At the massive town hall meeting held Monday, July 28 to conclude this year’s Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders program, President Barack Obama cited the inspiring reflection of Sobel Aziz Ngom, one of the Washington Fellows who studied this summer at Wagner College. Watch the clip from President Obama’s speech here:
President Barack Obama:
Everybody here has a story and we believe in all of you. We see what’s possible. And we see the vision that all of you have — not because of what you’ve seen here in America, but because what you’ve already done back home, what you see in each other and what you see in yourself.
Sobel Ngom, from Senegal. (Applause.) Sobel has a wonderful quote. He has a wonderful quote. He said, “Here, I have met Africa, the [Africa] I have always believed in. She’s beautiful. She’s young. She’s full of talent and motivation and ambition.” And that’s a good description. (Applause.) And being here with all of you, and learning together and working together and dreaming together has only strengthened his determination, he says, to realize “my aspirations for my country and my continent.”
So to Sobel and to all of you, and to everyone across Africa who joins our Young Leaders Initiative, I want to thank you for inspiring us with your talent and your motivation and your ambition. You’ve got great aspirations for your countries and your continent. And as you build that brighter future that you imagine, I want to make sure that the United States of America is going to be your friend and partner every step of the way.
More information online:
- Watch a video of the entire town hall meeting, or read a complete transcript online.
- And to learn more about Wagner College’s first Mandela Washington Fellowship cohort, visit our Newsroom.
Sobel Ngom, one of 25 young African leaders from 19 sub-Saharan nations who spent 6 weeks studying at Wagner College this summer, is the social media manager for People Input, an African digital agency. He has started several social projects, including a summer school program for rural communities to reduce the gap in national exam results between rural and urban students. Following the implementation of this program, a 50 percent increase in the success rates of these communities was recorded. He also designed and implemented the Voices of Youth program, which provided key information about the voting and voter registration process during the 2012 elections in Senegal. Sobel Ngom was recognized as an African Changemaker by Ashoka and has served as a consultant for the organization for three years. He is currently developing a new project, the Social Change Factory, that will be launched early next year.