February 10, 2016  

Purdue selected to host Mandela fellows from Africa for entrepreneurship program this summer

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University has been selected as a partner with the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders to host 25 of Africa's emerging entrepreneurs for an academic and leadership institute this summer.

Beginning in mid-June, Purdue will host the African business and entrepreneurship leaders for a six-week academic and leadership institute based in Discovery Park, the U.S. Department of State and the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) announced Wednesday (Feb. 10).

The Mandela Washington Fellowship - the flagship program of President Obama's Young African Leaders Initiative launched in 2014 - empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities and support for activities in their communities.

"During their time at Purdue, these bright and motivated entrepreneurs from Africa will learn, through academic coursework and networking, how to turn their knowledge into economic and social value that will enable them to change lives around the world and in their own communities," said Suresh Garimella, Purdue executive vice president for research and partnerships.

"Purdue is excited to partner with the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders program to equip the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders across the globe committed to advancing innovation, growing local economies and creating quality jobs in these sub-Saharan African regions."

While focused on business and entrepreneurship, the Mandela fellows also will delve into the subthemes of engineering and agriculture, which are two major strengths at Purdue, said Nicole Kingma, engagement coordinator for Discovery Park.

Partners at Purdue include the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Purdue Foundry, Purdue Center for Global Food Security, International Programs in Agriculture, Office of Global Engineering Programs and the colleges of Agriculture and Engineering.

Purdue's 2016 class of Mandela fellows, which will be selected and announced this spring, is part of a larger group of 1,000 fellows hosted at U.S. institutions this summer. These young leaders from sub-Saharan Africa have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities and countries.

Purdue is one of 14 U.S. universities serving as hosts for the program's Business and Entrepreneurship Institutes cohort, which caters to Mandela fellows who aspire to become leaders in the private sector or to start their own business ventures in Africa.

The institutes will expose participants to U.S. business and entrepreneurial approaches, including those that address social issues. The program also is designed to help them build technical and leadership capacity in areas such as business strategies, operations and supply-chain management, business ethics, microfinance, marketing and branding, innovation and technology, emerging markets and risk analysis.

While in the United States, the Mandela fellows will meet with President Obama at a town hall during a presidential summit in Washington, D.C. They also will spend six weeks in professional development training with U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies and government agencies.

Working closely with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational Affairs and its implementing partner, IREX, host institutions have designed academic programs that will challenge, inspire, and empower these inspiring young leaders from Africa.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a U.S. government program that is supported by IREX.  For more information about the fellowship program, visit MandelaWashingtonFellowship.state.gov and join the conversation with #YALI2016.

If your organization is interested in interacting with the fellows during their stay in West Lafayette, contact Anne Dare at adare@purdue.edu or Nicole Kingma at kingman@purdue.edu.

Writers: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu

Emily Sigg, 765-494-2083, esigg@purdue.edu 

Sources: Suresh Garimella, 765-494-6209, sureshg@purdue.edu

Nicole Kingma, 765-494-3662, kingman@purdue.edu 

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