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President Obama Welcomes 500 Student Leaders

President Barack Obama delivered the State of the Union address on Tuesday evening.
Credit: AP Photo

In an effort to build a connection between Africa and the United States, President Obama has started the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

Obama met with 500 of Africa’s most impressive leaders at a town hall on Monday in Washington, D.C.

The participants were selected from nearly 50,000 applicants from across Africa, and have recently been studying management and leadership skills at some of America’s top colleges and universities.

The initiative is “on behalf of the future we want for all of our children,” Obama said at the town hall.

Recently named after Nelson Mandela, “one of the brightest lights the world has ever known,” Obama believes YALI is a way to empower African youth, especially because 60 percent of Africa’s population is under the age of 35, Black Enterprise reports.

The YALI conference is a predecessor for next week’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the largest gathering held with African heads of state and government.

The summit “will focus on how we can continue to build a new model of partnership … that focuses on your capacity to expand opportunity and strengthen democracy,” Obama said.

Read the rest of Obama’s YALI town hall remarks here.