The Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD) and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, both part of the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame, will welcome 14 new business and social entrepreneurs from across Latin America and the Caribbean beginning Monday, Sept. 24, for the 2018 Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program.
The four-week program is funded by the U.S. Department of State and implemented by Meridian International Center. For the third year in a row, NDIGD will lead and administer the program at the University. The Kellogg Institute will also return for a third year as an integral supporting partner of the program.
As in previous years, the YLAI Professional Fellows will each shadow one public or private host organization in the Michiana region for four days each week during regular business hours. By working alongside these host organizations, the YLAI Professional Fellows will learn to further develop and scale up their own commercial and social ventures, and they will develop specific action plans to carry out upon return to their home countries.
The 2018 class of YLAI Professional Fellows, eight men and six women, hail from 11 countries:
- Alberto Kabbabe, a food activist from Venezuela, will work with REAL Services.
- Ana Rebeca Vega, a citizen security expert from Peru, will work with the South Bend Police Department’s Strategic Focus Unit.
- Ana Villota Herdoiza, a baker from Ecuador, will work with Martin's Super Markets.
- André Osna, a creative director from Brazil, will work with DOJO Creative.
- Catalina Valencia, an arts and culture community developer from Colombia, will work with the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture.
- Emmanuel Tilias, a furniture designer and producer from Haiti, will work with Precision Wood Products.
- Gary Martin, a digital media activist from Panama, will work with El Puente Newspaper.
- Gustavo Sosa, a software developer from Paraguay, will work with Covur.
- Jaianan “Jai” Hirai, an advocate for youth access to information technology from Guyana, will work with Goodwill Industries of Michiana.
- Julio César Pineda, a financial expert and educator from Honduras, will work with United Way of St. Joseph County.
- Kerri-Anne C. Walker, a business and lifestyle consultant from Jamaica, will work with the South Bend Heritage Foundation.
- Lilian Gorriz, a career network facilitator from Panama, will work with the United Religious Community of St. Joseph County’s “Welcoming Michiana” initiative.
- Matias Ballon, a youth advocate from Peru, will work with DePaul Academy.
- Natalia Bertel, an advocate for female empowerment and an artisan from Colombia, will work with the SPARK Program at St. Mary's College and Bombay International.
In addition to working side-by-side with their local host placements, the 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. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to network and strategize with faculty, students, guest speakers, and visiting fellows through events organized by the Kellogg Institute.
After leaving Notre Dame in late October, 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 Washington, D.C.
The 2018 YLAI Professional Fellows’ full biographies, as well as additional information about the program at Notre Dame, are available at ndigd.nd.edu/YLAI.
The Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development—an integral part of the new Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame—works to address global poverty and inequality through policy, practice, and partnership.
Contact: Luis Ruuska, communications specialist, Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development, email@example.com