A Comedian among the 15 young South Sudanese selected for a 6 weeks Mandela Washington Fellowship.
Winning a fellowship chance to a western nation such as the United States is an experience that only the dozen young and ambitious South Sudanese YALI darlings can describe.
Akau Jambo, a comedian, and performer are one of 15 young professionals selected for a six-week learning opportunity with the US-funded Mandela Washington Fellowship.
The award-winning comedian and Co-Founder of the Juba International Festival was a choice among 500 applications from throughout the country.
They will be among 700 exceptional young leaders chosen from Sub-Saharan Africa to further their education at different American institutions and colleges.
“It was a fantastic day for me. The irony is that I received the news on my birthday. I had just walked into this office when I received the email, tapped, and read congrats. “I was thinking, Yoooo, this is a fantastic day for me, it’s my birthday, and I’m happy to travel to America,” he added.
The comedian will travel in two months to Michigan, where he will be linked to a theater for the fellowship.
“I’m expecting a lot, and I’m trying to prepare my mind to learn a lot about integrating the realm of art and society, and how to handle problems and the influence of art on society,” he added.
Rumbek Isaiah, an entrepreneur and the creator of Global Aim South Sudan, is one of the candidates.
He claims that visiting America will allow him to see the rest of the globe.
He also added that the chance would enable him better grasp how a varied group of people from various ethnic origins coexist in the most powerful country on the planet.
“It’s like a fantasy come true.” I anticipate to encounter a varied range of individuals in the United States and among my fellow African kids. “I also intend to enhance my network via that meeting, in addition to my academics and the leadership expertise that I will get,” Isaiah stated.
South Sudan’s youth are reported to constitute the majority of the country’s population.
However, just 12% of the adolescents are working, making them one of the most disadvantaged groups in society.
According to a 2019 UN Development Program survey, more than 90% of South Sudanese teenagers lack formal work options.
According to the research, even to implement the Revitalized Agreement in a meaningful way, the risk of ongoing young marginalization remains a threat to the country’s prosperity.
Despite the hurdles, courageous young people are resolved to ride themselves out of poverty.
Young people in the shaky nation are entering the business sector with the assistance of development and humanitarian organizations.
“I believe this is one of those chances to learn something new outside of South Sudan or the continent,” says Lydia Lagano, a writer and one of the female candidates.
“It’s a fantastic chance for me and the other fellows who will accompany me to learn about diverse professional cultures,” she said.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the centerpiece of the United States Government’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).
Each year, the Fellows attend six-week Leadership Institutes at schools or institutions in the United States, where they study Business, Civic Engagement, or Public Management.
The fifteen young South Sudanese were chosen by the US Embassy in Juba based on their current talents and contributions to their communities.
The participants will spend around six weeks in the United States, where they will be allocated to different states to gain skills in various professions.
According to Moulik D. Berkana, Public Affairs Officer of the American Embassy in Juba, the fellowship provides a professional development opportunity.
“They develop skills, network, and have academic programs, projects, and diverse focusers.” Agriculture, business, and technology are all possibilities, according to Bekana.
For his part, the United States Charge d’Affaires, David Renz, congratulated all those who made it to the finish.
“What I truly want to convey is that this is going to be an incredible experience for you.” And it means a lot to me to be able to go across my nation and offer you this experience,” Ambassador Renz told the fellows.
He encourages people to seize the chance to improve themselves, their lives, and their communities.
“America makes investments in individuals.” The most significant resources that this nation possesses are not cows or farmland, though both are quite precious in our country since they are productive when utilized; it is the people, and all the people whose lives you will touch when you return.”
Former US President Barack Obama established the Young African Leaders Initiative in 2010.
In addition to the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the US Embassy runs various youth-focused initiatives via YALI.