YLAI 2017 Brenda Hali


Washington, D.C.: The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State and their implementing partner, Meridian International Center, are proud to announce the finalists for the 2017 Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program.  This program will bring 250 business and social entrepreneurs from Latin America and the Caribbean to the United States in October 2017, to collaborate with their counterparts in businesses and civil society organizations in 24 cities across the United States.  Through this exchange program, Fellows will advance their entrepreneurial ideas and build leadership skills to effectively contribute to social and economic development in their communities.

The YLAI Professional Fellows Program will begin on October 4 in Atlanta, Georgia, followed by four-week fellowships throughout the United States.  The program concludes with a closing Summit in early November in Washington, D.C. focused on leadership and skills development training.  Fellows return to their ventures with new skills, resources, ongoing support from U.S. counterparts, and an improved network, strengthening business ties between the U.S. and Latin America and the Caribbean.

The 2017 YLAI Professional Fellows were selected through a competitive application process, which attracted over 3,000 applications for this program.  These 250 business and social entrepreneurs represent 36 countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and focus on topics including, but not limited to, agriculture, clean energy, consulting, e-commerce, education, entrepreneurship development and support, food and beverage, health care, hospitality, LGBTQI, marketing and branding, mobile applications, and women and youth empowerment.  We invite you to read their profiles here.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State funded this program, which is implemented by Meridian International Center in partnership with Atlas Corps and Entrepreneurs’ Organization and community-based members and universities throughout the United States.

About U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA)

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) builds relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through academic, cultural, sports, and professional exchanges, as well as public -private partnerships and mentoring programs. These exchange programs improve foreign relations and strengthen the national security of the United States, support U.S. international leadership, and provide a broad range of domestic benefits by helping break down barriers that often divide us. Visit https://eca.state.gov  for more information.

For information on the YLAI Professional Fellows Exchange Program, please visit https://ylai.state.gov/
For press inquiries, please contact ECA-Press@state.gov.

About Meridian International Center

Meridian International Center is a premier nonprofit, global leadership organization headquartered in Washington, DC. Building on more than 55 years of experience, Meridian prepares U.S. and international leaders to meet global challenges and opportunities. Through various programs, Meridian delivers the approach and environment for leaders to understand global issues and cultures, exchange ideas, collaborate on solutions, and build valuable relationships.

For further information, please contact the Meridian program team at YLAI@meridian.org.