The Pan African Youth Leadership Program (PAYLP) supports long-range U.S. foreign policy priorities by offering secondary school students (ages 15-18) and adult educators the opportunity to explore themes such as entrepreneurship, civic education, youth leadership and economic development, and respect for diversity. Through three-week, intensive exchanges in the United States, participants engage in workshops on leadership and service, community site visits related to the program themes and subthemes, interactive training in conflict resolution, presentations, visits to high schools, local cultural activities, and homestays with local American families. Programs like this are leading the way for the next generation of Malians to be leaders in creating a peaceful and stable SAHEL region. In 2017, Mali participated in PAYLP by sending four young leaders and one mentor from the northern region of Gao to the U.S. The young Malians crossed the Sahara Desert and the Atlantic Ocean, landing in Washington, DC and immersed themselves in American culture. The students had many opportunities to share Mali’s rich culture and traditions with Americans and fellow international participants. A highlight of their trip was staying with host families in Muncie, Indiana. Here you see the Malian students having a great time with all their new friends in PAYLP at of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.