Cohorts 2 & 3 of the Pan-Africa Youth Leadership Program (PAYLP) may be complete, but they’re just getting started! PAYLP is a dynamic youth leadership program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State that brings together high school students from across Africa to the United States, where they focus on cultural exchange and social entrepreneurship training. Working in partnership with the Meridian International Center, ISSS’ Customized & Intercultural Programs team coordinated programming for each cohort during their three week stay in the U.S. Cohort 2, comprised of 21 students and two mentors from Burundi, Liberia, Mauritania, Mauritius, Senegal, & Sudan took place July 12-29, and Cohort 3, comprised of 24 students and one mentor from Chad, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Guinea ran from August 16-Sept 2.
Students were welcomed to the United States with a four day opening conference in Washington, D.C., where they were introduced to American customs & civics and learned the basics of goal setting & project development. While in Austin, both cohorts worked with in-country teams to develop an action plan for a social enterprise to implement in their home communities. In the final days the program took students to Chicago for a closing conference where they presented their plans to local entrepreneurs and community organizers.
In addition to their entrepreneurial planning, other program highlights included visits to the Capital Factory, East Austin College Prep School, and LifeWorks as well as a series of workshops on leadership development & team-building skills led by faculty from the LBJ School of Public Affairs & staff from the Georgetown Challenge Course. Students were also placed in homestays with Austin-area families, where they experienced local customs and cultural events in a familial setting.
We’re mighty proud of what our cohorts brilliantly accomplished during their short time in the U.S. and are eagerly awaiting the the implementation of their projects in the coming years. Best of luck to our young leaders! We know they’re off to do great things!