June 10, 2016

Purdue Mandela Fellows announced; entrepreneurs from 17 African countries at Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The U.S. Department of State and the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) has announced the 25 emerging entrepreneurs Purdue University will host from June 17 to July 31 as part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

The fellows hail from 17 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, and their established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities and countries were cited in their selection.

The fellows’ interests span engineering, agribusiness, economics, information technology, accounting, sales, farming and education. A list of the Purdue Mandela Fellows with biographies and photos is available at http://www.purdue.edu/mandela-fellowship/fellows.

Purdue is one of 36 U.S. universities partnering with the fellowship program, designed to accelerate fellows’ career trajectories and enable them to contribute more robustly to strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa, said Anne Dare, postdoctoral associate at the Office of Global Engineering Programs, who is the academic director for the institute.

While at Purdue the fellows will participate in a six-week academic and leadership institute based in Discovery Park. The institute will focus on business and entrepreneurship, with a special focus on engineering and agricultural topics.

“Leveraging Purdue’s strengths and experiences in engineering and agriculture should be especially pertinent to the Fellows considering the important role that agriculture plays in African economies and the opportunities engineering innovation presents for promoting sustainable economic development across the continent,” Dare said.  

Public events for the Purdue and greater Lafayette communities to engage with the fellows include:

* June 24 - A welcome reception and networking event for the fellows from 6-8 p.m. at MatchBOX Co-Working Studio. Local business owners and entrepreneurs, Purdue faculty and staff, and the community are invited to attend. Tony Roswarski, mayor of Lafayette, and John Dennis, mayor of West Lafayette will speak at the event. Register here.

* June 28 - Coffee with the fellows from 9-10 a.m. at the Burton D. Morgan café. Prospective peer collaborators and the community may meet with the fellows for an informal coffee hour. Register here.

In addition, the program is seeking peer collaborators from the greater Lafayette community who share similar professional interests and are leaders in their area of specialization. More information is available here.

Organizers are also seeking volunteers to help provide hospitality and assist with logistics during the fellows’ stay at Purdue and to host a meal or gathering for two or three fellows during their stay. More information is available here. Those interested in hosting a meal or gathering should contact friendship@purdue.edu .

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.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship Institute at Purdue University is a campus-wide collaboration, co-sponsored by Discovery Park’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and Center for Global Food Security and the Colleges of Engineering and Agriculture, and with support from the Krannert School of Management and the Office of Corporate and Global Partnerships.

Purdue's 2016 class of Mandela fellows is part of a larger group of 1,000 fellows hosted at U.S. institutions this summer.

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.

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

For more information about the fellowship program, visit MandelaWashingtonFellowship.state.gov and join the conversation with #YALI2016. 

Writer: Elizabeth K. Gardner, 765-494-2081, ekgardner@purdue.edu 

Sources: Anne Dare, 765-494-2288, adare@purdue.edu

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

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