The Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit entered its second day in Washington on Tuesday with Zimbabwe’s Regina Bwanali presenting a paper on “opportunity” after being unanimously voted by her colleagues at the University of Delaware, as being the best to represent her team.
Bwanali says she is excited she met President Barack Obama Monday at a town hall meeting, held in Washington DC to kick off the three-day summit.
Bwanali said she cannot wait to share with colleagues her experiences from activities of the past six weeks.
She is an advocate of the Superior Court of Zimbabwe and is part of 30 Zimbabweans drawn from various professions and walks of life to be part of the 500 fellows from Africa.
She hopes to empower other women when she returns home. She was inspired by President Barack Obama's call for African governments to respect women's rights.
She is hopeful that the government will engage with the young fellows on their return home to ensure that the knowledge they acquired while in the United States will be implemented.
"We were honoured by the Zimbabwean Ambassador to the U.S. last night who invited us to the Embassy to share our ideas and see how we can use the knowledge gained to further develop our country," said Bwanali, who adds that she was happy to eat Zimbabwean food after weeks of missing her traditional dishes.
Bwanali urged other women interested in participating in programmes like the Mandela Washington Mandela Fellowship for Young African Leaders, saying anyone can be selected despite their circumstance.
She said although competition is stiff “it’s important to write your own narrative when you do get a chance and to put your best foot forward no matter what.
"I am a young lady from Glenview. I never thought I would be selected for this programme but I applied and the Lord answered my prayer and here I am carrying the hopes of my people of Glenview and Zimbabwe. If I can do it anyone can and people should not be afraid to take up opportunities when they present themselves," said Bwanali.
President Obama announced Monday that he was increasing the number of fellows to 1,000, a move which was received with enthusiasm by current fellows.
Zimbabwe's fellows return home Thursday with two staying behind for internships for the next six weeks.