What always energizes those of us who work on exchange programs for professionals is seeing the passion of emerging foreign leaders. This week, 20 Young African Leaders, participants in the International Visitor Leadership Program, arrived in Washington. In conversations with U.S. government officials -- including Grant Harris, Senior Director for African Affairs at the White House, and Ronan Farrow, the State Department's Special Adviser for Global Youth Issues -- the participants shared their experiences, gained a better understanding of U.S. policy, and discussed ways to keep the dialogue going after their program is over. Just as importantly, they talked about how their efforts are contributing to the changing impressions the world has about Africa. Hindou Oumarou of Chad talked about her organization's use of GPS technology to better understand where and how to reach communities. Several participants mentioned how mobile technologies allow them to share immediate impacts of their work with thousands. Gilberto Macuacua of Mozambique, a spokesperson for women's rights, told me how Facebook and his television program provide a means to "build a new man in Mozambique." Joannie Bewa of Benin said she sees hope when girls in Benin organize and give their pocket money to help other girls become entrepreneurs. While they come from different countries, focus on different issues, and serve in a variety of roles, the participants repeatedly shared excitement about the new ideas that this visit to the United States, which includes places like Albuquerque and New Orleans, will provide them. They plan to take information from their meetings and professional exchanges and turn their ideas into responses when they return home. Bewa, who is a doctor and social activities coordinator for the Young Beninese Leaders Association, said it best: "We don't have to wait for every solution to come from Europe or the U.S. They have to be our solutions. After this meeting I think we have to become a strong Young African Leaders network that can impact other young leaders in our communities."