Mandela Fellowship

March 22, 2017

Purdue University to host 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship for young African leaders

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University has been selected as an institute partner for the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Beginning in mid-June, the university will host 25 emerging business and entrepreneurship African 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 (YALI), empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training and networking opportunities. Fellows are from every country in Sub-Saharan Africa and have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations and communities. The fellows hosted by Purdue will be part of a larger group of 1,000 Mandela Washington Fellows studying at institutions across the United States this summer. Fellows will meet at the end of their institutes in Washington, D.C., for the Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit, where they will take part in networking and panel discussions with each other and U.S. leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Following the summit, 100 competitively-selected fellows will spend six weeks in professional development experiences with U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies and government agencies.

Working closely with the U.S. Department of State and its implementing partner, IREX, Institute Partners have designed programs that will challenge, inspire and empower these young leaders from Africa.

Purdue has designed a unique institute that capitalizes on its strengths as a land-grant institution with a focus on agriculture, engineering, and business and entrepreneurship. The core of Purdue’s program will be LaunchBox - a trademarked program created by the Purdue Foundry to help inventors/founders develop a business idea by exploring potential markets, customers and financial models. The 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship at Purdue will be a partnership with Purdue’s Discovery Park and key involvement of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships; Krannert School of Management; Office of Engagement; College of Agriculture; and College of Engineering.

In addition to the aforementioned contributors, the institute is made possible through contributions of time and talent from the local community and generous donations of local businesses. Individuals from the greater Lafayette community who are interested in an opportunity to showcase their business, share their experiences and build international relationships are encouraged to apply to serve as peer collaborators. Peer collaborators should be willing to contribute a minimum of one hour per week between June 19 and July 28 to connect and engage with the fellows. If you are interested in becoming a peer collaborator, hosting an event, or being a co-sponsor of the Institute, please contact or for more information visit

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a U.S. government program funded by the U.S. Department of State and supported in its implementation by IREX.  For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit and join the conversation at #YALI2017. 

Contact Information:

Marcia Croft, Academic Director. Email:

Maria Khlebnikova, Administrative Director. Email: