Top U.S. colleges and universities to host young African leaders

Top U.S. colleges and universities to host young African leaders



The U.S. Department of State and IREX are pleased to announce the U.S. institutions of higher education that have been selected to host 1,000 Mandela Washington Fellows in the summer of 2017.

The 38 colleges and universities, listed below, are in 25 states and the District of Columbia and represent public and private institutions, both large and small, and urban and rural areas. The schools were chosen through an open competitive process, and 10 will host Fellows for the first time.

The institutions will provide six-week Academic and Leadership Institutes in Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, or Public Management. Each institution will provide tailored academic programs for the Mandela Washington Fellows. Workshops, mentoring, and networking with U.S. leaders supplement the academic coursework. Each Institute will also offer insights into American society through site visits, community service, and cultural programming. In 2016, Fellows contributed more than 13,000 service hours to their Institutes’ community partners and connected with more than 12,600 Americans across the country.

Launched in 2014, the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and embodies the United States’ commitment to invest in the future of Africa. The Mandela Washington Fellowship brings young leaders to the U.S. for academic coursework and leadership training and creates unique opportunities in Africa for Fellows to put new skills to practical use in leading organizations, communities, and countries. YALI was launched in 2010 to support young Africans as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.

2017 Academic Tracks and Institutes

Business and Entrepreneurship Institutes cater to Fellows aspiring to become leaders in the private sector or to start their own business ventures in Africa. The Institutes expose participants to business and entrepreneurial approaches in the U.S., including those that address social issues. Institutes may also help Fellows build technical and leadership capacity in areas such as business strategies, operations and supply chain management, business ethics, microfinance, marketing and branding, innovation and technology, emerging markets, and risk analysis. The 2017 Business and Entrepreneurship Institutes will be hosted by:

Civic Leadership Institutes are for Fellows who are civically engaged and serving the public through NGOs, community-based organizations, or volunteerism. The Institutes expose Fellows to the meaning of civic leadership in the U.S. while building technical and leadership capacity in areas such as advocacy, strategic planning, organizational development, and the intersection of civil society with business and government. The 2017 Civic Leadership Institutes will be hosted by:

Public Management Institutes are tailored to Fellows who work, or aspire to work, in all levels of government, regional or international organizations, or other publicly minded groups and think tanks. Public Management Institutes introduce Fellows to U.S. models and best practices while building technical and leadership capacity in areas such as citizen engagement, human resource management, public financial management, and the intersection of government with business and civil society. The 2017 Public Management Institutes will be hosted by:

A select group of 100 Fellows will remain in the U.S. for an additional six weeks after their Academic and Leadership Institute and the Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit to participate in a Professional Development Experience in the public, private, or nonprofit sector with U.S. organizations. The Mandela Washington Fellowship also includes robust programming in Africa, including internships on the continent, mentorships, access to seed funding, networking, and other professional development opportunities.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a U.S. government program funded by the U.S. Department of State and supported in its implementation by IREX. For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit and join the conversation with #YALI2017. Press inquiries may also be directed to