John Paul Ojaojogwu Usman has died in the United States. The young Nigerian died on June 25 due to an accident while hiking near Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, where he was studying civic leadership as a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow.
The The U.S. Mission to Nigeria expressed sadness over his death and commiserated with the country.
“We extend our deepest condolences to John Paul’s family and friends over this tragic loss,” a statement by the US Diplomatic Mission said.
“John Paul was a rising star, devoted to the causes of sustainable development, children’s rights, and peacebuilding in Nigeria. His selection to the Mandela Washington Fellowship was a tribute to his drive, talent, and dedication to making his country’s civil society even stronger,” the statement said.
“While his time with us was short, he was well loved,” the Diplomatic Mission quoted one of John Paul’s professional mentors at Virginia Tech to have said.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, begun in 2014, is the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking.
Each Mandela Washington Fellow takes part in a six-week academic and leadership Institute at a U.S. university or college in one of three tracks: Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, or Public Management.