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Beatrice Selotlegeng delivers message to Mandela Washington Fellows at Dartmouth College

Thursday, August 20 2015 12:00am

Selotlegeng ties it all together for Fellows by presenting on how to translate conversation into practice

By Brianna Wilson

It’s not every day that you’re asked to speak to 25 of the most accomplished young African leaders at an Ivy League institution, but for Beatrice Selotlegeng, director, Junior Executive Business Program, it’s becoming a pattern. This is the second year Selotlegeng was invited to speak to Mandela Washington Fellows at Dartmouth College. This year, she was given the honor of delivering the last speech.

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Selotlegeng and Sadhana W. Hall, deputy director of the Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth College.

Mandela Washington Fellows are supported through President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). “YALI was created after President Obama visited Africa and realized that the best way to impact Africa positively is through its youth,” explained Selotlegeng. “Of the African population, 60 percent are youth, so if you impact that group positively, there is hope,” she continued. 

The Mandela Washington Fellows are comprised of a group on individuals who have completed further education, are leaders, and show great potential. United States Embassies receive more than 500,000 applications for the program each year, and just 500 are accepted. “The application process is rigorous,” said Selotlegeng, “and I think it should be.” The select few are brought to the United States, and sent to partner institutions like Dartmouth College for six weeks.

This year’s Fellows at Dartmouth represented all different countries, from Cabo Verde to Zambia to Benin. They also come from diverse backgrounds. One fellow, Abdoulaye Atim, has 10 years’ experience in the oil industry with ExxonMobil Chad, and is the founder of 3ACE Energy and Trading, a startup that promotes and develops solar energy in Chad. Praise Magama is a doctor and self-taught film producer. He started TaSimba Films, a company that focuses on producing films that address social and environmental issues in Zimbabwe. Kgomotso Mogapi founded A’Dare Women Wellness Centre in South Africa, which focuses on preventative health care, wellness, and lifestyle choices for women.

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During their six weeks at Dartmouth College, participants learned about various topics, with a strong emphasis on leadership. The culmination of the experience was a session Selotlegeng led called, “Putting it All Together: Translating Conversation into Practice” on July 28. She spoke about developing a sense of accountability, practicing self-awareness to use leadership skills to serve others, and how gaining knowledge also means gaining a responsibility to spread that knowledge. To drive her point home, Selotlegeng asked the Fellows to complete a “YALI Leadership Pledge” that encouraged them to practice accountability.

“The pledge then becomes their implementation plan,” explained Selotlegeng. “They can use it to guide them as they go forth and impact others positively.”

Go forth they shall.

And Selotlegeng? She plans to bring back what she learned from these emerging world leaders to Ohio University.