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Nigerian bags Mandela fellowship in U.S.

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Ahmed Adetola-Kazeem


The U.S. government, through the Department of State, has honoured Ahmed Adetola-Kazeem, a Lagos-based lawyer, for founding Prisoners’ Rights Advocacy Initiative (PRAI) and securing the release of several awaiting trial inmates.

He was also recognised for rehabilitating the prisoners and influencing procedural change to reduce periods of detention pending trial.The agency singled Adetola-Kazeem out for establishing the Q-MADI Taekwondo Club where underprivileged street children were transformed into responsible champions.

The Nigerian lawyer was among 1000 young Africans selected out of the 64,000 applicants for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leader launched by former President Barack Obama administration in 2014.

The initiative is the flagship programme of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training and networking.

This year, the fellowship provided 1,000 outstanding young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. college or university with support for professional development after they return home.

During the time, Adetola-Kazeem had the opportunity of spending six weeks at the Presidential Precinct, a consortium consisting of the University of Virginia; William & Mary and the homes of three founding fathers of United States – Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, James Madison’s Montpellier, James Monroe’s Highland as well as Morven, home of Jefferson’s friend and Secretary, William Short.

He was exposed to a first-class, cutting-edge curriculum that features three overarching themes, including leadership, service and solutions.



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