Remarks by Deputy Chief of Mission Bryan Hunt at Opening of Third Cohort of YALI RLC in Maputo

Participação do Chefe Adjunto da Missão Bryan Hunt na sessão de abertura do terceiro curso do Centro Regional de Liderança Yali em Maputo

Dr. Pedro Búfalo

Dr. Esselina Macome

Sr. Sipuka Olwethu

Sra. Tania Tome

YALI Regional Leadership Center participants

Senhoras e Senhores,

Good morning everyone, and thank you for joining us at this important event.

On behalf of the U.S. Government I would like to welcome you to the first day of your YALI training at the Maputo Regional Leadership Center for Southern Africa.

It is a great pleasure for me to be here today with all of you, the staff and faculty at UEM, our partners IdeiaLab and UNISA and most of all – you, the participants of the third cohort of the Lusophone regional leadership center.

I cannot help but be inspired by you.  You are outstanding individuals doing amazing things.  You all have inspirational stories to tell.  Many of you have already made great strides toward your goals.  Your achievements remind us of the incredible talent in this young generation. You all truly represent the diversity of Africa’s future leaders.

I first came to Mozambique in 2000 as a young political officer with the US Embassy and was amazed by the potential Mozambique and the region could achieve.  Returning to Mozambique more than 10 years later, I am encouraged and impressed by the positive changes in this country and the role that youth are playing.

The Regional Leadership Centers program exemplifies the U.S. Government’s vision for YALI to support the next generation of leaders – to build your skills to contribute to improving the accountability and transparency of government, starting and growing businesses, and serving your communities and the region.

In October 2016 we welcomed the first cohort of the Maputo Regional Leadership Center consisting of 19 participants from Angola and 31 from Mozambique. Since then, participants have used the tools they learned from the four-week training to advance their personal and professional development.

For example, together with other fellow youth in Gaza Province, two alumni, Ali and Angela joined forces to design a Project named Empresa Junior Mozambique,” which aims to promote youth entrepreneurship initiatives within higher education institutions.

Alumni Cremilda Hilário in Mozambique and Felix Nganga in Angola established alumni network chapters to strengthen collaboration between the two countries as well as within each country between RLC alumni and other fellow youth.

These are all examples of how young leaders like yourself make a tangible difference for your countries.  Young African leaders like you will create value and positive change through your talents, creativity and insights.

As former President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame noted in 2013 “Africa’s story has been written by others; we need to own our problems and solutions and write our story”.   It is all of you here today, the next generation of leaders that will help shape the story of Africa.

Over the next four weeks, you will be hearing from some highly experienced professionals and academics, and will acquire essential skills to succeed in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

But beyond what you learn in the sessions, I believe one of the most valuable resources you will find here is each other.  USAID is excited to bring together so many leaders from diverse backgrounds.  You have so much to share and learn from each other.   In fact, I’d like to issue you a challenge for the first week of your training.  By the end of the day on Friday, I want you to identify one person in this room that has changed your mind on something you care about; that has challenged you to look at your world and work in a different way.  Be ready to share that on Monday morning.

I want to thank our in-country partners, the Eduardo Mondlane University and Ideialab, as well as the University of South Africa.  They have worked extremely hard the last couple of years to make the Regional Leadership Center a reality.

Thank you to everyone in this room for the important work you all are doing in an area that everyone agrees is essential to the success of Africa – youth leadership development.

In the words of Nelson Mandela “The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.”   I hope that this experience will inspire you to be an even stronger force for positive change in your communities, your countries, in Africa and in the world.

Monday, July 3, 2017