The Mandela Washington Fellowship experience has exceeded my expectations and allowed me to forge new goals and define new parameters. I came into this program focusing on the challenges we have in the maritime industry and more specifically, the opportunities available for my country. And now I see a bigger picture taking shape. I now realize that it is not only about the success of Angola as a country but how well Africa can harness its own resources and harmonize our policies at a regional level. I am an advocate for Women in maritime in Angola and now I have become an advocate for Women in Transportation worldwide. The challenges faced by Women throughout the transport sector are very similar and creating a framework to solve these challenges together will not only bring light to the gr eater challenges that exist in the specific industry (maritime), it will help solve the blanket challenges.
Sometimes, and more often than not, you find that every sector within a particular industry faces similar challenges.Only we are not working together to over come these issues. We often do not understand the benefit of coming together within a common space to say that these challenges are not unique to the maritime industry, they are not unique to freight, railway or aviation. These challenges are very much alike and if we come together and find solutions
together , we will be able to lever age our combined resources to generate solutions that benefit us all.
The leadership programs created for the MWFs were both broad and extensive that they were able to accommodate us at an individual and group level. I was exposed to areas beyond my cor e expertise as a maritime professional, in sectors such as health, education, technology and entrepreneurship. I had the opportunity to work across borders, in the traditional sense from the many countries represented, and in a professional sense from the many varied backgrounds of the participants. I was able to learn about the social determinants of health and the importance of collaborating with university at a global level in an effort to exchange different ideas across continents. And these are lessons that will resonate with me long after this program continues.
I left Angola with a feeling of angst. My country, like many, has its challenges.We are working to diversify our economy beyond the overwhelming focus on oil. We are developing democratic institutions twelve year s into our peace as we approach national elections in 2017. Today I am delighted to say that I have learned that challenges like these are not unique to my country. Perhaps the most encouraging is to learn how the US government is very much dedicated to collaborating with African states in not only providing funding for development projects and aid, but in more sustainable ways such as capacity building efforts and more human-centric development approaches. I have seen this dedication in working in the Office of the Secretary of Transportation.
There is great opportunity for us as Angolans and as Africans to work both across borders and professional lines.As Africans, we do not often look to our neighbors, but to Asia, Europe or the United States. Yali cultivates a needed shift in thinking for us to lever age our own talents and resources.