Press release

Seychellois Youth set to represent seychelles in Young African Leaders Program in United States

April 28, 2014

At a Press conference held today in Maison Quéau de Quinssy, Ambassador of the United States of America to the Republic of Seychelles, Shari Villarosa, in the presence of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam, officially announced the successful candidatures of four Seychellois joining other Africans for the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Program hosted by the Government of the United States of America (USA).

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam, welcomed the initiative and highlighted the need to give proper tools to the youth to bring about change and development that the Minister stressed is a key tenet of President James Michel’s vision when establishing the Young Leaders Program in Seychelles. Minister Adam mentioned that the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Program complements the Seychelles Young Leaders Program (SYLP) extremely well and was pleased to note that three of the four successful candidates were in fact graduates of the Young Leaders programme.

“Leadership must be nurtured at every level, this is why Seychelles, and President James Michel, are very much engaged on youth issues, and we see this reflected also in President Obama’s initiative through the Young African leaders programme.  This is a great opportunity for our young people- and a great opportunity for Africa as a whole”, Minister Adam stated.

The four candidates representing Seychelles are Fatoumata Sylla, Director General for Youth in the Office of the President, Micheline Khan, Founder of A2B, a small business based on innovation, protection of the environment and empowerment of women, Christopher Lespoir, pilot with Air Seychelles, and Sheryl Vengadasamy, elected member of the National Assembly for Mont Buxton. The candidates were selected on the basis of their commitment to their respective communities and their vision of creating a better future for their peers.

Minister Adam stressed that empowerment of young people is at the heart of the strategies of the government, including in relation to the conduct of its foreign policy, and for that reason Seychelles was particularly proud of its four selected candidates.

The Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Program is an initiative created by U.S. President, Barack Obama seeking to empower African Youth in key areas such as public administration, community service and business and entrepreneurial development.

During the six-week course, the Seychellois candidates will be hosted at various U.S. universities and colleges including Yale University, Howard University, University of Arkansas and the University of Texas; where good governance and the strengthening of democratic institutions will be stressed.

Ambassador Villarosa was impressed with the quality of the Seychellois applicants noting that upon their return to Seychelles they could make a genuine contribution to their country.

Minister Adam has no doubt that the four candidates will be exemplary ‘ambassadors’ for Seychelles. He further stressed that it was one thing to speak of youth leadership and another to act upon it. Such initiatives ensure that the latter are realised to the benefit of the Seychellois people.