent the legacy of Madiba than the person whom we believe took on the baton when he became president of his own country…Who can respond to the challenge?” Nelson Mandela Foundation CEO Sello Hatang said. “We then kept on asking ourselves who would be able to deal with issues of democracy in a world that is ravaged by corruption‚ and it is the very thing that he was trying to fight against.”