Agriculture News

February 23, 2024

Purdue University to host 2024 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University’s College of Agriculture is proud to announce its selection as an institute partner for the 2024 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Beginning in mid-June, Purdue will host 25 of Africa’s bright, emerging business leaders for a six-week 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, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities and local community engagement. YALI was created in 2010 and supports young Africans as they spur economic growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.

Established in 2014, the Mandela Washington Fellowship is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2024, and this will be Purdue’s sixth summer hosting.

“This program brings tremendous value not only to the cohort of fellows from across Africa but also to those within our College of Agriculture and beyond who engage with these dynamic individuals during their time in West Lafayette,” said Bernie Engel, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture. “We look forward to hosting the 2024 fellows and helping them build their entrepreneurial and technical skill sets to support their efforts when they return to their home countries.”

Since its inception, nearly 6,500 young leaders from every country in sub-Saharan Africa have participated in the Mandela Washington Fellowship. The cohort of fellows hosted by Purdue will be part of a group of 700 Mandela Washington Fellows hosted at 28 educational institutions across the United States.

Funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and implemented by IREX, leadership institutes will offer programs that will challenge, motivate and empower young leaders from Africa to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.

Some highlights of the Purdue program include:

After their leadership institutes, fellows will participate in the 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. Following the summit, up to 100 competitively selected fellows will participate in four weeks of professional development with U.S. nongovernmental organizations, private companies and government agencies.

“The spirit of social entrepreneurship that drives the fellows and that is fostered through their visit and now lifelong connection to Purdue will have a pronounced impact on the prosperity of rural communities across the African continent,” said Christian Butzke, professor of food science.

For additional information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship Leadership Institute at Purdue, and how you can get involved, please contact Gary Burniske at, or visit Purdue’s website at You can also register today to volunteer with the program.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a public research institution demonstrating excellence at scale. Ranked among top 10 public universities and with two colleges in the top four in the United States, Purdue discovers and disseminates knowledge with a quality and at a scale second to none. More than 105,000 students study at Purdue across modalities and locations, including nearly 50,000 in person on the West Lafayette campus. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue’s main campus has frozen tuition 13 years in a row. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap — including its first comprehensive urban campus in Indianapolis, the new Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, and Purdue Computes — at

About the Mandela Washington Fellowship

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is a program of the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. government and administered by IREX. For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit

Writer/Media contact: Nyssa Lilovich, 

Source: Gary Burniske, 

Agricultural Communications: 765-494-8415;

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