Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative

Young Leaders of the American Initiative Logo

The Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program builds linkages among young leaders across the hemisphere. YLAI addresses the opportunity gap for youth, especially women, by empowering business and social entrepreneurs with the training, tools, networks, and resources they need to transform their societies and contribute more fully to economic development and prosperity, security, human rights, and good governance in the hemisphere.

The YLAI Professional Fellows Program is a four-week program for entrepreneurs, funded by the U.S. Department of State and implemented by Meridian International Center. The University of Notre Dame was among an elite group of 21 universities and city organizations chosen to host 14 of the inaugural class of YLAI Fellows–out of a total nationwide group of 250–in 2016, due to a grant won by the Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD).

On Monday, September 22, NDIGD—with integral support provided by the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Keough School of Global Affairs—will welcome 14 new YLAI Professional Fellows—8 men and 6 women—to Notre Dame and the greater Michiana area for the 2018 program. Fellows will learn to accelerate their commercial and social ventures’ success and develop specific action plans to carry out upon return to their home countries. This fall, the Fellows will participate in:

  • Four-Week Fellowships: YLAI Professional Fellows will gain valuable professional development skills at entrepreneurial organizations or companies across Michiana and work jointly on an action plan to be implemented upon Fellows’ return to their home countries.
  • Washington, D.C., Closing Forum: After their time at Notre Dame, the YLAI Professional Fellows will participate in a closing conference and networking event with top U.S. government officials as well as global public, private, and nonprofit leaders in late October.
  • YLAI Entrepreneurship Institute: Complementing their U.S. Fellowships, YLAI Professional Fellows will expand their leadership, entrepreneurial, and management skills and knowledge through online and in-person trainings at Notre Dame with the NDIGD team.
  • Post-Fellowship Sustained Engagement: After successful completion of the U.S. Fellowship and YLAI Entrepreneurship Institute at Notre Dame, YLAI Professional Fellows will continue their collaboration with U.S. partners and have access to ongoing professional development opportunities, mentorships, networking, and alumni activities:
    • Funding: Fellows will be eligible for Innovation Small Grants to fund startup or scaling activities, as well as Travel Grants to attend conferences.
    • Reverse Exchange: Fellows will also have the chance to welcome a Fellowship Host to their country to share expertise and expand the hosts’ understanding of the entrepreneurship climate in Fellows’ home countries.

YLAI Partners

The YLAI Professional Fellows Program at Notre Dame is made possible by the following organizations:

YLAI Partners