2017 Speakers
2018 Speakers To Be Announced

Fellow Ignite Talk Speakers

Business & Entrepreneurship Track

Civic Leadership Track

Public Management Track


Keynote Speakers

The Honorable Chris Coons
U.S. Senator for Delaware, U.S. Senate

Chris Coons has worked hard to find bipartisan solutions to the issues facing Delaware and the nation. He has emerged as a strong voice for job creation and the innovation economy, fighting in Congress for deficit reduction, progressive social justice, and forward-looking foreign policy. Unwilling to be sidelined by partisan gridlock, Chris has worked tirelessly to build relationships with his Republican and Democratic colleagues to find creative ways to get results for the people of Delaware.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations, Foreign Relations, Judiciary, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Ethics committees, CAC FAMILYChris is uniquely positioned to nurture American innovation and make the United States more competitive in the global marketplace. He is the senior Democrat on two subcommittees: the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts, which has jurisdiction over the U.S. court and bankruptcy systems, and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, which funds a broad array of government agencies – including those responsible for carrying out critical Wall Street reforms.

Putting pragmatism ahead of politics, Chris has partnered with Republicans to draw attention to a number of key issues facing Delaware and the United States. Chris and Republican Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas founded the Senate Competitiveness Caucus to support policies that promote U.S. innovation and competitiveness in the global economy.

Chris also joined with Republican Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois to create the Senate Human Rights Caucus. Along with Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, Chris founded and leads the Senate Law Enforcement Caucus, which aims to strengthen local, state, and federal public safety efforts and improve police-community relations. Chris also worked with Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia to establish the Senate Chicken Caucus, through which the Senators helped persuade South Africa to eliminate longstanding barriers to U.S. poultry imports for the first time in 15 years.

Chris’ top priority as a Senator is fighting for Delaware, and he has hosted dozens of job fairs throughout the First State to help veterans and Delawareans of all backgrounds find work. Committed to harnessing the economic potential of American innovation, Senator Coons is leading a campaign in the Senate to refocus Washington’s attention on manufacturing jobs. The Manufacturing Jobs for America (MJA) initiative aims to build bipartisan support for legislation that will modernize America’s manufacturing sector, help our manufacturers grow and create jobs, and equip American workers with the skills to succeed in the next generation of manufacturing jobs. Chris is the lead sponsor of several bills included in the MJA initiative, and in December 2015, two of Chris’ legislative proposals – a permanent extension of the R&D tax credit, and a new provision to help startups access that credit – were signed into law by President Obama.

Having spent eight years working in the private sector for an advanced materials manufacturing company in Delaware, Chris knows firsthand how important intellectual property protections are to promoting investments in breakthrough technologies and cures. On the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chris has fought to strengthen and modernize our nation’s patent system and establish new protections for American inventions and innovations.

Chris knows that Delaware can’t reach its economic potential at home if we don’t maintain American leadership throughout the world. That’s why he’s used his position on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to advocate for key foreign policy and national security priorities, from calling for Congress to declare war on ISIS to keeping rogue nations like Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Chris knows that a safe and secure world depends on clear-eyed American leadership – and he is confident that we can keep our country safe without jeopardizing our fundamental values.

A member of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, Chris has emerged as an important voice on the continent’s security challenges and economic opportunities. He is focused on building partnerships throughout Africa and ensuring that health programs, food aid, economic development, and security assistance effectively reach those who need it most. Chris has worked to improve access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa; engage businesses in expanded trade and investment opportunities; end preventable maternal and child deaths; protect wildlife from trafficking; and promote peace, democracy, and human rights across the continent.

In the fall of 2015, Chris brought business and nonprofit leaders from around the world to Wilmington as part of his fourth annual “Opportunity: Africa” conference, which seeks to promote trade and investment between the U.S. and Africa. Chris’ commitment to the continent stems from his interest in African affairs that began long before he became a U.S. Senator. In college, Chris spent a semester studying at the University of Nairobi in Kenya. He returned to the continent in the late 1980s to work with the South African Council of Churches in the anti-apartheid movement.

Chris’ election to the Senate in 2010 capped a decade of successful service in New Castle County government. In four years as New Castle County Council President and six years as New Castle County Executive, Chris earned a reputation for delivering real results on behalf of Delawareans and supporting the county during the least stable economic climate in decades. Chris balanced six budgets by eliminating wasteful spending and created jobs through innovative public-private partnerships. His Safe Streets partnership removed dangerous parole violators from Delaware neighborhoods and cleaned up dozens of the worst county properties. He also preserved thousands of acres of open space and fought for an independent ethics commission to make county government more transparent.

Prior to serving as County Executive, Chris worked as an attorney for Delaware-based W.L. Gore & Associates, one of the 200 largest privately held companies in the United States. As a law student, Chris founded the first Delaware chapter of the “I Have a Dream” Foundation, which helps low-income students make the academic journey from elementary school through college. Shortly after receiving his law degree and clerking on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, he began working at the organization’s CAC ANNIE national office, where he launched and ran its AmeriCorps program in fifteen cities. In this program, AmeriCorps members help recruit and train volunteers to mentor students participating in the Foundation’s college-attainment program.

Chris graduated from Amherst College with a B.A. in Chemistry and Political Science, and earned his law degree from Yale Law School and a Master’s in Ethics from Yale Divinity School. A longtime New Castle County resident, Chris grew up in the Pike Creek and Hockessin areas and lives in Wilmington with his wife, Annie, and their three children, Michael, Jack, and Maggie.

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Wade Warren
Acting Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

Wade WarrenWade Warren currently serves as Acting Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Most recently, Warren served as the Assistant to the Administrator for the Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL) and the Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Bureau for Global Health. He had responsibility for strategic planning, budgeting, procurement, human resources, project design, monitoring and evaluation, and communications. Additionally, he was the Acting Chief Operating Officer of the State Department’s Office of the Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance, where he had overall responsibility for strategic planning, budgeting, program planning and performance reporting for $32 billion annually in foreign assistance. Warren also worked for 13 years for USAID’s Bureau for Africa, serving in Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Washington, D.C. In Washington, he served as the Director of the Africa Bureau’s Office of Development Planning and as the Bureau’s Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator. He was responsible for the bureau’s policy, budgeting, programming and operational processes, with particular emphasis on strategic frameworks for USAID’s 23 bilateral and three regional missions in Africa.

Warren received his undergraduate degree in history from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 1981 and his graduate degree in international business from the Thunderbird School of Global Management in 1990. Throughout the 1980s, he worked as an analyst in the U.S. House of Representatives (for two members and a committee) and from 1991 to 1994, he served as chief financial officer of the U.S. Telecommunications Training Institute, a non-profit organization that provides policy and technical training to communications professionals from throughout the developing world.

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Mark Taplin
Acting Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Mark TaplinMark Taplin currently serves as Acting Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). The Bureau advances U.S. foreign policy objectives through educational, professional, and cultural programs that promote mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other nations. Prior to assuming his current role, Mr. Taplin served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy in ECA, overseeing the Bureau’s policy, evaluation, innovation and alumni efforts as well as its programs supporting the protection of cultural heritage.

PDAS Taplin joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1980 and holds the rank of Minister-Counselor. From 2010-2014, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France in a period of expanding U.S.-French cooperation. Prior to that assignment, Taplin taught and conducted research as the Public Diplomacy Fellow at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. From 2005-2008, he served as Charge d’Affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, Romania. During his tenure, he helped promote a close partnership between the U.S. and Romania. From 2002-2004, he was Director for Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus at the Department of State. He has also held a number of overseas public diplomacy assignments. He was Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine (1999-2001). He also completed two tours at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, as well as assignments in Brazil, Haiti, and Mauritius.

Mr. Taplin holds a bachelor’s degree in humanities and international affairs from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and a master’s degree in strategic studies from the University College of Wales (Aberystwyth). He is the author of Open Lands: Travels Through Russia’s Once Forbidden Places (Steerforth Press, 1997).

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Tony O. Elumelu
Chairman, Heirs Holdings, and Founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation

Tony ElumeluTony O. Elumelu is an economist by training, a serial entrepreneur, and philanthropist.

He is the Founder and Chairman of Heirs Holdings Ltd, an African proprietary investment company, with interests in power, oil and gas, financial services, hospitality, real estate and healthcare, present in twenty African countries.

Tony is known for his significant contribution to entrepreneurship in Africa. In 2010, he created The Tony Elumelu Foundation, which has committed $100m in a 10-year programme to fund, mentor and train 10,000 African entrepreneurs. The Foundation’s mission is inspired by Tony’s economic philosophy of Africapitalism, which positions the private sector as the key enabler of economic and social wealth creation in Africa.

He sits on numerous public and social sector boards, including the global advisory board of the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4ALL), USAID’s Private Capital Group Partners Forum (PCG), and is co-Chair of the Aspen Institute’s Global Food Security Working Group. Tony serves on the international advisory board of the Washington DC based think tank the Wilson Center, and is a member of the Global Advisory Council of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Centre for Public Leadership. He is also a member of the World Economic Forum Community of Chairmen.

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Helene D. Gayle
CEO, McKinsey Social Initiative

Helene GayleHelene D. Gayle is CEO of McKinsey Social Initiative, a nonprofit organization that implements programs that bring together varied stakeholders to address complex global social challenges. As the inaugural CEO, Dr. Gayle is setting direction and building the organization. McKinsey Social Initiative’s first program, Generation, addresses the problem of youth unemployment, with programs in five countries—India, Kenya, Mexico, Spain, and the United States—and a goal of connecting one million young people with skills and jobs in five years.

Previously, Dr. Gayle was president and CEO of CARE USA, a leading international humanitarian organization with approximately 10,000 staff whose poverty fighting programs reached over 97 million people in 87 countries. An expert on global development, humanitarian, and health issues, she also spent 20 years with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), focused primarily on combating HIV/AIDS. She was appointed as the first director of the National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention, and achieved the rank of Rear Admiral and Assistant Surgeon General in the U.S. Public Health Service. Dr. Gayle also served as the AIDS coordinator and chief of the HIV/AIDS division for the U.S. Agency for International Development. Dr. Gayle then directed the HIV, TB and Reproductive Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, directing programs on HIV/AIDS and other global health issues.

Dr. Gayle serves on public company and non-profit boards including The Coca-Cola Company, Colgate-Palmolive Company, the Rockefeller Foundation, Brookings Institution, Center for Strategic and International Studies, New America, the Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative, and the ONE Campaign. In addition, she serves on the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Public Health Association, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Named one of Forbes’ “100 Most Powerful Women,” Foreign Policy magazine’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers,” and Newsweek’s top 10 “Women in Leadership,” she has been featured by media outlets as diverse as the New York Times, Washington Post, ForbesWoman, Glamour, O Magazine, National Public Radio, CNN and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She has also authored numerous articles on global and domestic public health issues, poverty alleviation, gender equality, and social justice.

Dr. Gayle was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. She earned a B.A. in psychology at Barnard College, an M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.P.H. at Johns Hopkins University. She is board certified in pediatrics.

Her contributions have been honored with awards from Columbia University, Barnard College, Spelman College, Bryn Mawr College, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, the U.S. Public Health Service and AARP, among others. She has received 13 honorary degrees and holds faculty appointments at the University of Washington and Emory University.

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Norman Moyo
Author and CEO, New Enterprise Business DPA & CUMII, ECONET

Norman Moyo KweseNorman is currently a Group Executive at Econet, a Pan African Telecoms, Media and Technology (TMT) Company. Within this role his responsibilities include being substantive CEO of Cumii, a Pan African Internet of Things (IoT) company & Distributed Power Africa (DPA – a renewable energy solution firm) & Group COO of Kwese, a Pan African Media Company

Norman has a well-rounded experience gained whilst working in various African countries like Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania and South Africa. Having begun his career journey at Standard Chartered Bank, he moved into the telecommunications industry when GSM technology was introduced in Africa by being part of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe team. Thereafter he moved to Celtel International as Commercial Director in Zambia before landing the job of Chief Marketing Officer in Nigeria.

Prior to his current engagements, he was the Chief Executive Officer of Helios Tanzania and Etisalat Tanzania.

Norman is resilience in seeing through, whatever he has started off ensuring it blooms to fully functional successful companies. In 2011 Norman was nominated to the prestigious GTB global top 40 world telecom leaders under 40 years as a result of his work in Nigeria.

He holds an Honours Degree in Economics, an MBA from the University of Zimbabwe and London Business school training. He too has a passion in disseminating information which is evidenced by the book “Rumble in The Jungle, Leadership from an African Perspective” he wrote in 2015.

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General (Ret.) Richard B. Myers
President, Kansas State University,and 15th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Gen. Richard B. MyersRetired U.S. Air Force Gen. Richard Myers has recently returned to his home state and alma mater to serve as the President of Kansas State University. The Board of Regents appointed him to the Interim position in April 2016 and to the permanent post on November 14, 2016. General Myers graduated from the university in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and joined the Air Force through K-State’s ROTC program.

After serving over 40 years in the US Air Force, General Myers retired as the 15th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 1 October, 2005. He became Chairman 20 days after the events of 9/11. As the nation’s highest ranking military officer, he served as principal military adviser to the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Council.

General Myers also served as Vice Chairman and Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He has held command positions at every level, including Commander of US Space Command, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Pacific Air Forces, US Forces Japan, and two fighter wings. A fighter pilot with over 4,100 hours, General Myers logged more than 600 combat hours during the Vietnam conflict. He holds an MBA from Auburn University (1977), and has attended Air Command and Staff College, the Army War College, as well as the Program for Senior Executives in National and International Security, John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (1991). President Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 for his service to the country.

Since retiring from active duty service, General Myers served as Foundation Professor of Military History and Leadership at Kansas State University (2005-2016), and served on the Board of Governors of the USO (2006-2016), the last six years of which were as Chairman. Myers currently occupies the Colin Powell Chair for National Security Leadership, Character and Ethics at National Defense University (2006-present) and continues to serve on several public and non-profit boards.

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Frank Sesno
Director, Professor of Media and Public Affairs and International Affairs, The George Washington University

Frank Sesno is director of the School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA) at The George Washington University. He is an Emmy-award winning journalist and creator of PlanetForward.org, a user-driven web and television project that highlights innovations in sustainability. He hosts and facilitates the Planet Forward Salon Series focusing on topics such as energy policy, green jobs, and food production. He has moderated events for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Bayer CropScience, Land O’Lakes Foundation, and National Geographic, among others.

As SMPA director, Sesno leads a faculty of nearly two dozen world-class professors who research and teach journalism, political communication and the impact of digital media in international affairs. Sesno teaches classes on environmental multimedia reporting, ethics in journalism, documentary and ‘the art of the interview.’

Inspired by his mother’s experience with Hospice, Sesno hosted the Hospice Foundation of America’s Continuing Education Series for seven years.

Sesno’s diverse career spans more than three decades, including 21 years at CNN where he served as White House correspondent, anchor, and Washington Bureau Chief. He has covered a diverse range of subjects, from politics and conventions to international summits and climate change. He has interviewed five U.S. presidents and literally thousands of political, business and civic leaders — ranging from Hillary Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Microsoft founder Bill Gates and broadcast legend Walter Cronkite.

Before joining CNN in 1984, Sesno worked as a radio correspondent at the White House and in London for the Associated Press. He has won several prestigious journalistic awards, including an Emmy, several cable ACE awards, and an Overseas Press Club Award. Sesno is a member of the Board of Trustees at Middlebury College, AmeriCares, and the Council on Foreign Relations. He serves as chair of the Posse Foundation Washington Advisory Board as well. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in American History from Middlebury College.

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Session Speakers

Lucinda Acquaye-Doyle, Ph.D., MSW
Program Manager, Mandela Washington Fellowship Program, Howard University and Director and Assistant Professor of Social Work, Dominican College

Lucinda Acquaye-DoyleDr. Acquaye-Doyle joined Dominican College in the Fall of 2014 and was appointed as Program Director Fall 2016. She received her B.A. from the State University of New York at Buffalo, M.S.W. from Stony Brook University and a Ph.D. from the Howard University School of Social Work. Her areas of specialization include Internationalizing Higher Education, International Experiential Learning with special emphasis on Social Work Education, International Social Work and Displaced Populations. Dr. Acquaye-Doyle and is a two-term appointed member of the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) Council for Global Learning, Research, and Practice and is newly appointed to CSWE’s Council on Human Rights.

Dr. Acquaye-Doyle has research experience and interests in the areas of Attitudes toward Internationalization, Transformational Leadership, the Institutionalization of Experiential Learning Programs; African Immigrants and Mental Health; Study Abroad, Exchange, and International Service Learning programs, Cultural Competency, and Social Work Education. Lucinda has notable scholarly contributions to the field including domestic and international conference presentations, and articles published in peer reviewed journals; two of which appeared in the Journal on Social Work Education (Special Issue on HBCU’s and Special Issue on Globalization) and a book chapter which appears in NASW Press’ publication titled “Hope Matters: The Power of Social Work”. Dr. Acquaye-Doyle remains involved with international engagement in her role as Program Manager for the Mandela Washington Fellowship Program for Young African Leaders (YALI) at Howard University; a role in which she has served in for four consecutive years.

Lucinda focuses on macro practice and has extensive experience international programs, program development and management, monitoring and evaluation. Dr. Acquaye-Doyle has taught Research Methods for Social Work Professionals, Macro Practice, Women in the Contemporary Society: A Cross-Cultural Perspective, Social Movements and Social Justice, Introduction to Social Work, Social Work Policy, Child Welfare and the Law, Freshman Seminar, and International Service Learning courses. She is currently the Faculty Advisor for the Social Work Club and serves on the college’s Freshman Directorate, Institutional Review Board, and Center for Instructional Excellence committees, and was invited to be a member of and Ad Hoc committee charged with evaluating the college’s educational goals.

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Walaa Ahmed
2016 Mandela Washington Fellow from Sudan and East Africa Regional Advisory Board Chair

Walaa Ahmed, 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow and the East African Regional Advisory Board Chairperson. For eight years, she has been involved in activities to empower her community. She’s the founder of Sisters and initiative that work on Sudanese women empowerment. Walaa was the capacity building consultant for Sudanese Young Leaders Program, where she was responsible for planning, coordinating, and monitoring of all capacity-building activities. She also collaborated with Practical Action Organization on researching and documenting for the book Technologies from Clay, training women in war-affected zones to initiate their own business. Walaa sits on Gesr Center for youth empowerment’s Board as an executive Board member. She is a mechanical engineer and has held different positions in government, the private sector, and universities. Walaa currently works as Process Integration Specialist at DAL Group. She was awarded the Chevening Scholarship, the UK’s governmental scholarship for leaders around the world, to study at Imperial College, London, where she obtained her MSc in Advanced Mechanical Engineering with a special focus on aircraft engines technology and Nanofluids.

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Jacquiline Amongin
2017 Mandela Washington Fellow and Member of Parliament from Uganda, Bridgewater State University

Jacquiline AmonginJacquiline Amongin has over 6 years’ experience as a legislator in the Parliament of Uganda and is Uganda’s representative to the African Union Pan African Parliament. She is also a founder of an NGO, Amongin Jacquiline Hope Development Foundation (AJAHFOD), focusing on empowering rural communities of Eastern Uganda on areas of education, health, hygiene, access to water sanitation as well as addressing climate change and economic empowerment. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Environment Management from Makerere University Kampala. She is ambitious to replicate good practices to improve on the legislative framework of Uganda, especially in areas of environmental sustainability, cultural issues such as addressing girl child education, and general improvement on the rural infrastructure set up to be environment complaint. She is passionate about networking with other like-minded personalities, entities, organizations, and international bodies in achieving her objectives.

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Luisa F. Angelsmith
World Learning

Luisa F. AngelsmithLuisa F. Angelsmith is an international development professional with 10 years of experience working to develop the capacity of non-profit organizations around the globe. She currently manages a program funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) that provides capacity development and grants to non-profit organizations serving vulnerable populations across the globe. She also serves a technical advisor on projects with organization development and grantmaking components. She is a member of the Organization Development Network (ODN), the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), and the AU/NTL Association.

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Nancy Boswell
Director of the US and International Anti-Corruption Law Certificate Program, Washington College of Law, American University

Nancy BoswellNancy Boswell is an adjunct professor of an upper level seminar and Director of the US and International Anti-Corruption Law Certificate Program at American University Washington College of Law (WCL). Designed for prosecutors, judges, in-house and law firm counsel and other professionals from around the world and taught by leading government and private sector practitioners, the program provides a unique peer-to-peer training and networking opportunity. She was President and CEO of Transparency International USA, providing leadership from its founding in 1994 until 2011. A former member of the TI Board of Directors and TI Individual Member, she remains actively engaged in the anticorruption movement.

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Lindsey Boyle
Digital Strategist, YALI Network, Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State

Lindsey BoyleLindsey is the Digital Strategist for the Bureau of International Information Programs Campaigns team, including the Young African Leaders Initiative Network and the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative Network. In this role, she provides technical and training support for new digital initiatives including YALI Network Online Courses, #YALIServes, #Africa4Her and #YALILearns events. After joining the Department in 2012, she has worked in several technical and strategy-focused roles, but most enjoys working with young leaders.

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Amelia Carvalho
Regional Alumni Coordinator, Office of Alumni Affairs, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Amelia CarvalhoAmelia Carvalho joined the State Department’s Office of Alumni Affairs as the YALI Alumni Coordinator in May 2014. She provides support to U.S. Embassies and other State Department stakeholders on follow-on initiatives that allow Mandela Washington Fellow alumni to expand on their exchange experience and give back to their communities. In February 2016, Amelia took on additional responsibilities as coordinator for the broader Africa region alumni engagement portfolio. In her expanded role she manages ECA-sponsored alumni funding competitions and supports U.S. Embassies in their efforts to build and sustain alumni networks throughout Africa. Prior to joining ECA, Amelia spent six years at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS), where she worked with U.S. Embassies and U.S. Department of Defense alumni to organize programs that fostered dialogue among U.S., European, and African security professionals on security challenges facing Africa. Amelia holds a B.A. in international relations and a master’s degree in public administration.

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Miranna Darr
YALI Network Program Manager, Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP), U.S. Department of State

Miranna DarrMiranna Darr is the Program Manager for the YALI Network with the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP). Prior to joining the State Department, Miranna was a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin where she taught English and was engaged in women and girls empowerment activities. Miranna has also worked in the international exchange field and the fundraising and development sector for nonprofit organizations. She has a love of the people, culture and food of Africa and has travelled extensively across the continent including Rwanda, Mozambique, South Africa, Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Niger. Miranna is a graduate from American University with a MA in International Communications and a BA in French and Political Science from Gettysburg College. Miranna spends her free time enjoying her children, Adriana (3 years) and Oliver (9 months).

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Dan Dixon
Sustainability Director and Research Assistant Professor, Climate Change Institute, University of Maine

Dan is the UMaine Sustainability Director and a Research Assistant Professor with the University’s Climate Change Institute. Dan has completed five Antarctic field seasons, traversing more than 10,000 km over the Antarctic Ice Sheet and drilling more than 40 ice cores along the way. His research is focused on reconstructing paleoclimate over the last ~1000 years using the chemistry contained in snow and ice. Dan has also worked in Southern Patagonia, the New Zealand Southern Alps, the Central Chilean Andes, the Olympic Mountains, the Saint Elias Mountains, and on the Island of South Georgia.

In his role as Sustainability Director, Dan provides strategic direction and leadership to promote a culture of sustainability at the University of Maine. He is responsible for the overall management and oversight of the Office of Sustainability and works closely with all levels of university leadership to advance the University of Maine’s ongoing commitment to sustainability. In his spare moments, he enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, biking, exploring, watching movies, eating healthy and delicious locally-sourced foods, and building really big Lego models with his 5-year old son.

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Jen Dougherty
Social Media Manager, YALI Network, Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State

Jen DoughertyJen Dougherty is the social media manager for the YALI Network which includes a Facebook page, the face2face group, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Along with her degree in Communication Studies from West Chester University of Pennsylvania, she brings nearly 10 years of strategic communication experience with her to the YALI Team. Her experience includes public engagement with youth audiences, public relations in the public utility and technology sectors, as well as business marketing and sales.

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Megan Huber
Regional Alumni Coordinator, Office of Alumni Affairs, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Megan HuberMegan Huber has been working with the State Department’s Office of Alumni Affairs since 2011 in various capacities. As the Regional Alumni Coordinator for the United States, Megan spearheads the Department’s efforts to engage nearly 400,000 American alumni of diverse U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs. She also serves as the Regional Alumni Coordinator for Europe and Eurasia, working with U.S. Embassies to develop strategic programming to engage and support alumni in the region. In both roles, she manages the development of innovative outreach programs that provide alumni with tools to amplify the impact of their exchanges and to connect with the wider International Exchange Alumni network. Megan previously served as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Malaysia and worked in the higher education and NGO sectors. She graduated from Wake Forest University with a degree in international politics and is currently pursuing a M.S. in conflict analysis and resolution at George Mason University. She previously studied international law in Geneva, Switzerland and researched post-conflict education systems with UNESCO in Kathmandu, Nepal.

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Léonce Gamai
2017 Mandela Washington Fellow from Benin

Leonce GamaiLéonce Gamai is a young Beninese leader, Pan-Africanist, journalist, writer, and political analyst. He graduated with a Master’s degree in Communication and Public Relations and a Bachelor’s in African Studies from the University of Abomey-Calavi. Léonce is the head of political news at ‘La Nouvelle Tribune’, a print and online newspaper in Benin. He has 10 years’ experience in the community development and civic engagement sector with a focus on youth empowerment, peace-building, election support, good governance and Sustainable Development Goals. He is currently the Secretary General of Junior Chamber International (JCI) Abomey-Calavi Elite, a local organization of JCI Benin. JCI is a non-profit international non-governmental organization that aims to provide development opportunities that empower young people to create positive change. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Léonce plans to establish civic education classes that will run alongside advocacy campaigns across Benin. This initiative will aim to fight against voter bribery.

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Stephanie Garibaldi
Senior Trainer, Story District

Stephanie GaribaldiStephanie Garibaldi, a senior trainer at Story District, has been leading corporate trainings and teaching storytelling classes since 2007. Over the last 10 years, Stephanie has personally coached well over 1,000 people in the art of con-temporary storytelling in professional and artistic settings. She curates and hosts Story District’s monthly storytelling series in Washington, DC. Past clients include Peace Corps, Deloitte & Touche, Chemonics International, Charles Koch Institute, Unilever, OPM and the EPA.

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Siddartha Ghose
Data Specialist, Aid Data

Siddhartha GhoseSiddhartha Ghose is a Data Specialist at AidData. He manages emerging donor engagement, data collection and analysis, out-reach and business development efforts. In his present role, Sid is regularly looking for ways to convey high impact data driven insights to policy audiences to generate both interest and funding for future and ongoing work streams. In his previous assignments working with banks across the globe, Sid was responsible for generating and communicating the results of complex statistical models to external audiences.

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Ruby Goka
2017 Mandela Washington Fellow from Ghana, Kansas State University

Ruby Yayra Goka has worked as a dental surgeon for over eight years. She is a Specialist in Restorative Dentistry at the Volta Regional Hospital in Ho, where with the help of an NGO, Oral Health Express, she is leading the drive to promote oral health awareness in the region. Ruby is also a six-time Burt Award for African Literature winner in Ghana and is currently running a campaign to stock the regional library with books and to institute a mobile library among government schools in the region. Ruby is committed to helping African children learn to develop the habit of reading for pleasure and to ensure that the books read reflect their experiences and environment featuring characters who are ‘just like them’. For Ruby, African representation in literature for children and young adults matters because if African children see themselves in the books they read, they will be inspired to reach higher. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Ruby plans to expand the mobile library project to other regions of Ghana and to continue to spread awareness of oral health issues through outreaches and screening exercises.

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Dr. Trish Gott
Assistant Director, the Staley School of Leadership Studies, Kansas State University

Trish GottTrisha Gott is the Assistant Director at the Staley School of Leadership Studies at Kansas State University. Gott works with student programs and leadership education, providing support to community-engaged learning experiences locally and around the world. She designs and oversees curricular and co-curricular learning experiences with partners from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Gott also supports campus engagement efforts and directs an institution-wide faculty and staff development institute. She served as the primary investigator on 2016 and 2017 Young African Leaders Initiatives for Kansas State. Gott has a bachelor’s of arts degree in modern languages, a master’s degree in Educational Leadership, a doctorate in Educational Leadership, and a graduate certificate in Qualitative Research from Kansas State University. She has a certificate in Service-Learning and Community-Engaged Learning in Postsecondary Education from Portland State University. Her research interests include state and federal higher education policy and administration, leadership education, state policy and orientation to higher education, and the civic mission of higher education. She lives in Manhattan, Kansas with her husband and their three sons.

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Rigbe Hagos
2016 Mandela Washington Fellow from Ethiopia and East Africa Regional Advisory Board Member

Rigbe Hagos has over seven years’ experience working on the inclusion of persons with disabilities. She has worked as a volunteer legal-aid counselor for women seeking free legal aid services. Rigbe is currently involved in her own private practice carrying out social consultancy for vulnerable groups. She focuses on awareness raising and disability mainstreaming training, counseling on self-esteem development, technical assistance on accessibility, and mainstreaming disability, and conducts research on related issues. She also works as a manager for a private limited company. Furthermore, Rigbe serves a board member and volunteer for the Association for Women with Disabilities Living with HIV, and takes part in other community-service projects being a member of the Rotary Club of Addis Abeba Sheger. Rigbe holds a master’s degree in Social Work and an LLB.

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Kimm Harris
President of IPC and Professor, University of Iowa

Kimm HarrisKimm is a passionate businesswoman with the ability to create a vision for the future, to transform ideas into action, and to connect individuals across a broad spectrum of industries. Through her business, non-profit work and educational pursuits, Kimm has developed relationships with successful individuals and organizations worldwide.

As President of IPC of iowa inc., a company that creates software solutions for CPAs, accountants, attorneys and other business professionals, Kimm has experienced over 25 years of business success. In addition to purchasing companies, she has been involved in start-ups and franchises.

Kimm received both her undergraduate and MBA from the University of Iowa and is passionate about entrepreneurship. She is a Lecturer and Venture School (I-Corps) Instructor, through the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) at the University of Iowa.

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Nancy Hopkins
Director of Programs, The Presidential Precinct

Nancy HopkinsNancy Hopkins is Director of Programs at the Presidential Precinct. Nancy develops, implements, and evaluates programs that bring emerging leaders together to engage in dialogue, exchange ideas, collaborate, and access professional development opportunities that help them address critical problems in their communities and countries.

Nancy has over two decades of experience in international development and the nonprofit sector. Prior to joining the Precinct she ran her own Charlottesville-based consulting practice, providing program development, evaluation, fundraising, and research services to several leading international nonprofit organizations. In this capacity she completed short-term assignments in Timor-Leste, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and South Korea. Before moving to Charlottesville, Nancy worked for The Asia Foundation as Director of Program Planning and Assessment in the Foundation’s San Francisco headquarters. For five years she served as Deputy Representative and then Representative in the Foundation’s Cambodia office in Phnom Penh, where she managed a staff of 40 and directed a program focused on promoting good governance, human rights and rule of law, women’s empowerment, and economic reform.

Earlier in her career, Nancy worked as Special Assistant to the President of Oxfam America, and she spent a year in Dhaka, Bangladesh with Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, supporting a dynamic group of Bangladeshi social entrepreneurs. Nancy also served as an assistant for Harvard’s Edward S. Mason Program, which enables mid-career professionals from developing countries and emerging economies to earn a Master in Public Administration degree. Nancy holds a Master in Public Policy degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

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Cheryl Jones
YALI Network Program Manager, Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP), U.S. Department of State

Cheryl JonesCheryl A. Jones is a contractor with the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP). She works with the bureau’s Office of Campaigns and is responsible for developing resources and content for the Young African Leaders Initiative Network. The YALI Network is an online community of over 480,000 young Africans and features online courses, interactive campaigns and initiatives, and social media discussion and activities. Ms. Jones has over 30 years experience in international broadcast and cable television programming and production, non-profit media, and management. She joined IIP’s YALI Network team in 2013.

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Charles Landow
Director of Education Content, Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)

Charles LandowCharles Landow is director of education content at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and a part-time lecturer of political science at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. At CFR, he works on a range of educational materials about international affairs and U.S. foreign policy. He regularly hosts simulations using CFR’s Model Diplomacy program to help groups from the United States and abroad build their knowledge and skills. Previously, Landow worked on multi-party political negotiations in Northern Ireland, at the International Labour Organization in Geneva, and for a U.S. Senator in Washington. He spent two months in Kinshasa in 2003 as an intern at the U.S. Embassy.

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Ryan LaPrairie
Director of Systems and Innovation, Mission Critical Development

Ryan LaPrairieRyan LaPrairie is the Director of Systems and Innovation for Mission Critical Development, Inc. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology, Master’s in Public Administration, and holds a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. As a project manager and consultant, he has been working with individuals and teams to improve group dynamics, processes and procedures, and decision-making methodologies. He routinely conducts data analyses for organizations using advanced statistical software. As a trainer, Ryan builds capacity for individuals and organizations around topics such as risk management, indicator targeting, applied project management tools, and Project Management for Development Professionals 1.

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Dr. Jesse Lutabingwa
Associate Vice Chancellor for International Education and Development and Professor of Public Administration, Appalachian State University

Jesse LutabingwaDr. Jesse Lutabingwa is Associate Vice Chancellor for International Education and Development and Professor of Public Administration at Appalachian State University. He is responsible for overall development and implementation of Appalachian’s global engagement efforts and strategies. Originally from Tanzania, Dr. Lutabingwa has more than 25 years of experience in international education and international development. An avid grant writer, he has written numerous successful grants and since arriving at Appalachian in July 2006, Dr. Lutabingwa has been award-ed more than $5 million in grants.

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Dr. Kevin Lyons
Associate Professor, Supply Chain Management Department and Director, Public Private Community Partnerships, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Kevin LyonsDr. Kevin Lyons is an Associate Professor, Supply Chain Management Department, at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and Director of Public Private Community Partnerships at Rutgers Business School.

His research includes the integration of sustainable development and diversity criteria into local and global Supply Chain Management systems, processes and operations. Dr. Lyons developed the Supply Chain Environmental Archeology research program/lab, which involves the archeological study of climate change and environmental impacts via the supply chain, big data analytics, risk assessment, decision analysis as well as product end-of-life and new product innovation research. He is the principal investigator for the Newark (NJ) Industrial Solution Center research project, Newark Anchor Institution Research Institute and the US State Department Mandela Washington Fellows Program. Previously, Dr. Lyons was the Chief Procurement Officer at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and he is an U.S. Air Force Veteran.

Dr. Lyons is also the Associate Director of the Rutgers Energy Institute and Associate Director of the Rutgers EcoComplex.

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Nelson Mandela
2017 Mandela Washington Fellow from Burundi, Howard University

Nelson MandelaNelson Mandela has over four years of experience as a volunteer Eglish teacher through International Christian Ministries. He enabling learners to effectively communicate in English and have a global mindset. Currently, Nelson is Founder and Representative of Hidden Talent English Club’s Agents of Change, a platform that helps students improve their English and use English as a tool to achieve their goals by discovering their dreams, talents, and potential. Students are then encouraged to become agents of change to the community they are staying in. Nelson completed three years at Universite Lumiere de Bujumbura in Finance and Accounting. Nelson is passionate about helping others, especially widows and orphans. Nelson wants to implement an orphanage and a school for them so that the destitute may be exposed to a good education and have hope for a better future. Nelson is excited to see people achieving their goals under his leadership. His vision after the fellowship is to serve his community by sharing his experience and the skills he will have learned and to keep on networking with other fellows.

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Pamela Mate
2017 Mandela Washington Fellow from Namibia, Syracuse University

Pamela MatePamela Mate has over seven years’ experience in the fields of media, communication, and information services. Currently, she is employed as the Senior Information Officer at the National Council, Parliament of the Republic of Namibia, where her key functions include enhancing parliamentary communication methods, strengthening public participation in the law making process, and covering events of Parliament for various platforms. Pamela holds a bachelor’s degree in Media Studies from the University of Namibia and is currently enrolled in the master’s program with a particular interest in the engagement of Parliament with the public. She is motivated by her desire to contribute meaningfully to the public service of Namibia and to provide support to an informed legislature. Upon her return from the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Pamela aims to effectively share and implement the knowledge gained on public management at Parliament and, as required, at other government agencies as well as grow her network to help strengthen good governance in her home country and beyond.

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Nicole Mechem
Deputy Director, Leadership Practice and Chief of Party, YALI, IREX

Nicole MechemFor over 10 years, Nicole has provided design, implementation, management, and technical support to IREX programs.

Nicole joined the IREX team in early 2006 and currently serves as the Deputy Director of IREX’s Leadership Practice, where she works closely with the Practice Director to oversee a large team of talent that designs, leads, and implements a collection of programs that share a common technical focus on leadership. Additionally, she works to bolster the technical and leadership skills of global change makers through her role as the Chief of Party for the USAID Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders program. She also provides technical and management support to the Community Solutions Program, funded by the Department of State.

Nicole’s prior roles at IREX have included supporting the Uniting Communities to Mitigate Conflict program in Somalia, a USAID-funded project engaging women and youth to promote positive approaches to resolving and avoiding conflict; serving as IREX’s first proposal recruiter; serving as the Director of IREX’s field office in Tbilisi, Georgia; and providing backstopping support to several education programs and IREX’s Field Operations unit.

Before joining IREX, Nicole served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Telavi, Georgia, where she collaborated with Georgian counterpart teachers to improve English-language instruction.

Nicole holds an MA in International Development Studies from George Washington University and a dual BA in Government and Spanish from California State University, Sacramento.

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Njavwa Mutambo
2017 Mandela Washington Fellow from Zambia, Skyline College

Njavwa is a young business executive focused on changing the African narrative. A proud capitalist, Njavwa believes in the Africapitalisim economic philosophy that states that the African private sector has the power to transform the continent through long-term investments, creating both economic prosperity and social wealth.He continues to be at the helm of Musanga Logistics, a transportation company he founded at the age of 21.

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Kakoma Mutenda
2016 Mandela Washington Fellow from Zambia and Southern Africa Regional Advisory Board Member

Kakoma MutendaKakoma Mutenda is a clean energy entrepreneur and owner of Quantum Biofuels Ltd. He has pioneered one of the few enzymatic biodiesel pilot plants in Africa. He is a renewable energy consultant and liquid renewable specialist. Other areas of interest include waste to energy conversion technology and industrial waste management. His business, Quantum Biofuels converts industrial and commercial oily waste streams into premium quality biodiesel using an environmentally and socially conscious business model labeled ‘The Triple C’ – Clean product, clean process and clean environment.

Kakoma is a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship alumni and current chair of the Southern Africa Regional Advisory Board. He is also a 2015/16 Yunus and Youth Fellow. Yunus and Youth is a year long fellowship of young social entrepreneurs. He is also an inaugural 2015 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP) alumni. In 2014 was also a professional fellow under the State dept sponsored Business and Entrepreneurship Exchange Programme (BEEP). He read Pure and Applied Chemistry at the University of Zambia.

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Vijai Nathan
Head of Corporate Training, Story District

Vijai NathanVijai Nathan, Story District’s head of corporate training, is a professional trainer, storyteller, comedienne & teacher, with more than 16 years of storytelling experience. She has designed/led trainings and coached staff for clients such as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the EPA, the White House Open Data Summit ’16, the Department of Justice, US Department of State, the Smithsonian Institute and many more. Vijai’s performance work has allowed her to connect with audiences nationally and internationally. Her credits include: NPR’s “Snap Judgement,” The Montreal International Comedy Festival, and headlining shows in Singapore, Trinidad, the UK & South Africa.

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Alexandra Nemeth
YALI Network Coordinator, Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State

Alexandra NemethAlexandra Nemeth is currently a YALI Network Campaign Coordinator based in Washington, DC. She works on the Network’s policy focused campaigns, which are aimed at raising awareness and encouraging members to take action in their community on various policy topics such as women’s rights, and human rights. Some of her recent work includes an outreach campaign in support of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative and outreach efforts in India focused on climate change. She joined the State Department in September of 2010. During her time at the Department, she has had various roles – including: French press liaison at Camp David during the G8 Summit in May 2012 and staff assistant at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2013. While in Kabul, her work focused on a women’s higher education initiative and on the Afghanistan National Institute of Music’s exchange trip to the United States.

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Orondaam Otto
2016 Mandela Washington Fellow from Nigeria and West Africa Regional Advisory Board Member

Orondaam OttoOrondaam Otto is a young African, passionate about social reform and development. He has over 10 years’ experience across various fields in community development and social enterprise management. He is the founder of Slum2School Africa, one of Africa’s leading education based volunteer driven organizations and in 5 years he has worked with over 5000 young volunteers across 25 countries to provide education and series of social support to over 11,000 children across Nigeria. He also consults for corporate organizations, social enterprises, foundations, and governmental institutions, helping them develop sustainable solution-based programs to address major social issues. He has a bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy, an executive master’s in Project Management from CUPE, UK, and a certificate in Social Change, Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship from the United Nations University for Peace, Costa Rica. He is a member of the Human Capital Development commission of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, The Education Reform Team and also an Ambassador for Junior Achievement Nigeria. He is a LEAP Social Innovator Fellow, a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow and he serves as the Chair of the West and Central African Regional Advisory Board for Presidents Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative as well as a member of the board of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund.

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Ronald L. Quincy, Ph.D
Professor, Rutgers, The State University

Ron QuincyRon Quincy is a Professor of Professional Practice, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy; Co-Academic Director, Collaborative Center for Research & Service and Academic Director, Rutgers Civic Leadership Institute, Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. He served as a member of the cabinet for two Michigan Governors. His other previous positions include Associate Vice President, Harvard University; Executive Director, Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change; Executive Director/President of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc.; President and Chairman of the White House Fellows Association and Foundation; and Foreign Policy Advisor, U.S. State Department, Africa Bureau.

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Bongekile Radebe
2016 Mandela Washington Fellow from South African and Southern Africa Regional Advisory Board Member

Bongekile RadebeBongekile is a development driven award-winning Entrepreneur, World Economic Forum Global Shaper, and 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow. She’s the Founder of Taste of Legends, a tea lifestyle and community brand which she started while in university under the name Her Destiny with the intention of uplifting women over a cup of tea. Through her passion for entrepreneurship development, she currently works as a Community Manager for OPEN Sandton; a collaborative coworking space. She holds a Bcom Finance Degree from the University of Johannesburg, and a further qualification in Business and Entrepreneurship from Purdue University in the USA. Her enthusiasm for building her country and continent sees her actively work as an Ambassador for Brand South Africa, and using media for development both digitally and serving as a mentor for a national TV Show called Future Leaders. She’s often invited as a guest speaker, panelist or facilitator on a number of platforms.

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Annette Richardson
Managing Partner, Decade Citizen

Annette RichardsonAnnette Richardson is Managing Partner of Decade Citizen, a strategic advisory company which assists clients, executives and corporations on their sustainability, legacy, philanthropic and pro-social initiatives. Ms. Richardson is a former Special Advisor to the Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General for the Sustainable Energy and a former Senior Advisor to the United Nations Office for Partnerships (UNOP). She is currently a Special Advisor to the Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. Ms. Richardson implemented global multi-stakeholder policy, advocacy and outreach programs and campaigns in support of the UN Secretary-General global development priorities to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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Cheryl Schoenberg
Deputy Chief of Party, YALI, IREX

Cheryl SchoenbergCheryl is Deputy Chief of Party for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. She provides general programmatic oversight and manages most of the DC-based staff. Previously at IREX, Cheryl managed aspects of several media development projects implemented in the Balkans from 1998 to 2000.

Cheryl is a seasoned development practitioner and unabashed peace idealist with experience managing programs focused on professional capacity development, leadership development, conflict resolution, youth, gender, community development, democracy building, and public health. Prior to returning to IREX, she worked for the U.S. Department of State managing grants to community-based organizations in South Africa, and as Chief of Party for a USAID-funded women and youth leadership program in the Balkans. As a consultant to international organizations, Cheryl has conducted participatory program evaluations, research and analysis, professional editing, and program needs assessments and proposal development. She is also skilled at curriculum development and facilitation in an experiential learning environment.

Cheryl completed a BA in International Affairs at the University of Mary Washington and a MA in Peace, Development and Conflict Resolution from Universitat Jaume I.

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Sheila Scott
Senior Technical Advisor for Gender, Center for Applied Learning and Impact, IREX

Sheila ScottSheila is the Senior Technical Advisor for Gender with IREX’s Center for Applied Learning and Impact where she brings expertise on women’s empowerment, civil society, the gender digital divide, gender-based violence, and youth. Since joining IREX in 2013, she has provided management and technical support to a diverse portfolio of governance and civil society projects in Eurasia as well as public-private partnerships in support of technology-for-education projects in Colombia, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, South Africa, and Tunisia. She currently manages the Novateca program in Moldova, which is transforming over 1,000 public libraries into relevant and resilient community centers that offer access to information and diverse community services.

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Tanya Sethi
Policy Specialist, Aid Data

Tanya SethiTanya Sethi is a Policy Specialist at AidData. She is responsible for ensuring that all publications produced by the policy team are of high quality, in terms of the substance and presentation. Her role involves liaising with the research team and the communications team to produce the most compelling visuals that convey the main arguments and key messages in policy reports. She has previously led sessions for university faculty and scholars in India on using data effectively in writing up research to improve the publishability of research.

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Allison Shapira
CEO and Founder, Global Public Speaking

Allison ShapiraAllison Shapira is the CEO/Founder of Global Public Speaking LLC. A former opera singer and TEDx speaker, she teaches at the Harvard Kennedy School and offers keynote speeches, inter-active workshops, and executive coaching for Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and international nonprofits. She has traveled from Africa to Asia and from Europe to Latin America helping world leaders grow their business, run for office, or launch a nonprofit. Allison has spoken at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit and was recently named a finalist for 2017 Woman Business Owner of the Year by the National Association of Women Business Owners, San Diego Chapter. She lives in Washington, DC, USA.

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Marcia Small
Southern Africa Regional Manager, IREX

Marcia SmallMarcia joined IREX as the Southern Africa Regional Manager at the end of September 2014.Prior to joining IREX, Marcia worked for Barclays Africa, steering the Employee Volunteer Program, which connected with 40,000+ employees across 13 countries in Africa where Barclays operated. She also worked within the corporate social responsibility team of Barclays Africa, and previously a leading South African financial institution, Absa. Throughout her tenure Marcia supported community organizations that worked in the sectors of youth development, women empowerment, rural savings and entrepreneurial development.Marcia has been committed to social and economic development in Southern Africa since she first visited the region in 1994 during her work with Public Sector Solutions, a development consultancy that was deeply involved in the municipal demarcation process during the early South African elections.

Marcia holds a Master of Arts in Urban Studies with a focus on community development from the City University of New York’s Hunter College, and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Sociology from the State University of New York at Albany.

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Sophia Stergiou
Regional Alumni Coordinator, Office of Alumni Affairs, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Sophia Stergiou has served in the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as the Regional Alumni Coordinator for the Western Hemisphere since January 2010. Sophia also served as the Regional Alumni Coordinator for South and Central Asia from August 2015 to October 2016. During her time in ECA, Sophia has implemented regional alumni enrichment seminars and facilitates training seminars at the Foreign Service Institute for alumni coordinators working in U.S. Missions abroad. She is the project manager for the annual Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) competition. Sophia recently temporarily served as the Assistant Information Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Spain for two months in 2016. Prior to joining the Office of Alumni Affairs, Sophia spent three years at the Organization of American States. Sophia holds an M.A. in International Education from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and a B.A. in Spanish and Marketing form DePaul University in Chicago.

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The Honorable Stephanie Sullivan
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Ambassador Stephanie S. Sullivan, a member of the Career Foreign Service, is a Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs. She previously served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of the Congo.

Ambassador Sullivan has additionally served as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, from 2011-2013. She was previously Managing Director of the Office of Management Policy, Rightsizing and Innovation. She has served multiple tours in the Executive Secretariat Operations Center, as Director (2008-2010), Deputy Director (2003 –2005), Senior Watch Officer (2002 –2003), and Watch Officer (1988-89), and in the White House Situation Room (1989-90).

Ms. Sullivan served as the Political Chief at the U.S. Embassy Accra, Ghana (1997 to 2001) and as a management, consular and political officer in Douala and Yaoundé, Cameroon (1986-1988). Other Washington assignments include desk officer for Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso in the Bureau of African Affairs (1991-93) as well as post management and human resources positions. Ms. Sullivan was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Democratic Republic of Congo (1980-1983) and later worked as Chief of Operations for the Africa Region at Peace Corps (1994-96).

Ambassador Sullivan is from New York State.

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Cate Urban
Founder, Urban Web Renovations

Cate UrbanIn 2017, Cate founded Urban Web Renovations to help small businesses and organizations design web and social media solutions that attract and retain customers, supporters and partners. Be-fore launching her own enterprise, she led global online marketing strategies for nonprofit organizations in Washington, DC for over a decade. Those organizations have been as small as 10 people to as large as thousands worldwide, and they have championed a number of causes including human rights and democracy issues, education, business development, and corporate social responsibility. In each position Cate has held, one thing has remained the same – her passion for managing web sites and social media accounts for both organizations and major thought leaders. Cate holds a bachelor’s degree in Russian language and literature from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree in Eurasian studies from Georgetown University. She speaks Russian and Ukrainian and has extensively researched women’s business development outside the United States.

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Steve Zita
2015 Mandela Washington Fellow from Democratic Republic of the Congo and former Regional Advisory Board Member

Steve Zita currently serves as the Central and West Africa head of investigative services for Citibank. He is the co-founder of Culture+, an NGO that reaches out to disadvantaged kids using sport and art as a means of communication to help sending them back to school or mentoring them in entrepreneurship. Steve holds a Master’s of Sciences with a major in Physical Chemistry from the University of Kinshasa. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF) in 2015, he launched the IMANI project that gives scholarships to young female athletes for studies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and serves as a business accelerator for young people interested in entrepreneurship. Steve has served in the MWF 2015 Regional Advisory Board for East Africa and was appointed as an advisor to the 2016 board.

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