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Indiana University to host 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

For Immediate Release Mar 12, 2018
A group of Mandela Fellows hold a banner with the program's name and logos for the partners.
IU is hosting Mandela Washington fellows for a third consecutive year.Photo courtesy of the IU Office of the Vice President for International Affairs

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana University has been selected as an Institute Partner for the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Beginning in mid-June, IU will host 25 of Africa’s emerging civic leaders for a six-week academic and leadership institute sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative, empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities and local community engagement. Since 2014, the U.S. Department of State has brought 3,000 young leaders from across sub-Saharan Africa to the United States to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaborations with U.S. professionals.

IU successfully hosted the civic leadership track in 2016 and 2017, led by the university’s Office of International Development. The cohort of fellows hosted by IU will be part of a larger group of 700 Mandela Washington fellows hosted at 27 institutions across the U.S. this summer. These exceptional young leaders will meet at the end of their institutes in Washington, D.C., for the fifth annual 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.

“Bringing their energy and enthusiasm to Bloomington, these young leaders ask pointed questions, challenge our assumptions and in every way make us think more deeply about ourselves,” said David Zaret, IU’s vice president for international affairs. “We learn at least as much from them as they from us.”

Working closely with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and its implementing partner, IREX, host institutions offer academic and leadership programs to challenge, inspire and empower these inspiring young leaders from Africa.

“The last two years, IU and the surrounding community and partners had a fantastic experience and pleasure engaging with dynamic groups of civic leaders from across sub-Saharan Africa,” said Teshome Alemneh, IU associate vice president for international development, who is directing the IU fellows program. “We are thrilled to welcome another cohort of Africa’s brightest to Indiana.”

Fellows will meet with faculty from the IU Bloomington and IUPUI campuses, as well as members of the surrounding communities. The Office of International Development has partnered with the Office of International Affairs at IUPUI, the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, the IU Kelley School of Business, the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs, the IU Institute for Advanced Study, the cities of Bloomington and Indianapolis, Ivy Tech Community College, Cook Medical Inc., Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, Bradford Woods, Habitat for Humanity, Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, Girls & Boys Club of Bloomington and Indianapolis, the Julian Center, and Second Helpings.

“IU’s international connection and opportunities for mutual understanding between the peoples of the U.S. and African countries is further expanded by this program,” Alemneh said. “The engagement will continue to be a mutually beneficial experience, and 2018 promises to be equally exciting and meaningful.”

At the end of the institutes, all of the fellows will gather in Washington, D.C., for the summit; select fellows will also spend six weeks in professional-development training with U.S. nongovernmental organizations, private companies and government agencies.

For additional information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship Institute at Indiana University, contact Teshome Alemneh at

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a program of the U.S. Department of State and is administered by IREX.

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John Schwarb

Senior Communications Specialist/Content Strategist, IUPUI

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