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Obama Foundation Announces New Program to Train Emerging Leaders Across Africa

Leaders Program: Africa will launch in Johannesburg in July with five-day convening joined by President Obama

Program to be led by Bernadette Meehan, new Chief International Officer

CHICAGO, IL — The Obama Foundation today announced a new addition to its international programs: the Obama Foundation Leaders Program: 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 Program: Africa 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 Obama Foundation Leaders Program: Africa 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 overseeing the Obama Foundation Leaders Program: Africa, 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.

“The Obama Foundation Leaders Program: Africa represents our largest and most ambitious international program to date,” 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.”

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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Contact: Kate Berner, [email protected]

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