University of Iowa

University of Iowa to host 2019 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

February 4th, 2019
Mandela Washington Fellow Awa Thiam, of Dakar, Senegal, speaks with members of the Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC) at a meet and greet reception on June 25

Mandela Washington Fellow Awa Thiam, of Dakar, Senegal, speaks with members of the Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC) at a meet and greet reception on June 25, 2018

The University of Iowa is proud to announce that it has been selected as an Institute Partner for the 2019 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Beginning in mid-June, the UI will host 25 of Africa’s brightest emerging business and entrepreneurship leaders for a six-week Leadership Institute, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

“The Mandela Fellows program provides us with an unparalleled opportunity to cultivate long-term connections to dozens of Sub-Saharan countries, for the benefit our students and faculty," says Downing Thomas, associate provost and dean of UI International Programs.

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. Since 2014, the U.S. Department of State has supported nearly 3,700 young leaders from 49 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaborations with U.S. professionals. The cohort of Fellows hosted by the UI will be part of a group of 700 Mandela Washington Fellows hosted at 27 educational institutions across the United States. This summer, all Fellows will receive a letter from President Trump welcoming them to the United States for their program. At the conclusion of their Leadership Institutes, these exceptional young leaders will convene in Washington, D.C., for the sixth annual Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit, where they will take part in networking and panel discussions with each other and with U.S. leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Following the Summit, 70 competitively-selected Fellows will participate in four weeks of professional development at U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies, and government agencies.

"This program plays a pivotal role in the internationalization of our university community."

“Hosting the Mandela Washington Fellows for the fourth time in a row this summer confirms our commitment to strengthening ties with Sub-Saharan Africa," says Dimy Doresca, director of the UI Institute for International Business. "It’s a great honor to be able to interact and share knowledge with the future business and political leaders of Africa.  This program plays a pivotal role in the internationalization of our university community."

With the help of a grant from the State Department to support the visit, the program is delivered and administered by the Institute for International Business, a partnership between the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (Iowa JPEC) and the Tippie College of Business. UI International Programs, in partnership with the Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC), will provide cultural and logistical support to the fellows during their stay. 

"CIVIC is thrilled that we'll once again be working with the university to host the Mandela Washington Fellows," says Jo Butterfield, executive director of CIVIC.  "Each year, the opportunity to engage with these amazing young professional is a highlight for area students and our dedicated team of local volunteers!" 

Funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and working closely with its implementing partner, IREX, host institutions will offer leadership programs that will challenge, motivate, and empower these inspiring young leaders from Africa.

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. Since 2014, the U.S. Department of State has brought 3,000 young leaders from across Sub-Saharan Africa to the United States to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaborations with U.S. professionals. For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit yali.state.gov/mwf and join the conversation at #YALI2019.

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