Inaugural Alumni Emerging Rural Leaders’ Summit Prepares Country’s Future

The Exchange Alumni Association inaugurated its flagship project, Emerging Rural Leaders’ Program for The Gambia’s bright teenagers from the rural regions. Over 300 young leaders were recruited in an open competition, 100 of which subsequently attended a weeklong intensive program at a local hotel in Banjul. Built on the Mandela Washington Fellowship model and funded by the State Department’s ECA through the Mission Driven Alumni Outreach 2019 Award, the project was facilitated by Embassy Banjul’s Public Diplomacy section. During the summit, young rural leaders covered several leadership and empowerment modules that honed their unique talents and strengthened their skills and aptitudes. Both Ambassador Paschall and Deputy Chief of Mission Shelly Seaver addressed the opening and closing ceremonies. Addressing the closing, Ambassador Paschall challenged the young leaders to look forward and take advantage of opportunities as they build their academic and young professional careers. He said the Embassy and the Alumni Association are partners determined to investing in the future of The Gambia’s youth. The Ambassador said the Embassy supports improvements in education as one of its primary goals in The Gambia. He said: “Our efforts in supporting education of Gambian youth will lead to positive benefits for The Gambia, from strengthening the human resources base, improving the economy, and stemming backway migration.”