Mr. Churchill Saoke, a PhD student at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) has been selected to join the US-based Mandela-Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders (YALI) in the United States of America, June this year.
In a communiqué from the US Government dated March 23, signed by US Ambassador to Kenya, Robert F. Godec notifying Mr. Saoke of his selection to the globally acclaimed Young Leadership Fellowship 2015, the Ambassador congratulated Mr. Saoke for his selection: “I share President Obama’s vision for the Mandela Washington Fellowship and believe that your commitment, courage, and ‘yes we can’ attitude will lead sub-Saharan Africa to a new age of prosperity as it takes its place on the world stage,” Godec said in the letter.
Godec further said, as a Mandela-Washington Fellow, Saoke “will spend six weeks studying public management at a Syracuse University, Syracuse New York” Moreover, Saoke will have an extraordinary opportunity to sharpen his leadership skills and network with other young leaders from sub – Saharan Africa and the United States.
After his academic residency at a US University, Saoke 29, will travel to Washington, DC to participate in a three-day Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit hosted by President Barack Obama, where, with other beneficiaries, they will have “an opportunity to interact with US leaders in the fields of business, government, and the non-profit sector,” says the letter from the Embassy. Upon completion of the US-based program, Saoke’s fellowship will continue in Africa, where he will have access to ongoing professional development, networking and possible funding sources.
In her congratulatory message, JKUAT Vice Chancelor Prof. Mabel Imbuga, said, “Saoke’s selection to YALI is an explicit recognition of the youth in Africa, and a great honour to JKUAT’s endeavour in identifying, nurturing and encouraging extraordinary leadership skills among staff and students committed to serve the world.”
A young academician, Churchill Saoke has exhibited strong passion for leadership both locally and globally.
The young physicist and Director of Peace and Unity International, an organization that fosters peace and unity among people in Africa through promoting reconciliation efforts in conflict areas, cut his leadership teeth as a student leader of Jomo Kenyatta University Students Organization (JKUSO) in 2007/2008, where he served as the Academic Secretary before rising to other leadership positions.
Stirred by events in Africa ranging from bloodshed, conflict, hunger, poverty, disease, political instability and ignorance, Churchill authored a book entitled: “The Cry of Nations: Reflections in desire of a peaceful and prosperous future generations (2012),” a précis of his thoughts on leadership in Africa.
Holder of a Master of Science degree in Physics from JKUAT and another Master of Arts degree in Diplomacy and International Relations from the University of Nairobi, Churchill is currently pursuing a Doctorate degree in Physics, specializing in wind energy engineering at JKUAT.
Besides his academic career, Saoke has shown exceptional interest in international development, global peace and security. He seeks to advance in the area of applied physics especially renewable energy, promoting appropriate technology for sustainable development, international cooperation, supporting international peace and security ideals, as well as the advancement of national interests through diplomacy.
In his words, Churchill says: “My admission to the Mandela-Washington Fellowship is a global recognition of the effort and role I have played in advancing service oriented leadership ideals among young people.”
The Mandela-Washington Fellowship is a flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and embodies President Obama’s commitment to invest in the future of Africa.
The YALI Fellowship that began in 2014 has seen young African leaders acquire skills and connections needed to accelerate their career paths with the ultimate aim of making robust contributions to strengthen democratic institutions, spur economic growth, and enhance peace and security across Africa.
The Fellowship is designed to encourage and foster the ingenuity, confidence, passion, and commitment of the next generation of African leaders. It offers young leaders a rare opportunity to assemble and share ideas with some of America’s dedicated leaders from community organizers to the President of the United States.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship will challenge predetermined ideas and open new horizons for those who embrace the experience.