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Obama Foundation to train emerging leaders across Africa

The Obama Foundation recently announced a new addition to its international programs: the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa. This one-year leadership development and civic engagement program will train and support 200 promising young leaders across Africa working in government, civil society, and the private sector. The Foundation received nearly 10,000 applications for 200 slots.

The Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa program will launch in Johannesburg, South Africa with a five-day convening. The convening will run from July 14 through July 18 and include plenary sessions, problem-solving workshops, and technical trainings that will help these young emerging leaders drive positive change throughout Africa. The convening will also include a town hall meeting with President Obama where he will hear about their experiences and the work they’re doing.

Following the South Africa convening, leaders will remain connected to the Foundation and one another via an online platform where they will engage in topical discussions, access leadership and training resources, and participate in trainings and webinars led by experts and industry leaders.

The individuals selected to participate in the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa program will ultimately serve as the backbone of a larger ecosystem of Foundation changemakers across the continent and, eventually, the world, as the Foundation launches similar leadership programs in regions around the  world.

The Obama Foundation also announced that Bernadette Meehan, previously Executive Director of International Programs at the Foundation, will now serve as Chief International Officer. In addition to over- seeing the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa program, Bernadette will develop and oversee all international programs for the Obama Foundation. Prior to joining the Obama Foundation, Bernadette served in a variety of assignments in Washington and abroad during her 13-year career as a Foreign Service Officer.

“These remarkable individuals will be a part of our largest and most ambitious leadership group to date: the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa,” said Bernadette Meehan, Chief International Officer of the Obama Foundation. “In bringing together 200 young leaders from across Africa, we hope to begin a conversation about how each of us can create positive change in our communities. In addition, I am honored to continue my work with the Obama Foundation as Chief International Officer as we develop a robust international programming slate that helps the Foundation achieve its mission of inspiring and empowering the next generation of civic leaders.”

“The Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa program is a remarkable opportunity to connect with 200 exceptional young leaders across the continent,” said David Simas, CEO of the Obama Foundation. “Over the last year, Bernadette and her team have met with hundreds of emerging leaders around the world to identify ways for the Obama Foundation to amplify the outstanding work being done in these leaders’ communities. As our Chief International Officer, she will play an integral role developing the strategic vision that will guide our international programming and continue to be a key part of our team

Over the last year, the Obama Foundation launched several exciting and innovative programs to help advance its mission and connect with young leaders around the world. This includes training days around the United States; an inaugural global Summit in Chicago; and events with emerging leaders in Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, India, Singapore, and New Zealand.

This year, the Obama Foundation partnered with the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy to create the Obama Foundation Scholars Program. This group of rising young leaders from around the world will come to Chicago to earn a Master of Arts degree focused on International Development and Policy, while also taking the work they’re doing in their communities to the next level.

Finally, the Obama Foundation recently announced its first class of Fellows — 20 outstanding civic innovators from 11 different countries and five regions. This two-year, nonresidential program will kick off by bringing the Fellows together for their first convening in Chicago next month.

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