CAIR-Chicago Selected to Host Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders


CAIR-Chicago is pleased to announce that it has been selected to host Ousmane Bah, a Fellow from Burkina Faso participating in the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders in August and September 2017.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking opportunities. The Fellows, who are between the ages of 25 and 35, have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries. These young leaders represent the diversity of Africa, including equal numbers of women and men, individuals with disabilities, and people from both urban and rural areas.

Bah is part of a larger group of 1,000 Mandela Washington Fellows that were hosted at 38 academic and leadership institutes across the United States earlier this summer. These exceptional young leaders met in Washington, D.C., at the end of their institutes for a Summit, and 100 were competitively selected to spend six weeks in professional development training with U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies, and government agencies.

Bah is an activist and a student’s leader in his country and an active community organizer known for his work in sensitizing youth and his community members on child marriage, HIV/AIDS and Genital Mutilation. Over the past ten years, Ousmane has worked in building grassroots initiatives and in broader community development programs in rural areas of the Sahel region of Burkina Faso. He works currently with the rural district of Falagountou as a focal point promoting community initiatives and serves also as a program officer of the UFCS-EPD (Union des Foyers Coraniques du Sahel pour l’Education, La Paix et le Development). Upon completion of his internship at CAIR-Chicago, Bah plans to bring the experience, skills, and network he built during his fellowship to reinforce his work in promoting civic engagement and youths’ empowerment in Burkina Faso.

CAIR-Chicago has participated as a host organization to several fellowship programs sponsored by the U.S. State Department, universities, and partner organizations. Fellowships are conjoined with the coveted Internship and Externship Program, allowing individuals to enhance their professional development with advocacy and social justice. This is CAIR-Chicago’s first year partnering with YALI.