State Department Announces Inaugural Class of Fellows for the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative Exchange Program

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
August 30, 2016

The 2016 Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Fellows Program will bring 250 young leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean to the United States for an exchange program that will include internships and skills-building workshops. President Obama launched YLAI to build linkages between young leaders across the hemisphere and to expand opportunities for emerging entrepreneurs and civil society leaders. The program will begin on October 5 in Dallas and culminate with a summit in Washington, D.C. in early November.

Over the five week program, the fellows will learn and share their experiences in start-ups, small businesses, non-governmental organizations, and similar entities in cities throughout the United States and in partnership with community groups and U.S. universities. The participants will further develop their business or social venture plans through an entrepreneurship curriculum and workshops, and by working with their U.S. counterparts.

The 2016 YLAI Professional Fellows selection team received nearly 4,000 applications for this Presidential program. The 250 selected business and social entrepreneurs represent 35 countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and have demonstrated the energy of this generation to build stronger, more prosperous, and more secure communities throughout the hemisphere. Their areas of interest include agriculture, clean energy, consulting, e-commerce, education, entrepreneurship development and support, food and beverage, food security, health care, hospitality, LGBTI, marketing and branding, mobile applications, and women and youth empowerment. Read the fellows profiles on the website.

YLAI, one of four programs within the Young Leaders Initiatives, is a part of President Obama’s commitment to empower young people around the world and ensure they have the tools, skills, and networks to tackle our shared global challenges. The program is implemented with partner Meridian International Center. Follow the conversation with hashtag #YLAI. For further information please contact