Young African leaders prepare to change the world
A select group of 25 leaders from 17 sub-Saharan African countries is spending six weeks on the Tulane University campus this summer. Age 24 to 36, the leaders are part of the inaugural Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, an exchange program of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative. Five hundred were selected for the U.S. State Department-sponsored program taking place simultaneously at 20 U.S. colleges and universities.
The Tulane track of the fellowship is on civic leadership, while at other universities the focus is on business and entrepreneurship and public management.
Dr. Maureen Lichtveld (standing, at rear) teaches a class for the
Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, a group of
25 leaders from 17 sub-Saharan African countries.
(Photo by Tara Brown)
Dr. Maureen Lichtveld, chair of the Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences at the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, introduced the fellows to public health through modules analyzing the role of culture in health, using community-based planning and mapping tools to identify assets and needs, and examining the interdependence of community and ecosystem health through the lens of policy. Dr. Jane Bertrand, chair of the Department of Global Health Systems and Development, will also lead sessions with the group.
“While the fellows were initially apprehensive about the relevance of public health in the context of civic leadership, at the completion of our sessions, many fellows expressed their appreciation regarding the role of public health in virtually all aspects of life,”said Lichtveld.
“Our discussions with [Dr. Lichtveld] have given me and all of us a new dimension to public health which we will use to better the well-being of our communities,” said Dr. Ashiru Abubakar, a Nigerian maternal and child health physician.
In addition to public health, the fellows will participate in classes taught by architecture, education, and music faculty and will also participate in service-learning placements with Tulane’s community partners.
“From dance to finance, women leaders of social organizations, physicians, and social workers, the diversity in professions, countries, and cultures made the public health modules a uniquely rich and engaging experience,” shared Dr. Lichtveld.
July 2, 2014
Keith Brannon, Mary Ann Travis, and Dee Boling