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U.S. Embassy Announces the 2023 Cohort of YLAI Fellows
January 13, 2023


Six Trinidad and Tobago nationals will join 280 young leaders from 37 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada, as part of the 2023 Trinidad and Tobago cohort of the U.S. Department of State’s Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Fellowship Program. They were chosen from over 1,800 applications.

The six fellows are Sean Aberdeen, Kelly-Ann Bethel, Dawsher Charles, Shenelle Hills-Fife, Amy Jones, and Afua Mapp.  The 2023 program launched in December 2022 with a virtual fellowship leadership curriculum and orientation.  In May, the fellows will travel to the United States for four-week professional placements with U.S. businesses.

They will collaborate with their peers to address shared business challenges, as well as engage in virtual and in-person events and cross-cultural activities.  The program concludes with a closing forum in Washington, D.C. in June.  Fellows will return to Trinidad and Tobago with new skills, resources, ongoing support from U.S. counterparts, and a broader network, strengthening business ties between the U.S. and Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada.

Launched in 2015, YLAI is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. More than 1,240 YLAI fellows have built connections with more than 900 U.S. host businesses and organizations. Eighty-four percent of all fellows attracted new resources to their business within one year of completing the program.

Following are bios of the T&T cohort:
Sean Aberdeen, Civic Engagement: Mr. Aberdeen works in the youth empowerment sector, leading Aberdeen Sports Management Company as a trained and qualified sports manager.

Kelly-Ann Bethel, Health Business: Ms. Bethel works in the health sector, leading the company “Recess” as a tech entrepreneur focusing on mental health.

Dawsher Charles, Education: Ms. Charles works in the education sector at Survival Scholars Ltd., as an education development coach and consultant at this resilience-building and health-promoting organization.

Shenelle Hills-Fife, Business: Ms. Hills-Fife works in the artisan products sector, leading De Jeunésse Bath & Body. She is pursuing certification as a cosmetic chemist, creating stable, handmade luxury products in a local manufacturing industry.

Amy Jones, Business research: Ms. Jones works as a researcher in the business services sector, leading social research organization, The Jones Research Centre Ltd.

Afua Mapp, Agriculture: Ms. Mapp works in the agriculture and animal care sector, leading Bayview Farm Acres, while enrolled in the MSc tropical livestock and production program at the University of the West Indies.