The *Yale Young African Scholars (YYAS) Program recently completed its 2019 academic program for Africa’s talented secondary school students. A highly intensive educational and enrichment program of the Yale Africa Initiative, YYAS seeks to empower African secondary school students who plan to pursue tertiary education and wish to make a meaningful impact as young leaders on the continent. Through university preparation and leadership training, these leaders learn important skills that will equip them to make an impact on our continent.
The 2019 season kicked off in Accra, Ghana where the first 100 participants heard an inspiring and interactive lecture from Hon. Abla Dzifa Gomashie, the former Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts in Ghana who spoke on the importance of being proudly African, owning the African narrative and sharing Africa’s success stories with the world. They also heard from Mac Sarbah – a multidisciplinary scholar, thinker and innovator – who explored the role of social entrepreneurship in solving Africa’s social and developmental challenges. Through such robust and thought-provoking exchanges, YYAS allows young Africans to engage their minds in the issues affecting the world around them.
The 2019 edition was the most diverse class since the program’s inception, including students from over 40 different African nations who attend over 280 different secondary schools. The sessions also took place in Zimbabwe and for the first time in Kenya. With such diversity, Associate Director of YYAS, Lucy Appiah describes the program as “synonymous with the African Union (AU) Assembly”. According to her, “the competitiveness of YYAS alone having an acceptance rate lower than 6% this year, makes each participant an outstanding leader and representative from his or her country”.
Over eight days of the program, students were introduced to the demanding university and financial aid application processes and requirements, as well as standardized test preparation to pursue various opportunities for tertiary education around the world. They also had the opportunity to interact with university representatives from leading universities in Africa and around the world.
“My experience at YYAS has been absolutely worthwhile. My experience has equipped me to be able to able to apply to different universities and make my applications stronger” remarks Sphelele Zondi from South Africa.
Running concurrently with all 3 YYAS editions were the Educators’ Conferences – funded by Higherlife Foundation – where 180 teachers, headmasters and advisors from African secondary schools got introduced to university guidance strategies and resources so that they can offer application support to their students who may want to pursue tertiary education abroad.
With each year YYAS is becoming a renowned and transformative experience for Africa’s most talented and intellectually curious youth while also serving as a gateway to higher educational opportunities, and we are proud to be in partnership with such an illuminating program.
*The YYAS program is made possible through the support of Higherlife Foundation, as well as by contributions from The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale.