BreakingNews 27/6/16: Northwestern University Illinois USA Welcomes 25 Young African Leaders

[ Masterweb Reports ] - 25 Mandela Washington Fellows of President Obama’s Initiative to strengthen African institutions through the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) were given a warm reception at the Northwestern University, Evanston, north of Chicago. Three Nigerians, Adams Adeiza, Tessie Nkechi Udegboka and Kelechi Mbah are among the young leaders from 18 African countries.


In her opening speech, Meg McDonald, the assistant vice president for Research at Northwestern University and who works on daily basis with the University Research Centers and Program of African Studies says she is privileged to formally welcome the 25 Fellows and thrilled they would be part of the University community over the course of the program.


She says, “Though the duration of the formal program is six weeks, but really our hope is that the experience you enjoy here will make a lifelong difference in your career and also a life changing experience. Our previous Mandela Washington Fellows – like each of you – were exceptionally talented and passionate leaders. They – like you – all demonstrated a vision for taking on challenges, solving problems, creating value, and improving their communities and their countries. Our goal this year is to create an extraordinary learning environment for you – one that you will always remember; and one that will help shape your personal and professional journey”.


Speaking on mutual investment, Meg says she and her colleagues regard the MWF as a wonderful way for Northwestern to invest in global talent development. Such action is at the heart of Northwestern University’s mission, so this President Obama’s initiative aligns well with Northwestern strategy and strength as a global research institution. She says, “We see the Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF) program as an invitation for YOU to enrich OUR lives! Your presence here makes Northwestern a better place. Your ideas, your achievements, and your aspirations for creating business and social innovation enrich our academic community too. It is my pleasure to welcome you as members of the Northwestern University family.


What can I say about your new family? Some key statistics can help outline our excellence. Northwestern University was founded in 1851, with two faculty and 10 students. We have grown to more than 3,000 faculty with 8,000 undergraduate and 12,000 graduate students in 12 schools on three major campuses – Evanston, Chicago and Qatar.


The knowledge Northwestern University is creating and sharing is having a huge beneficial impact for the world. Our research discoveries are diverse ranging from breakthroughs in nanotechnology and biomedicine to astrophysics, energy, the humanities, social sciences and public policy. Our 50 University Research Centers are a major part of this knowledge ecosystem. These centers are innovation hubs that bring together thought leaders from many different disciplines and from around the world. Northwestern is ranked 12th in `America’s Best Universities and 25th in the Times Higher Education World University survey".


Already the 25 young leaders have started having amazing warmth professional and caring experience with Professors Verinder Syal and Mike Marasco, the faculty leaders. She says to the 25 Fellows, “During the program, you will meet and work with many amazing people from social service agencies, government and industries. For example, you are scheduled to meet with Jan Schakowsky, our local congresswoman. Jan started her career in social services, and was first elected to the US House of representatives in 1990. Jan is a stellar example of how person can make a huge and positive difference.


And, of course you even get to meet President Obama when you go to Washington DC. The culmination of this program in Washington demonstrates the importance placed on it at the very highest levels of this nation.


It’s pretty difficult to get into Northwestern University: we only accept 13% of the students applying for admittance. Our graduates have excelled in many different professions. Some have won Oscars, Pulitzers, Olympic medals, and Nobel prizes. Several have held high government offices, or served on the US Supreme Court. They have been senior leaders of prestigious academic and medical institutions.


Our graduates also have led major corporations, including PepsiCo, Motorola, and IBM. A Northwestern grad is the current CEO of SpaceX. A recent alum launched Groupon; another founded and leads the One Acre Fund in East Africa. You will truly enjoy meeting Harry Kraemer, the former CEO of Baxter and a fellow alum of the Kellog School of Management.


 But now, consider the MWF Program, which has an acceptance rate of less than 2%. Remember I just said Northwestern’s acceptance rate is 13%. Think about that for a moment. ……… So you are the chosen of the chosen, the best of the best. You are poised to make an enormously positive impact on the world”


She quoted President Obama, who in 2015 while addressing the Mandela Fellows said, “I have no doubt that you are going to leave behind for the next generation – and the generation after that – an Africa that is strong and vibrant and prosperous, and is ascendant on the world stage. “


Expressing her gratitude to host the Fellows, Mag says, “I’m so very pleased that Northwestern is part of your remarkable personal journey, and always remember that you are now part of the Northwestern family.”


The 3 Nigerians were excited to find a Nigerian lecturer from Anambra state at the university, Professor Jide Nzelibe, a professor of Law, who him and his wife both lecture at the university.


*Photo Caption - Participants in the program - Kelechi Mbah (left); Adams Adeiza (center) and Tessie Nkechi Udegboka (right) pose for photo.


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