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WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individual to a key Administration post:
· Rabbi David Nathan Saperstein – Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, Department of State
President Obama said, “I am grateful that Rabbi Saperstein has chosen to dedicate his talent to serving the American people at this important time for our country. I look forward to working with him in the months and years ahead.”
President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individual to a key Administration post:
Rabbi David Nathan Saperstein, Nominee for Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, Department of State
Rabbi David Nathan Saperstein is Director and Counsel of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, where he has served since 1974. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches First Amendment Church-State Law and Jewish Law. Rabbi Saperstein serves on a number of boards, including The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the National Religious Partnership for the Environment. He was a Member of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships from 2010 to 2011. Rabbi Saperstein was a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom from 1999 to 2001, serving as its first Chair from 1999 to 2000. Rabbi Saperstein received a B.A. from Cornell University, an M.H.L. from Hebrew Union College, and a J.D. from American University.
On background from a White House Official:
This morning, the President will participate in a town hall with 500 exceptional young people who participated in the inaugural Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, an initiative he announced in 2013 as part of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). President Obama first launched YALI in 2010 to support an emerging generation of African leaders as they work to drive economic growth, enhance democratic governance, and strengthen the civil society structures that will help the continent grow and prosper. The President announced the creation of this Fellowship, which connects young African leaders to leadership training opportunities at some of America’s top universities to expand their leadership skills and knowledge, during his 2013 trip to South Africa.
During the town hall, the President will deliver remarks to announce that the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders program will be renamed in honor of former South African President Nelson Mandela. The President will also announce new public-private partnerships to create a continuum of programs, platforms, and support for young African leaders. These new investments will include the development of four Regional Leadership Centers in Africa, a vast array of online classes and resources, along with seed funding, mentoring, and networking opportunities. A Fact Sheet detailing these announcements is below. For more information on the Fellowship, click HERE.
The YALI Summit serves as the lead-up event to next week’s inaugural U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the largest gathering any U.S. President has held with African heads of state and government, which will strengthen ties between the United States and one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing regions. With 60 percent of Africa’s population under 35, the future success of African nations will depend on the leadership, skills, and ingenuity of this emerging generation of leaders and this public-private partnership is vital to helping better the continent for years to come.
FACT SHEET: The President’s Young Africa Leaders Initiative (YALI)
Today, during a town hall with 500 young African leaders, President Obama will announce the expansion of his Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) which was launched in 2010. Through YALI, the United States is investing in the next generation of African leaders, and has committed significant resources to enhance leadership skills, bolster entrepreneurship, and connect young African leaders with one another, the United States, and the American people. Signature aspects of this expansion include:
Deepening Our Reach on the Continent: Regional Leadership Centers
Today, President Obama will announce the creation of four Regional Leadership Centers in Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, and South Africa. Beginning in 2015, these Centers will improve the availability and quality of leadership training programs and professional development opportunities for young African leaders. Each will be run as a public-private partnership, capitalizing on the energy and dynamism of the private sector, the knowledge of African and American institutions, and the programmatic and educational resources of the U.S. Government. The Centers will focus on engaging young leaders from a wide range of organizations and backgrounds and with a diversity of experiences. The Regional Leadership Centers will:
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide $38 million for the creation of and programs in the Regional Leadership Centers. American and African companies and foundations have more than matched these funds, providing principal capital for the startup costs, equipment, and technology for the Centers. The MasterCard Foundation will provide financial support over five years to develop the Centers. With financial and in-kind contributions from Microsoft, Dow Chemical Company, Intel Corporation, and Cisco Systems, the U.S. Government will be able to establish and maintain the Centers, and provide business software and hardware, mentoring, and information technology training through them. With in-kind support from Proctor & Gamble, General Electric, Atlas Mara, and McKinsey & Company, the U.S. and its partners will be able to provide leadership training, technical support, and access to capital for young entrepreneurs.
The U.S. Government has joined with the following partners to establish and deliver high quality training, support, and networking through the Centers. In collaboration with USAID, host institutions in Africa will provide instruction and collaboration space, expert training, and coursework for the Centers.
Expanding the Flagship Program: The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders
Today, in front of 500 Fellows, the President will announce that the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders will reach 1,000 participants each year by 2016. The Fellowship currently brings 500 of Africa’s most dynamic young leaders to the United States each year for six weeks of leadership training, networking, and mentoring at top U.S. universities. Training and mentorship are focused on three areas: business and entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and public administration. Upon returning home, the Fellows will have access to professional development opportunities, mentoring, networking, training, and seed funding to support their ideas, businesses, and organizations.
Providing the Tools, Training, and Technology to Promote Leadership: The YALI Network
The YALI Network provides virtual resources and vibrant physical spaces to equip young African leaders with the skills and connections they need to improve their communities and their countries. Established by President Obama in April 2014, the Network already includes more than 68,000 members. Using yali.state.gov and social media, the United States provides online courses and materials, and connects members with global leaders in their field. Over the next year, President Obama will continue to engage the YALI Network.
Virtual training, tools, and technology for the YALI Network. YALI Network members will have access to an array of online courses and training materials, along with virtual mentoring and networking opportunities.
Creation of state-of-the-art YALI Spaces. Over the next year, American Corners in Cote d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, and South Africa will be outfitted to provide YALI Network members opportunities to meet, learn, and incubate their ideas; spaces in seven additional countries will be renovated over the next two years. YALI staff will facilitate online courses and provide advice on everything from business start-ups to opportunities for study abroad. Meeting rooms, collaboration spaces, and business tools will allow YALI Network members to work together to create social ventures, community service projects, and new business start-ups.
Building on a tradition of engagement. All of our embassies in Africa have significant, sustained engagements with young leaders. Currently, 43 embassies have youth councils that provide input into U.S. policies and contribute to the design and execution of U.S. Government programs. Since 2010, the State Department has held 15 exchanges specifically for young African leaders and brought more than 1,600 sub-Saharan young leaders to the United States, through its educational and cultural affairs programs, including Fulbright. In just the past year, embassies have organized over 800 events across the continent to support Africa’s young civic, government, and business leaders.
Supporting Young Entrepreneurs
In addition to the announcements made by President Obama today, the U.S. Government is expanding support to entrepreneurs by connecting them to investors, advisors, and distribution networks.
In 2015, the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) will be hosted in sub-Saharan Africa for the first time. Morocco is hosting this year. YALI Network members will have the opportunity to present at and participate in both summits.
Over the next year, the State Department will lead three partnership opportunity delegations of entrepreneurs and investors to Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Ghana. In addition, the State Department and the U.S. Africa Development Foundation (USADF) will support selected YALI entrepreneurs to attend and participate in the DEMO Africa 2014 conference, to be held in Lagos, Nigeria, on September 25 - 26. DEMO Africa is a platform for top African companies to launch their products and announce to Africa and the world what they have developed.
The United States will continue to provide young Africans access to resources they can use to put their skills to work in service of their communities.
As Muslims throughout the United States and around the world celebrate Eid-al-Fitr, Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to them and their families. This last month has been a time of fasting, reflection, spiritual renewal, and service to the less fortunate. While Eid marks the completion of Ramadan, it also celebrates the common values that unite us in our humanity and reinforces the obligations that people of all faiths have to each other, especially those impacted by poverty, conflict, and disease.
In the United States, Eid also reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy. That is why we stand with people of all faiths, here at home and around the world, to protect and advance their rights to prosper, and we welcome their commitment to giving back to their communities.
On behalf of the Administration, we wish Muslims in the United States and around the world a blessed and joyous celebration. Eid Mubarak.
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