Ten Young Gambians Selected For 2023 Mandela Washington Fellowship


The United States Embassy in Banjul is pleased to announce the selection of Ten (10) exceptional young Gambian leaders for the 2023 Mandela Washington Fellowship. The selected fellows are: Cherno Gaye, Omar Cham, Kadijah Bokum, Abdoulie Conteh, David Jeng, Rose Fatou Coker, Saffiatou Nyang, Sainabou Drammeh and Ebrima Simaha. They were chosen from over 400 applicants and will travel to the United States in June to participate in the prestigious fellowship program. Additionally, Saikou Suwareh Jabai has been selected by the U.S. Mission to the African Union to take part in this year’s program.

The Gambia’s 10 fellows will join a cohort of over 700 young African leaders from across the continent who will be participating in the 2023 fellowship. They will be placed in different universities across the United States, pursuing academic coursework in various tracks such as leadership, business, and civic engagement.

The Deputy Chief of Mission of U.S. Embassy Banjul, Eric R. Mehler, presided over a post-departure orientation for the fellows. DCM Mehler congratulated them on their selection, while emphasizing the importance of their role as ambassadors of The Gambia, and their potential to contribute to the growth and development of their communities and the country at large. He wished them the best in their journey and looks forward to the impact they will make upon their return.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is a flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), which empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking opportunities. The program aims to foster collaboration and innovation among young leaders across Africa and the United States.

Twenty-seven U.S. educational institutions in 20 states and the District of Columbia will host Leadership Institutes for the approximately 700 Mandela Washington Fellows. The six-week Institutes, hosted by college and university campuses across the United States, will support the development of Fellows’ leadership skills through academic study, workshops, mentoring, networking with U.S. leaders, and collaboration with members of the local community.

After their Leadership Institutes, fellows will participate in a summit. Furthermore, two of our selected fellows will engage in professional development with U.S. organizations in the public, private, or non-profit sector to further build their professional skills and networks.


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