Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative

NDIGD is hosting participants from the U.S. Department of State’s Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program in October and November of 2016. The YLAI program brought 250 business and social entrepreneurs from Latin America and the Caribbean to 21 different city hubs in the U.S. in early October 2016. The 250 total participants were made part of the larger YLAI Network which provides online resources and a space for young leaders to make regional connections. The business entrepreneurs (approximately 65% of the fellows) are carrying out a fellowship at a start-up, small enterprise, small business group, etc., while the social entrepreneurs (approximately 35% of the fellows) are placed with non-governmental organizations, social enterprises, or other relevant organizations for their fellowships. 

During the five week YLAI Professional Fellows Program 14 Fellows have been placed in the South Bend area. The participants will learn from U.S. counterparts by job-shadowing and participating in day-to-day operations at their U.S. host organizations, four days each week for four weeks beginning on October 11. They have a chance to further develop their business or social venture plans by working with their host mentor and engaging in skills-building workshops. YLAI Professional Fellows will develop stronger ties with other participants from Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as with their U.S. mentors. The final week of the program will take place in Washington, D.C.

To complement the U.S.-based program, select mentors from 21 cities around the U.S. will be nominated and chosen to travel to the region in spring 2017 to learn more about the fellows’ businesses in country, share best practices, and support the progress of the fellows’ action plans. Additionally, U.S. mentors will participate in speaking events and small-scale trainings.

The University of Notre Dame is proud to work with grantee Meridian International Center, a premier nonprofit, global leadership organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. Other partners in YLAI include Atlas Corps and Entrepreneurs’ Organization. At Notre Dame, the program also is supported by the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and Notre Dame’s Master’s Program in Entrepreneurship, Technology, and Innovation (ESTEEM).

For further information or to learn how you can engage with the Fellows, please contact Jennifer Krauser, NDIGD Training Program Coordinator, at or (574) 631-5469. Also, please visit the YLAI Facebook page or our NDIGD Facebook page for announcements and events.

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