The Mayor of Austin, Texas, presented a key to the city to H.R.H Princess Celenhle Dlamin (Cee) of Swaziland. The princess was visiting Austin as part of her official role as chief operating officer of The Ubuntu Institute.
Like her grandfather, Nelson Mandela, Princess Cee is passionate about providing disadvantaged youths with economic opportunities through programs that provide skills training, education and employment. International exchange programs offer that important opportunity to learn, grow and flourish.
“Many young people state that they cannot get jobs because employers tell them they do not have enough work experience to qualify for positions,” Princess Cee explains. “This applies even to young graduates of both undergraduate levels and post-graduate levels.” The innovative approach of the Ubuntu Institute identifies international internships to deal with the issues of un-employability. The program was created to address this gap in order to combat the increasing rates of youth unemployment in South Africa. The program empowers graduates with skills and training opportunities to prepare them for a future career in the hospitality industry.
Alliance Abroad Group’s collaboration with Ubuntu and hospitality businesses in Austin and other Texas cities has created tremendous opportunities for program interns. Austin businesses have been supportive of cultural exchange programs like this and see the value of having diversity infused in their business. They report that the diversity of talent, perspective and backgrounds are key business enablers and enhance employee and customers’ experience.
As cultural exchange sponsors, we know the benefits go well beyond employment opportunities. Exchange programs change individual paths and perspectives in incredibly positive ways. People from all over the globe come together to accomplish goals in hand-in-hand cooperation.
Princess Cee explains that the interns return to South Africa and contribute to the skills gap and economic activity of the country. She recognizes that this type of progress wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of our local implementation partners like Alliance Abroad, the support of local communities and, most importantly, international employers who value and support Ubuntu, diversity and other cultural exchange programs.
The Princess will return to Austin sometime in May with family members and program interns to officially kick off the program. Alliance Abroad Group looks forward to extending another royal welcome!