On September 6, the U.S. Embassy in Accra welcomed five Ghanaian senior high school students — three young women and two young men — following their three-week visit to the United States under the Pan-Africa Youth Leadership Program (PAYLP).
The students, who were accompanied by their parents, included Emmanuel Symonds Essiamah from Mfanstpim Senior High School in Cape Coast and his father, the Very Reverend Banasco Essiamah; Justica Hawah Mbgamsi from Ola Girls Senior High School in Ho and her father, Abdallah Mbgamsi; Nana Aisha Efua Serwaa Asiedu from the Ghana Lebanon Islamic Secondary School in Accra and her mother, Nana Yaa Konadu; Samuel Kofi Antwi Welbeck from the Accra Academy and his father, Joseph Tackie Welbeck; and Zulaiya Sakibu from Achimota School in Accra and her father, Mohammed Tajudeen Sakibu.
The youth visited Washington, D.C.; Austin, Texas; and Chicago, Illinois, and stayed with American host families while participating in school and volunteer programs with American students and fellow PAYLP participants from other African nations.
During a meeting with Public Affairs Officer Roberto Quiroz II, Cultural Affairs Officer Sarah Shabbir, and Cultural Affairs Assistant Aisha Nartey, the alumni lauded the program for opening their eyes to diversity in the United States, as well as the opportunity to establish new friendships with other African students who shared their experiences in the program. One of the students said, “I feel empowered and more self-confident,” a feeling that was echoed by the others. The students reported on their upcoming group project to promote sanitation, which won first place in a competition in the United States among six projects.
The Public Affairs staff thanked the parents for supporting their children’s visit to the United States and exhorted the students to use their skills and education to promote Ghana’s development. “The United States of America is proud to promote education and we are pleased that you have maximized the opportunities presented by the Pan-Africa Youth Leadership Program,” said Mr. Quiroz. “Attaining a quality education is essential to prepare you to become leaders in all fields, to build a future of peace and prosperity through your own immense talents, contributions, and ideas, especially from women and girls. Imagine where you want to be 20 years from now, work towards your goals, and lift up others.”