Meridian International Center Announces Inaugural Class of Fellows for the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program

August 30, 2016

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Program signifies important step in Obama Administration’s Commitment to Fostering the Development of an Entrepreneurship Network in the Americas


Washington, DC: Meridian International Center is proud to announce the 2016 cohort for the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program. This program will take place in October and November 2016, and will bring 250 young leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean to the United States.  President Obama launched YLAI to build linkages between young leaders across the hemisphere and to expand opportunities for emerging entrepreneurs and civil society leaders.

The five-week YLAI Professional Fellows Program, sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, will place business and social entrepreneurs in start-ups, small businesses, non-governmental organizations, and similar entities. The participants will further develop their business or social venture plans through the entrepreneurship curriculum and by engaging in skills-building workshops. They will also have the opportunity to learn from their U.S. counterparts by job-shadowing and participating in day-to-day operations at American organizations.

The 2016 YLAI Professional Fellows participated in a competitive application process. The selection team received nearly 4,000 applications for this Presidential program.  The 250 selected business and social entrepreneurs represent 35 countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and focus on topics including, but not limited to, agriculture, clean energy, consulting, e-commerce, education, entrepreneurship development and support, food and beverage, food security, health care, hospitality, LGBTQ, marketing and branding, mobile applications, and women and youth empowerment.  We invite you to read their profiles here.

The YLAI Professional Fellows Program will begin on October 5 in Dallas, Texas. Participants will then engage in four-week fellowships in cities throughout the U.S.  The program will wrap-up with a Closing Summit in Washington, DC, which will focus on leadership and skills development training.

Meridian is proud to partner with Atlas Corps and Entrepreneurs’ Organization for this program, as well as with community-based members and universities throughout the U.S. The website includes information about the YLAI Professional Fellows Program and the YLAI Network.

For further information, please contact the Meridian program team at For press inquiries, please contact  

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About Meridian International Center 

Meridian International Center is a premier nonprofit, global leadership organization headquartered in Washington, DC. Building on more than 55 years of experience, Meridian prepares U.S. and international leaders to meet global challenges and opportunities. Meridian’s suite of programs delivers the approach and environment for leaders to understand global issues and cultures, exchange ideas, collaborate on solutions, and build valuable relationships.

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.

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