Hundreds of Young African Leaders Convene to Collaborate on Sustainability and Inclusion
Hundreds of young African leaders recently convened for the virtual 2022 Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit. Selected from a pool of more than 35,000 applicants, the 700 leaders strengthened leadership skills and exchanged ideas with leaders from Africa and the United States.
“Africa is a continent of young people – energized, innovative, eager for opportunity,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “I hope that this is only the beginning of your connection with the United States, your Institute mentors and partners, and especially with each other.”
Held July 12 and 13 and hosted by the U.S. Department of State and IREX, the Summit marked the culmination of six weeks of leadership training at 27 U.S. educational institutions. Throughout the program, Fellows develop lasting connections with Americans and forge networks with other young leaders across Africa.
“Stay in touch with each other,” said Senator Chris Coons. “If you continue to rely on each other for encouragement [and] strength as you continue your path of public service and community leadership, of entrepreneurship and innovation, you're more likely to be successful in the years ahead.”
During the Summit’s Partnership Expo, U.S. companies and organizations highlighted their work and connected with the next generation of African decision-makers. Dr. Bernice King, Chief Executive Officer of The King Center, and Dr. Acha Leke, Senior Partner of McKinsey & Company, delivered the keynote addresses. Yolanda Sangweni, Vice President of Programming and New Content Development of National Public Radio, was the mistress of ceremonies and moderator.
“We are all rooting for you,” said Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Representative to the United Nations. “You are the reason I have optimism and faith in Africa's future… the challenges we face are great, but I know you will be greater still.”
Following the Summit, up to 100 competitively-selected Fellows will participate in four weeks of professional development with U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies, and government agencies.
Videos of the Summit are available online.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a program of the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by IREX.