Yale honours CEO of South African youth employment accelerator
Maryana Iskander, a graduate of Yale Law School and CEO of Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, is recognised for her career achievements.
Iskander attended ceremonies last week where she received the 2017-2018 Yale Law Women Alumnae Achievement Award, celebrating graduates whose careers have advanced the status of women in the legal profession and society at large. The award specifically recognises alumnae who demonstrate valour, wisdom and compassion. Previous recipients include former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken also recognised Iskander as a path breaker, selecting her photograph to hang on the walls of the Law School alongside other highly distinguished alumni. Gerken said, “I want to commend Maryana for the remarkable career that she has built in public service – she has spent her life advocating for others, solving problems, and thinking hard about institutional change. And along the way, she has enriched the lives of countless people. Maryana is a role model. She never settled for achievement alone when she could find fulfillment as well. In doing so, she has lit up that pathway for generations to come.”
Of note was Iskander’s leadership in building solutions to tackle youth unemployment, where 1 out of every 2 South Africans remain locked out of the economy. Harambee has placed nearly 50,000 youth in a first job through large-scale partnerships, technology innovation and research.
Iskander said, “It’s the honour of a lifetime to receive Yale’s Alumnae Achievement Award. It reinforces the investment we all need to make in guiding young people who are navigating their own pathways to education, employment or entrepreneurship. We need to provide them with solutions.”
About Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator
Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator is a not-for-profit social enterprise that builds solutions to tackle youth unemployment. The organisation partners with businesses to match their entry-level requirements to their network of high-potential work-seekers who have been locked out of the formal economy, typically because they have no networks and come from social grant dependent households. Through scientifically rigorous matching tools and behavioural readiness programmes, Harambee reduces hiring risk and enables new job creation by focusing on churn, skills scarcity and retention, supported by change management with employers. Harambee’s model for change also builds solutions to address system-wide challenges through research, innovation and public-private partnerships.