I had a great time last week speaking to Leland International Hunger Fellows alongside three other Atlas Corps Fellows- Huma, Pragya and Mays. It was an opportunity to interact with other social impact leaders who are solving the problem of food security across the world. These guys are rockstars.

Arcelia Gomez (lovely lady) who is the Innovation and Learning Manager at Congressional Hunger Center gave us the panelists a brief background about the fellows and the fellowship which I thought was amazing. She said, “Leland International Hunger Fellows are part of a two -year program, authorized by Congress and designed to help bridge the gap that often exists between field/community-based efforts and policymakers when it comes to addressing food security. Our fellows spend one year working across the globe on local food security interventions and then bring those learnings to Washington D.C. or other global policy hubs for their second year placements. One of the central themes of our training this week, is “amplifying voices of people with lived experience and hunger through local leadership.”

After going through her mail, I had to go through the profiles of all the fellows one by one. They have amazing profiles. Almost all of them have worked for at least one year in third world countries. It was quite inspiring to see young people like me passionate about changing this world.

During the session I discussed the value of local leadership in international development, what leadership means to me, why I left Nigeria to do a fellowship program in the US, my work in the development space in Nigeria, and my thoughts on what roles US citizens can play in this space to support local leaders. There was time for questions and answers by the fellows. I had an amazing interactive time.

One of reasons I gave as why I left Nigeria to do a fellowship here in the US is because I wanted to export the best version of a Nigerian to the rest of the world. I wanted to show the world what the highest quality of a Nigerian looks like. I am not just a Nigerian, I am a 24Karats Nigerian. Also, I came here because of the many young leaders back home who look up to me, and those who will. I have come to learn so that I can transfer the skills when I get back home.

Receiving a mail from Congressional Hunger Center to appreciate my contribution to that session felt good. Thanks to Atlas Corps forgiving me the opportunity to represent her. AichAin Khattak (Huma), Pragya MishraMays Iseed and I did a great job at representing Atlas Corps. Thanks to Zachary Morrice who came to support us. We will keep representing.