Ahead of the visit of President Trump to the UK, The Patchwork Foundation and the US Embassy in London have partnered to send seven young diverse leaders from the UK to the USA on the US State Department’s premier International Visitors Leadership Programme (IVLP).
During the three-week programme, the young Londoners will have meetings with the US State Department, American community leaders, campaigners and young people from across the USA to learn about American culture and politics. The seven young people are from very different backgrounds and walks of life but all have a very keen focus on helping minority communities, and have taken up leadership roles to help others and are active members of civil society.
All seven participants are alumni of the Patchwork Foundation’s Masterclass programme. The Masterclass programme offers candidates from disadvantaged, minority and under-represented communities a ten-month syllabus that develops their personal and professional skills, increases their soft skills and a unique opportunity to learn from and interact with leading practitioners from British politics and public life. Alumni of the Patchwork Foundation are now working in Downing Street, Parliament, Whitehall and City Hall.
Robert Wood Johnson. Ambassador of the United States of America said: “It has been great teaming up with the fantastic Patchwork Foundation to send some of their best and brightest alumni on a U.S. International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) exchange project aimed at empowering young people to become more engaged in democracy and civil society. IVLP is the premier U.S. government-sponsored professional exchange, and notable UK alumni include the current and several former Prime Ministers. Who knows, maybe there is a future PM [Prime Minister] in this Patchwork group.”
The Mayor of London, Rt Hon Sadiq Khan said; “Enabling young people from every background to participate in public life is vital to the health of our democracy. I have seen first-hand the impact that the Patchwork Foundation has on young people from communities who too often struggle to engage with our democratic institutions. I am thrilled that seven young Londoners, drawn from our vibrant and diverse communities, will have this life-changing IVLP opportunity – as I myself did – to learn from the US experience to become leaders in their own right, championing the cause of minority and under-represented communities.”
Mohammed Randeree, 27, is a Senior Associate with PwC and one of the young people selected for this programme. He said “I am extremely excited and enthusiastic about being selected to be one of the first Patchworkers to be selected to go on the prestigious IVLP programme. We have a packed itinerary of engagements across three weeks, covering three states – ranging from political engagements, community engagements and meetings with NGOs and big businesses to explore how ethnic minority inclusion and engagement is being promoted in the United States. I am really looking forward to learning what is working well in the states, exchanging best practise and bringing back some ideas to implement here at home.”
Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan KCMG MP, the Minister of State for Europe and the Americas at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office said “The Patchwork Foundation has done a brilliant job of giving the next generation of young leaders from underrepresented communities in Britain the tools to thrive in civil society and British politics. We’re delighted that the U.S. Embassy is supporting their visit to the United States through the International Visitors Leadership Programme, and hope that their time in the U.S. provides them the opportunity to continue building these skills and further strengthen the close bonds of friendship between our two countries and our shared commitment to democracy.”
The IVLP is fully funded by the United States Department of State and has been running for over 75 years. The IVLP has alumni including former Prime Ministers; the Late Rt Hon Margaret Thatcher, the Rt Hon Tony Blair and the Rt Hon Gordon Brown, in addition to current Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Theresa May MP and current Mayor of London, the Rt Hon Sadiq Khan. Further to this, 127 former and current Members of Parliament are IVLP alumni.