Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative

Funded by: US Department of State, Meridian International Center Date Range: 2016-2018 Project Lead: Pulte Institute Notre Dame Collaborators: ESTEEM, Kellogg Institute for International Studies, Pulte Institute

President Obama’s Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) empowers entrepreneurs and innovative civil society leaders to strengthen their capacity to launch and advance their entrepreneurial ideas and effectively contribute to social and economic development in their communities.

Each year, 250 YLAI Professional Fellows from Latin America and the Caribbean expand their leadership and entrepreneurial experience through fellowships at businesses and civil society organizations across the U.S. Through the YLAI Entrepreneurship Institute and the individualized Fellowships, YLAI Fellows accelerate their commercial and social ventures’ success and develop specific action plans to carry out upon return to their home countries. YLAI Professional Fellows build networks, linkages and lasting partnerships to attract investments and support for their entrepreneurial ventures.

From 2016 - 2018, the University of Notre Dame was among an elite group of 21 universities and city organizations chosen by the U. S. Department of State to host the YLAI Fellows. Over the years, Notre Dame welcomed 38 YLAI Professional Fellows from 21 different countries to participate in:

  • A four-week fellowship: With U.S. fellowship hosts in their field of expertise, YLAI Professional Fellows gained valuable professional development skills at entrepreneurial organizations or companies across the U.S. and worked jointly on a venture Action Plan implemented upon Fellows’ return to their home countries.
  • A Summit with President Obama in Washington, DC: YLAI Professional Fellows participated in a three-day conference and networking event with top U.S. government officials as well as global public, private and nonprofit leaders in mid-November, 2016.
  • YLAI Entrepreneurship Institute: YLAI Professional Fellows expanded their leadership, entrepreneurial and management skills and knowledge through online and in-person trainings that complemented their U.S. Fellowship.
  • Sustained Engagement: After successful completion of the U.S. Fellowship and YLAI Entrepreneurship Institute, YLAI Professional Fellows continued their collaboration with U.S. partners and have access to ongoing professional development opportunities, mentorship, networking and alumni activities.
  • Reverse exchange: American mentors had the opportunity to apply for a reverse exchange to visit their Fellow, and other Fellows in the area, for a two-week trip in 2017.

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