Mandela Washington Fellows mourn colleague who died in US

A Nigerian citizen participating in the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, has died in the United States.

John Paul Ojoajogwu Usman, 23, died over the weekend in a tragic accident, while hiking together with a group of Fellows near Virginia Tech University, where he was studying.

Usman reportedly died after falling into the water on a hike to Cascade Falls in Giles County, about 30 minutes from Blacksburg.

A statement issued by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State on behalf of the Fellowship, said “all of us were deeply saddened by his passing.”

“John Paul embodied all the characteristics of the emerging leaders this fellowship was meant for.  He was talented, driven, and dedicated.  He was devoted to important causes like sustainable development, children’s rights and peace-building in Nigeria.  As a Fellow, John Paul took the opportunity to come to the United States to learn, share with others, and serve as an ambassador for his country. He will be long remembered, and his legacy will serve as an inspiration,” the statement added.

YALI was launched in 2010 by US President Barack Obama to invest in the next generation of African leaders and nurture them as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship takes young African leaders to the United States for 6 weeks of leadership training and mentoring at 40 U.S. universities and colleges in three areas: business and entrepreneurship, civic engagement and public administration.

Citi FM’s Nana Boakye-Yiadom is part of the fellows.  He is currently at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign for his fellowship, where he hopes to develop his leadership skills.

Below is the full statement from the Fellowship:

Dear Mandela Washington Fellows,

As I know many of you are aware, John Paul Ojoajogwu Usman, a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow from Nigeria, passed away this weekend. John Paul died in a tragic accident while hiking as part of a group of Fellows near Virginia Tech University, where he was studying.

All of us were deeply saddened by his passing. John Paul embodied all the characteristics of the emerging leaders this fellowship was meant for. He was talented, driven, and dedicated. He was devoted to important causes like sustainable development, children’s rights and peacebuilding in Nigeria. As a Fellow, John Paul took the opportunity to come to the United States to learn, share with others, and serve as an ambassador for his country. He will be long remembered, and his legacy will serve as an inspiration.

Together with our Embassy in Nigeria and our partner organizations, we are working to provide support to his family at this very difficult time. Individuals who would like to send messages to his family may send them to [email protected]

We are here to support and help you, so please contact the staff of your Institute if you have any questions or concerns. We will work with IREX and your Institute staff to respond. Again, on behalf of the Department of State, we extend our deepest condolences to all the Mandela Washington Fellows and especially to those who personally knew John Paul.

Sincerely,

Evan Ryan
Assistant Secretary
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
U.S. Department of State

 

By: Godwin A. Allotey/citifmonilne.com/Ghana
Follow @AlloteyGodwin

 

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