Twenty-five young African leaders from sub-Saharan nations will visit the University this summer in a public management program as part of the Young African Leaders Initiative that received a $100,000 grant from the Washington Fellowship.
According to Director of Training and International Research Initiative Susan Webster, the University’s strength in public administration was a determining factor that made it a prime location to launch the Young African Leadership Initiative.
The initiative was launched by Obama in 2010, investing in young African leaders who strive who for growth, prosperity and democratic governance.
The Washington Fellowship brings over 500 young African leaders each year “for leadership training, academic coursework and mentoring that will create new opportunities in Africa to put those practical skills to use,” to improve economic opportunities and strengthen democratic institutions.
The U.S. commitment in training these young talents is to strengthen democratic institutions, Africa’s sustainable development, promote trade and investment and advance peace and security.
Webster said there are three different categories in public administration.
“Entrepreneurship, civic leadership and public administration is one of them,” Webster said. “Our strength in that area is probably the reason why FIU was chosen to do the program.”
The young talent may already have leadership positions in that area whether they’re running non-governmental organizations or are part of a larger agency or organization in Africa.
During the course of six weeks, they will participate in the curriculum developed by the Metropolitan Center. They will also receive training by a group of faculty that includes the School of Environment, Arts and Society and the African and African Diaspora Studies Program.
Webster said FIU will face challenges highlighting environmental issues and where they can draw in similarities based on the community in Miami and that in Africa.
“Access to resources is different here than they are over there,” Webster said. “But there are similarities in terms of, for instance, managing resources around, such as water conservation.”