Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
August 4, 2021
To this year’s cohort of Mandela Washington Fellows: Congratulations! Today, you officially join the elite ranks of YALI alumni.
I remember when YALI was born – and let me just say, I love YALI so much and have been supporting the initiative for so long, that you might call me a mother of YALI. And like a good mother, whenever I talk about you – which is with just about everyone – I beam with pride.
After this summit, you will have access to a wide array of alumni benefits, including Reciprocal Exchanges, small grants, a Catalyst Grant competition, and funding opportunities through the Office of Alumni Affairs. But most important, you are now part of a vast network of motivated young leaders – friends, allies, and mentors to work with toward a better future. After all, you represent not just Africa’s future, but the future of the world. So take some time to reflect today: on the connections you’ve made, on the lessons you’ve learned, and on the active leadership role you can take in your communities and countries.
The challenges Africa faces are great. But Africa’s promise – thanks to motivated young people like you – is far greater. We are here to support you. But you’re in the driver’s seat now. And we cannot wait to see what you accomplish.