Mandela Washington Fellowship returns in summer 2022

Author: Cory Hankins

The University of Notre Dame this week welcomed 25 fellows in the 2022 cohort of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. The Pulte Institute for Global Development, part of the Keough School of Global Affairs, will host these fellows for a six-week Leadership Institute, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

These fellows are talented entrepreneurs and business leaders from 17 different countries, who bring with them a wide array of expertise including specializations in STEM education, robotics, gender equity, youth empowerment and financial literacy.

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. YALI was created in 2010 and supports young Africans as they spur economic growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance and enhance peace and security across Africa. Since 2014, the U.S. Department of State has supported nearly 5,100 Mandela Washington Fellows from across Africa to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaboration with U.S. professionals. The cohort of fellows hosted by Notre Dame will be part of a group of 700 Mandela Washington Fellows hosted at 27 educational institutions across the U.S.

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After their Leadership Institutes, fellows will participate in the 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 nonprofit sectors. Following the summit, up to 100 competitively selected fellows will participate in four weeks of professional development with U.S. nongovernmental organizations, private companies and government agencies.

Funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and implemented by IREX, Leadership Institutes will offer programs that will challenge, motivate and empower young leaders from Africa to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.

The Notre Dame program will give fellows the opportunity to connect with the South Bend community, including:

  • Local businesses, entrepreneurs and community leaders through site visits, networking opportunities and community service projects;
  • Local residents through fun cultural activities like a hospitality night, a South Bend Cubs baseball game and East Race whitewater rafting.
  • Community organizations, such as Unity Gardens, the Food Bank of Northern Indiana and Habitat for Humanity, through service projects.

For additional information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship Leadership Institute at the University of Notre Dame — or to host a fellow for a hospitality night — contact Jennifer Krauser at or visit

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is a program of the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. government and administered by IREX. For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit and join the conversation at #YALI2022.

Originally published by Cory Hankins at on June 14.