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Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) returns to FIU for 3rd straight year.

This summer for the third consecutive year, Florida International University (FIU) will welcome to campus a select group of emerging leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa, a part of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). The 25 exceptional young professionals will arrive in Miami in June, part of a larger group of 1,000 Mandela Washington Fellows being hosted across the United States this summer.

FIU’s Center for Leadership has also once again been tapped to provide leadership development content to this highly engaged, civic minded group.

“The leadership training that the Center for Leadership has provided in previous years has received excellent reviews from the emerging African leaders,” says Dr. Susan Webster, FIU’s Director of Training and International Research Initiatives who serves as administrative director of the program. “We’re pleased to include the Center for Leadership once again as this new group arrives on campus.”

As a part of their time in Miami, Dr. Nathan Hiller, Academic Director for The Center, will lead the group in a workshop focused on Leveraging Strategic Networks. The concept of developing and leveraging strategic networks is also often included in Dr. Hiller’s executive leadership development program for high-potential executives, The High-Potential Leader Program (HPL), for which he serves as Faculty Chair.

“We are honored to work with the YALI group again this year and be part of this exciting program that Dr. Webster has spearheaded for FIU. It’s not often that you get to be part of an initiative that has the audacious goal of changing the course of a continent,” says Dr. Hiller. “For our part, we’ll be sharing some of the ideas and principles that are part of the Center for Leadership’s own executive programs, and for which our alumni have continuously rated us among the world’s best providers. We hope the session will provide similar value for the YALI group.”

Earlier this year, The Center’s executive leadership programs where ranked #1 in the USA by Leadership Excellence, a publication of

FIU is one of only 38 universities nationwide and the only university in Florida to host a cohort of these YALI participants who come to the U.S. for academic coursework, leadership training and networking opportunities. This year’s group includes Africans engaged in healthcare, education, environment/sustainability, government, telecommunications and the maritime industry. Following their time on campus, the Mandela Washington Fellows will travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with U.S. leaders from public, private and non-profit sectors. They will also attend a presidential summit featuring a Town Hall with President Obama.

Peer Collaboration continues

A program initiative begun in 2015 – Peer Collaboration — is being repeated this summer as each African Fellow is being paired with a local executive to share experiences, challenges and successes. The ever-expanding alumni body of The Center for Leadership’s executive development program provides a bench of suitable young local leaders from the Miami area to serve as peer collaborators. These include leaders from Center program’s such as HPL as well as from The Miami Fellows Program- an 18-month long immersive leadership development program offered by The Miami Foundation, with leadership sessions developed and delivered by The Center.

“The Peer Collaboration component has proven to be quite beneficial,” points out Dr. Webster. “Not only do the Mandela Washington Fellows and their U.S. peers get to know each other, but bonds deepen and friendships are formed. In fact, each person ends up with more than one ‘peer collaborator, it’s been wonderful to see how enthused our local professionals are to meet, learn and share with the young African leaders.”

To learn more about President Obama’s YALI program, visit To learn more about the FIU Center for Leadership and their executive leadership development programs, visit