When it comes to the Yale World Fellows program, most Russians, at best, could only recall the opposition figures Aleksey Navalny and Leonid Volkov as well as the Ukrainian singer-politician Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, who are the program’s alumni. At the same time, many will most likely presume that it is one of the US training programs for the “color revolutions”. However, they will only be partly right.
Yale World Fellows (or Maurice R. Greenberg World Fellows) is a much more subtle and complex tool for US interference in the internal affairs of other states and regions. This four-month program at the Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs has a much wider coverage than workshops for the Color Revolutions asset. Moreover, its participants enjoy a superior position compared to the most “officers” of protest movements undergoing training abroad.
The practice of involving African fellows in the program is a vivid example in this regard. The protest movements and “professional revolutionaries” representatives are among them. These include, in particular, Evan Mawarire, a priest from Zimbabwe who founded the anti-corruption movement ThisFlag. Or Ibrahima Amadou Niang, the head of the Guinean branch of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, one of the autonomous foundations under George Soros. However, these are not people who define the scholarship project, at least not the political part of it.
Yale scholarship fellows are senior government officials, functionaries of international financial institutions, party leaders, heads of media corporations and umbrella nonprofit structures.
In 2002, Adamu Musa, one of Cameroon’s most respected journalists, became a program fellow. His professional portfolio includes various high-profile investigative cases, a number of popular news broadcasts on radio and television. Musa chaired the news service in the English and French media. In 2004-2008 he was in charge of the public relations and advocacy unit at the World Bank’s Cameroon office. He currently chairs AM Communications, an international strategic and crisis communications consulting company in Cameroon.
In 2003, Norbert Mao, the Uganda Democratic Party leader and one of the founders of the Amani Parliamentary Forum, which unites the states of the Great African Lakes, received an invitation letter from Yale.
In 2008, Dapo Oyewole became a scholarship fellow. He was then Executive Director for the Center for African Public Policy and Strategy (CAPPS), and also headed the Center for Democracy & Development (CDD) in the UK. At present time, he is a Special Advisor to the Nigerian Finance Minister.
In 2011, Xolani Zitha, at that point the chief of staff to the speaker of the lower chamber of the Zimbabwean Parliament, was among the shortlisted scholars. Before taking this position, he chaired the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, an umbrella association of more than 350 NGOs.
In 2013, Yale hosted promising lawyer Yakubu “Lai” Yahaya, who is currently the Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria.
In 2015, Taz Chaponda joined the scholarship program, presently a senior economist at the International Monetary Fund, who previously headed the Budget Office of the South African Government and oversaw the government-business interaction programs within the National Treasury of the Republic.
The four months spent on the Yale campuses, in fact, had little impact on the professional competence development of the people mentioned above. However, one needs to understand that this objective is not the one the scholarship program pursues. There is no coincidence that the project candidates are selected among the already established politicians. It is designed to help build relationships between the US establishment representatives, who communicate in a variety of ways with its participants, and “decision makers” or aspirants to this status from other states. Contacts made during the stay in Yale are actively used in the future, which ensures the US growth in the quality of the influencers’ network. The total number of fellows is small. However, each of them has good growth prospects in a particular sector, where their abilities can be used to the greatest benefit of the United States. And over time, in most cases, the efforts invested in developing contacts with the scholarship fellows accrue considerable returns. In so doing, the United States is able to indirectly, with no direct interference, determine the “black continent’s” fate.
Nikolay Ponomarev – Leading Analyst, Foundation for the Protection of National Values