The Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD) and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, both part of the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame, will welcome 14 new business and social entrepreneurs from across Latin America and the Caribbean beginning Monday, Sept. 24, for the 2018 Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program.

The four-week program is funded by the U.S. Department of State and implemented by Meridian International Center. For the third year in a row, NDIGD will lead and administer the program at the University. The Kellogg Institute will also return for a third year as an integral supporting partner of the program.

As in previous years, the YLAI Professional Fellows will each shadow one public or private host organization in the Michiana region for four days each week during regular business hours. By working alongside these host organizations, the YLAI Professional Fellows will learn to further develop and scale up their own commercial and social ventures, and they will develop specific action plans to carry out upon return to their home countries.

During their stay, the  group will meet in separate dialog sessions with Faculty Fellow Rev. Daniel Groody, CSC, associate professor of theology and global affairs and director of the Institute's Global Leadership Program and with Ignacio Walker, Hewlett Fellow for Public Policy at Kellogg. They also will attend a speed networking event with Kellogg Institute graduate students. 

The 2018 class of YLAI Professional Fellows, eight men and six women, hail from 11 countries:

In addition to working side-by-side with their local host placements, the YLAI Professional Fellows will expand their leadership, entrepreneurial, and management skills and knowledge through online and in-person trainings at Notre Dame with the NDIGD team. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to network and strategize with faculty, students, guest speakers, and visiting fellows through events organized by the Kellogg Institute.

After leaving Notre Dame in late October, the YLAI Professional Fellows will participate in a closing conference and networking event with top U.S. government officials, as well as global public, private, and nonprofit leaders in Washington, D.C.

The 2018 YLAI Professional Fellows’ full biographies, as well as additional information about the program at Notre Dame, are available at

Originally published by Luis Ruuska at on September 19, 2018.