October 23, 2013
PRESS RELEASE - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC: In Spring 2014, Meridian International Center will begin implementation of the U.S. Department of State’s 2014 Pan-Africa Youth Leadership Program. This dynamic leadership development exchange program will bring together 72 African students and adult mentors in three cohorts from across Africa, for three weeks, to strengthen their understanding of civic rights and responsibilities, respect for diversity, and the importance of community engagement. Special emphasis will be placed on opportunities for economic empowerment and skills based development.
The three cohorts (2 Francophone and 1 Anglophone) will be selected by 38 US Embassies across Africa, and will travel to the US in Spring, Summer or Fall of 2014. The program includes a comprehensive overview of U.S. history and culture, as well as many core leadership development facets, including:
- A 4-day segment in Washington, DC to learn about U.S. history, culture and the U.S. system of democratic governance, civic rights and responsibilities in the U.S.
- Leadership training which will focus on goal-setting, conflict resolution and negotiation, communication and presentation skills.
- Two weeks at Ball State University, based in Muncie, IN, where they will be exposed to a mix of classroom-based lectures, interactive workshops, trainings, and simulations focused on social entrepreneurship and community engagement.
- Two-weeks living with American host families to experience the life of an American teenager.
- Site-visits, cultural and volunteer activities, and speaking engagements which will provide hands-on learning opportunities for skills application and networking.
- The participants will also focus on developing action plans for their community-based initiatives which will be presented at the closing conference in Chicago, IL.
The adult mentors will be paired with educators from Central High School and Burris Laboratory School in Muncie for job shadowing, which will give the mentors first-hand insights into best practices in education administration, curriculum development, and student-teacher relationship. They will also attend a Parent Teacher Association meeting by which they will learn the importance of the parent- teacher relationship and its impact on the students’ overall growth and development.
The program will conclude with a 3-day closing conference in Chicago, IL where all the participants will join together to share their experiences, deliver their action plan presentations, and reflect on the lessons learned from the month-long program.
Outcome – Actions Plans for Creating Change in Communities Throughout Africa
Following their U.S. program, the participants will return home with a clear plan of how they can implement change in their communities. They will also be encouraged to implement their action plans through Meridian’s network of support through the Mentoring Partnership for Young African Leaders (MYPAL) Alumni Mentors and alumni of African Leadership Academy. Alumni will also have access to seed funding to kick-off their initiative and support for developing small grant applications.
About Meridian International Center
Meridian International Center, founded in 1960, is a leading non-partisan, not-for-profit institution dedicated to strengthening international understanding and global engagement. Meridian works with the U.S. State Department and U.S. embassies worldwide to create lasting international partnerships through leadership and cultural exchanges. Meridian also connects U.S. and foreign governments with the private sector to respond to global challenges and sustain impact.
Meridian’s mission is to create innovative exchange, education, cultural, and policy programs that advance three goals:
- Strengthen U.S. engagement with the world through the power of exchange
- Prepare public and private sector leaders for a complex global future
- Provide a neutral forum for international collaboration across sectors
About Ball State University
Ball State University has extensive programming for international students and a strong record of past performance on Department of State programs. It is one of the five U.S. universities selected to design and implement the multi-year Iraq University Linkage Program, and in 2012 it was selected to coordinate the Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) program in New Media and Journalism. Ball State has a strong French department and close relationships with high schools and organizations which will be able to provide high-quality programming, hands-on learning opportunity and home-stays for both Anglophone and Francophone participants.
About the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) promotes international mutual understanding through a wide range of academic, cultural, professional, and sports exchange programs. ECA exchanges engage youth, students, educators, artists, athletes, and emerging leaders in many fields in the United States and in more than 160 countries. Alumni of ECA exchanges comprise over one million people around the world, including more than 50 Nobel Laureates and more than 350 current or former heads of state and government. More information on their programs can be found at exchanges.state.gov.