Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program

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Meridian International Center is pleased to implement the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program on behalf of the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. YLAI empowers entrepreneurs to strengthen their capacity to advance their entrepreneurial ventures and effectively contribute to economic and social development in their communities. In fall 2018, 250 YLAI Professional Fellows from Latin America and the Caribbean expanded their leadership and entrepreneurial experience through fellowships at businesses and organizations across the United States. Through the YLAI Entrepreneurship Institute and the individualized Fellowships, YLAI Fellows accelerated their ventures’ success and developed specific action plans to carry out upon return to their home countries. YLAI Fellows have built networks, linkages and lasting partnerships to attract investments and support for their entrepreneurial ventures.

Since fall of 2016, over 500 entrepreneurs from 36 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have successfully participated in the YLAI Professional Fellows Program. Learn more about the YLAI Fall 2016 Cohort here, the YLAI 2017 Cohort here, and the YLAI 2018 Cohort here.

To complement the U.S.-based program, U.S. Fellowship Hosts have the opportunity to participate in the YLAI Reverse Exchange, where they travel to the region to learn organizational practices at the Fellows’ businesses, share best practices, and support Fellows’ action plan progress. Additionally, U.S. Fellowship Hosts participated in local programming to benefit the Fellows' home community.  Since fall of 2016, over 70 U.S.-based Fellowship Hosts have participated in a Reverse Exchange. Learn more about YLAI Alumni activities here.

Meridian is proud to partner with community-based members and universities throughout the U.S.


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