Mandela Washington Fellowship at Purdue University Young African Leaders Initiative

Mandela Washington Fellowship at Purdue University

2021 UPDATE:

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, and with the health, safety, and well-being of Fellows and Partners as the highest priority, the U.S. Department of State is planning a virtual Mandela Washington Fellowship for 2021. While remaining in their home countries, Fellows will participate in virtual Leadership Institutes, which will include leadership training, mentoring, and professional development.

IREX, the cooperative agency that implements the Mandela Washington Fellowship, and Purdue University are operating and open globally, and our team members are working virtually. Please contact Gary Burniske at with any additional questions. The Fellowship Team at IREX may be reached at

The Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF), the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking opportunities, and embodies the U.S. commitment to invest in the future of Africa. Purdue’s third cohort of Mandela Washington Fellows will participate in the virtual leadership institute for six weeks between June 21 and July 30, 2021 for intensive executive-style leadership training, networking, community service, and skills building, followed by a Summit.

Through this initiative, young African leaders are gaining the skills and connections they need to accelerate their own career trajectories and contribute more robustly to strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa.

The MWF is designed to encourage and foster the ingenuity, confidence, passion, and commitment of the next generation of African leaders. It offers the Fellows an unparalleled opportunity to meet and share ideas with American leaders: from community organizers to state and local government officials. Through this Initiative, the U.S. will host institutes focused on leadership in public management, leadership in business, and leadership in civic engagement.

At Purdue University, we will host twenty-five of these Fellows for an institute focused on leadership in business, with an emphasis on engineering and agriculture-related innovations and businesses. This Institute is a campus-wide collaboration, led by Discovery Park's Center for Global Food Security in partnership with the Purdue Foundry, Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, International Programs in Agriculture, Office of Global Engineering Programs, and the colleges of Agriculture and Engineering.

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