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Why Emmanuel Odama Is Introducing President Obama at the YALI Town Hall

Emmanuel Odama, a Young African Leaders Initiative fellow, shares what the YALI initiative has meant to him and his community ahead of today's town hall.

Today, Emmanuel Odama sent this email to share why he'll be introducing President Obama at today's town hall for the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Started in 2010, YALI has brought hundreds of thousands of young people across the continent together to make their communities, countries, and continent more prosperous and secure.‎ Emmanuel is one of those young leaders. Didn't get his message? Sign up for email updates here

Emmanuel Odama in Uganda
Emmanuel Odama in Uganda

I come from Uganda -- from a farming community in the countryside where I learned what I know from the farmers I grew up with.

When I had the chance to complete my education in agricultural science, the hardest decision I had to make was whether to find a new job or return to my local community and teach them a little bit of what I had learned.

More than anything else, I wanted to see improvement in the livelihoods of the farmers that helped me become the agricultural scientist, pastor, and mentor that I am today. So I returned home to the Arua district in Uganda, and spent years working to pass on the knowledge and skills I had gained.

My passion is to be a part of bringing solutions to the country, and continent, where I grew up. That's how so many of my fellow Africans who are part of the President's Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) feel, too. You can tune in at 3:20 pm ET to watch live here:

As President Obama knows, the African continent is not only in need of transformational leaders, but leaders who will make the deliberate effort to inspire those they lead to take up the mantle -- particularly young leaders, who are looking for seasoned role models to emulate.

Emmanuel Odama in Uganda
Emmanuel Odama in Uganda

For all the challenges Africa faces, it is my hope that, just like the Fulbright Fellowship program and Peace Corps Volunteers program, YALI will continue to shape and support more young African leaders who return home to embrace the challenges they grew up with -- and the challenge of being the generation that will offer the African continent a new hope for a better future that we can pass on to our younger siblings, our children, and our great grandchildren.

Thanks to President Obama and the legacy he leaves with YALI, so many of us our are well-poised to do it.

So please join us at the town hall today at 3:20 pm ET to hear President Obama's answers to our questions about the future of young leaders in Africa and around the world. 

Thank you for listening to my story,

Emmanuel Odama