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Purdue University to host 2022 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

Purdue University has been selected as an institute partner for the 2022 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

Beginning in mid-June, Purdue’s International Programs in Agriculture (IPIA) will host 25 of Africa’s 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. Created in 2010, YALI supports participants as they spur economic growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa. 

"Engaging with the Fellows and jointly exploring and overcoming the challenges, particularly for African women, in local innovation and entrepreneurship, has the potential to open great new opportunities to self-build a more sustainable, more equitable and more resilient future for the participants' home countries,” says Christian Butzke, professor of food science. “It is with great pride and anticipation that Purdue can both contribute to and learn from these exchanges."

Since 2014, the U.S. Department of State has supported nearly 5,100 Mandela Washington Fellows from across Sub-Saharan Africa to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaboration with U.S. professionals.  The cohort of Fellows located at Purdue will be part of a group of 700 Mandela Washington Fellows hosted at 27 educational institutions across the United States. 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. 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.

“The Washington Mandela Fellows are high energy and eager to learn how to make their businesses more profitable,” said Gary Burniske, Purdue’s MWF academic director and assistant director for program development in IPIA. “These young women and men are excited about exploring collaborations with the Purdue community and its stakeholders where Africans and Americans can establish cultural and economic ties for their mutual benefit.”

       Some highlights of the Purdue program are:

  • Fellows will connect with local businesses and volunteers through collaborative projects and site visits.
  • Fellows will have the opportunity to give back to the local community through service opportunities being planned at NICHES Land Trust, Food Finders, Habitat for Humanity and TLCH Homeless Services.
  • You can meet the fellows at different events throughout the summer such as Taste of Tippecanoe, Indiana Fiddlers Gathering and Mosey Down Main Street.

“As with previous cohorts of Fellows, we anticipate that many of the participants will be agricultural entrepreneurs. Our engagement, therefore, presents a chance to invest in and shape the future of global agriculture,” said Gerald Shively, associate dean and director of IPIA. “And while the most direct beneficiaries of this outstanding program are the Fellows themselves, the connections they make while they are on campus — especially to academic and business leaders — provide a range of opportunities for future public and private partnerships and collaborations.”

For additional information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship Leadership Institute at Purdue and how you can get involved, please contact Gary Burniske, grburniske@purdue.edu  or visit the Purdue MWF website.

Ready to volunteer with the program? Register today! 

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 mandelawashingtonfellowship.org and join the conversation at #YALI2022.

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