Two Nigerians, Tokunboh Ishmael and Lai Yahaya, were yesterday named as Yale World Fellows.
"While Ishmael is an impact investment pioneer, Yahaya is an oil sector transparency advocate," the President of Yale University, Richard C. Levin, said as he announced them as the 2013 Yale World Fellows.
Ishmael is an investment professional with over 20 years' experience spanning investment banking, private equity investing, technology and new business development. She is co-founder and Managing Director of Alitheia Capital, a fund management and investment firm based in Nigeria that channels private equity investments into businesses and broadens access to finance, energy and housing for SMEs and low-income households.
Ishmael's previous roles include Country Partner for Aureos West Africa, and Mergers and Acquisition banker at Salomon Smith Barney. Ishmael is passionate about transforming lives through meaningful investments that drive job and wealth creation.
Yahaya, a policy entrepreneur, is currently Team Leader of the Facility for Oil Sector Transparency and Reform (FOSTER), a donor-funded programme that supports government and civil society in a bid to push for greater transparency, accountability and reform in the Nigerian oil sector. Previously, he was a technical adviser on the Nigerian Presidential Taskforce on Power and worked on the Roadmap for Power Sector Reform. He is an ardent activist for probity, efficiency and best practice in government and the private sector.
Ishmael and Yahaya are among 16 World Fellows selected this year, from a pool of about 2,500 applicants. This year's cohort brings the total number of Yale World Fellows since the programme's inception in 2002 to 238, representing 81 countries.
The Yale World Fellows Programme is the university's signature global leadership development initiative and a core element of Yale's ongoing commitment to internationalisation. Each year, the university invites a group of exemplary mid-career professionals from a wide range of fields and countries for an intensive four-month period of academic enrichment and leadership training.
Four previous Yale World Fellows hailed from Nigeria. They are: Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, Co-founder and Publishing Director, Cassava Republic Press; Hauwa Ibrahim, Research Associate and Visiting Lecturer, Harvard Divinity School; Ibidapo Oyewole, Technical Adviser, National Planning Commission; and Philomena Chinwe Uwandu, Legal Adviser to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
"The Yale World Fellows Programme consistently attracts outstanding talent," said World Fellows programme director Michael Cappello, professor of paediatrics at Yale School of Medicine.
"The 16 individuals selected this year are each poised to become even more effective change-makers in their societies and around the world. This unique leadership training opportunity will no doubt inspire their many future contributions to the global community."
The mission of the Yale World Fellows Programme is to cultivate and empower a community of globally engaged leaders committed to positive change through cross-disciplinary dialogue and action. It has at its core three main goals: to provide advanced training to emerging leaders from diverse disciplines and countries, to link this network of world leaders to each other and to Yale, and to expand and deepen international understanding.