Thursday, June 17, 2021
IP Staff



University of Iowa hosting Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders in 2019

The University of Iowa is proud to announce its selection as an Institute Partner for the 2021 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.  Beginning June 21, The University of Iowa will virtually engage 25 of Africa’s bright, emerging Business leaders for a six-week Leadership Institute, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.  Some highlights of the University of Iowa program will include business-specific content, virtual networking events with Iowa community and business leaders, cultural connection activities, and community service meetings.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities, and local community engagement.  YALI was created in 2010 and supports young Africans as they spur economic growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across the African continent.  Since 2014, the U.S. Department of State has supported nearly 4,400 young leaders from across 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaboration with U.S. professionals through the fellowship.  The cohort of fellows hosted by the University of Iowa will be part of a group of 700 Mandela Washington fellows hosted by 26 educational institutions across the United States.   

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and with the health, safety, and well-being of fellows and partners as the highest priority, the U.S. Department of State is planning a virtual fellowship for 2021. While remaining in their home countries, fellows will participate in virtual leadership institutes, which will include leadership training, networking, mentoring, and professional development. 

After their leadership institutes, fellows will participate in a virtual summit.  Up to 70 competitively selected fellows will also participate in six weeks of virtual professional development with U.S. nongovernmental organizations, private companies, and government agencies.

Funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and implemented by IREX, leadership institutes will offer programs that engage, motivate, and empower young leaders from Africa to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.

For additional information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship Leadership Institute implemented by the University of Iowa, please contact Kelly Bedeian at or visit our website.


The Mandela Washington Fellowship is a program of the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by IREX.  For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit and join the conversation at #YALI2021.