Professional Development Experience information for host organizations

Professional Development Experience information for host organizations


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 six-week Professional Development Experience (PDE). This collaborative international exchange, which will take place from August to September, will allow you and your colleagues to host a young African professional in your workplace. Mandela Washington Fellows are motivated to take their careers to the next level and bring fresh knowledge and unique global perspectives to American workplaces.

Mandela Washington Fellows have several years of experience in a variety of sectors and have brought a great deal of value to their Host Organizations. The Fellows are established leaders in their communities who are poised to make an immediate impact when they return to Africa. 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.

Professional Development Experiences have shown that they are mutually beneficial for both the Fellow and the Host Organization. Here are just a couple examples of how the PDE 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, WA and refinery equipment she purchased from U.S. small business Diamond Custom Machines (DCM) in NJ, 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, AZ. 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 mirrors Ability360’s MaxInMotion Youth Adaptive Sports Clinics, and has 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.

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  • Benefit from having an African professional contribute to your organization with all expenses covered by the Fellowship.
  • Have direct involvement in selecting a Fellow that is well suited for your needs and interests.
  • Develop your employees’ professional capacities by mentoring, supervising, or working with leaders 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 in to other opportunities offered by the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, including Reciprocal Exchanges offered to American professionals.

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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 Professional Development Experiences and how they will benefit you and your colleagues? Please contact the Mandela Washington Fellowship Team at

2017 Professional Development Experience Hosts

  • Ability360
  • Alameda County Family Justice Center
  • American Pharmacists' Association
  • Atlas Corps
  • BiTH Energy
  • California Energy Commission
  • Charter High School for Architecture and Design
  • City of Atlanta, GA
  • City of Cincinnati, OH
  • City of Dayton, OH
  • City of Philadelphia, PA
  • City of Phoenix, AZ
  • City of Seattle, WA
  • Comcast
  • Community Living & Support Services
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations
  • Creative Associates
  • Deloitte
  • District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund
  • DLR Group
  • El Pomar Foundation
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Experience Columbus
  • Franklin County, OH
  • Gallaudet University
  • Girl Scouts
  • Global Entrepreneurship Network
  • Grameen Foundation
  • Hennepin County, MN
  • Hip Hop for Change
  • Holtman's Donuts
  • International Republican Institute
  • International Youth Foundation
  • Juvenile Law Center
  • Kromatic
  • La Soupe
  • Management Leadership for Tomorrow
  • Maricopa County, AZ
  • Maternity Care Coalition
  • Montgomery County, OH
  • Mortar
  • NASA
  • National Association of the Deaf
  • National Democratic Institute
  • National Endowment for Democracy
  • Nationwide Children's Hospital
  • Office of U.S. Senator Vincent Hughes
  • Office of U.S. Senator Chris Coons
  • Ohio State University Extension
  • OkayAfrica
  • Partnership Against Domestic Violence
  • Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Premise
  • Prince George's County, MD
  • Project C.U.R.E.
  • Public Health Management Corporation
  • Radiant Earth
  • Resource Exchange
  • Rotary International
  • SeedSpot
  • Sheladia Associates
  • Smithsonian Institute
  • Techstars Chicago
  • The Brookings Institution
  • The Food Trust
  • United Way of Central Ohio
  • University of Minnesota
  • U.S. Agency for International Development
  • U.S. Department of Transportation
  • Us Helping Us
  • U.S. Institute of Peace
  • U.S. Peace Corps
  • USDA Rural Development
  • USGBC Colorado
  • Voice of America
  • Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives
  • White Ribbon Alliance
  • Women Against Abuse
  • Women's Campaign International
  • Women's Global Leadership Program @ CSIS
  • YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh


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 a program of the U.S. Department of State and is supported in its implementation by IREX.