Professional Development Experience information for host organizations

Professional Development Experience information for host organizations


Are you interested in hosting a young African professional in your workplace?  The Mandela Washington Fellowship offers an enriching opportunity for U.S. businesses, NGOs, and government agencies of all sizes to host a Mandela Washington Fellow for a four-week Professional Development Experience (PDE) during the month of August.

The Fellows are established leaders in their communities who are motivated to take their careers and positive impact to the next level and bring fresh knowledge and unique global perspectives to American workplaces.  They have several years of experience in a variety of sectors and have brought a great deal of value to their Host Organizations.

PDE Graphic


IREX works with both the Host Organization and the Fellow through an intensive and personalized matching process to ensure that the Fellow’s experience and skills align with the organization’s mission and goals.  PDEs have shown that they are mutually beneficial for both the Fellow and the Host Organization.  Here are just a few examples of how the Fellows contributed to businesses and organizations in the United States:

Nathalie Kpante is the co-founder of Togo's first chocolate Nathalie Kpante poses with her work.making company, ChocoTogo.  Using the skills she learned at her PDE at Theo Chocolate in Seattle, Washington, and refinery equipment she purchased from U.S. small business Diamond Custom Machines (DCM) in Hillsborough, New Jersey, Nathalie introduced refined chocolate production to ChocoTogo.  Due to the popularity of the refined chocolate, ChocoTogo expanded to supermarkets across Togo, Benin, and Cote d'Ivoire, and DCM is growing their exports to African markets.

Nyasha with his friend.Nyasha Mharakurwa is a wheelchair tennis player who represented Zimbabwe at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.  For his PDE, Nyasha was placed with the sports arm of Ability360 in Phoenix, Arizona.  There he met Sarah Olson, a Program Coordinator at Ability360 who, through the Mandela Washington Fellowship’s Reciprocal Exchange component, later traveled to Zimbabwe to work with Nyasha on the launch of a youth adaptive sports program.  The program mirrored Ability360’s MaxInMotion Youth Adaptive Sports Clinics and allowed Nyasha to grow his organization and Ability360 to expand its partnerships internationally.

As a Fellowship PDE host, you will:

It is a great opportunity to further global competencies and create moments of connection between people and organizations that normally would not have an opportunity to connect.

Starbucks Coffee Company

  • Benefit from having an African professional contribute to your organization with all expenses covered by the Fellowship.
  • Collaborate with IREX in selecting a Fellow who is well suited for your needs and interests.
  • Develop your employees’ professional capacities by mentoring, supervising, or working with a leader from Africa.
  • Learn from the Fellow’s unique perspective on your industry in their home country.
  • Grow your network by connecting with other Host Organizations in your city and sector.
  • Build long-term professional relationships that may lead to future professional collaborations in Africa.
  • Gain unique insight into other opportunities offered by the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, including Reciprocal Exchanges offered to American professionals.

Would you like to participate in this collaborative exchange opportunity by hosting a young African professional at your business or organization?  Would you like to learn more about PDEs and how they will benefit you and your colleagues?  Please contact the Mandela Washington Fellowship Team at

2018 Professional Development Experience Hosts

  • 1847 Philanthropic
  • 321 Fast Draw Inc.
  • Administrative Office of the Courts - Judicial Council of Georgia
  • African Wildlife Foundation
  • Alabama A&M University Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
  • Alliance Theatre
  • American Pharmacists Association
  • Art and Resistance Through Education (ARTE)
  • Atlas Corps
  • Austin School of Film
  • Brookings Institution
  • Carriage House Farm LLC
  • Child Care Law Center
  • City of Cincinnati, OH
  • City of Philadelphia, PA
  • City of Phoenix, AZ
  • City of Seattle, WA
  • Comcast Corporation
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations – Chicago Office
  • DAI
  • Deloitte
  • Echoing Green
  • Fenway Community Health Center, Inc.
  • Franklin County Economic Development & Planning Department
  • Gallaudet University
  • Global Entrepreneurship Network
  • Grameen Foundation
  • Health Partners Plans, Inc.
  • Henderson Police Department
  • Hennepin Healthcare System, Inc.
  • Hip Hop for Change, Inc.
  • Houston Health Department
  • International Republican Institute
  • International Youth Foundation
  • La Terza Coffee
  • LGBT Equity Center at the University of Maryland
  • Management Leadership for Tomorrow
  • Maricopa County, AZ
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • Montgomery County Human Services Planning and Development Department
  • National Association of the Deaf
  • National Center for Transgender Equality
  • National Democratic Institute
  • National Endowment for Democracy
  • Office of U.S. Senator Christopher Coons of Delaware
  • Partnership Against Domestic Violence
  • PATH
  • Peace Corps
  • Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Premise Data
  • Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC)
  • Radiant.Earth
  • Rotary International
  • Social Enterprise Alliance - Greater Cincinnati Regional Chapter
  • Starbucks Corporation
  • Sylvia Rivera Law Project
  • The Alameda County Family Justice Center
  • The Center for Great Neighborhoods
  • The Food Trust
  • The Humane Society
  • The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • U.S. African Development Foundation
  • U.S. Agency for International Development
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • U.S. Department of Transportation
  • U.S. Institute of Peace
  • University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Environmental Science
  • University of Minnesota Extension
  • University of Pennsylvania Center for Global Health
  • Upward Roots
  • Voice of America
  • World Resources Institute
  • Youth Ensemble of Atlanta


Interested organizations should contact the Mandela Washington Fellowship team at with questions.  To learn more about the Young African Leaders Initiative, please visit

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by IREX.