Mandela Washington Fellowship


Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

The Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF) is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and embodies the U.S. commitment to invest in the future of Africa. Through this initiative, young African leaders are gaining the skills and connections they need to accelerate their career and contribute more robustly to strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa. Washington Mandela Fellows are men and women between 25 and 35, who have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their respective organizations.

fellows and cake

For the second summer, the Center for African Studies and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs co-hosted a six week Public Management Institute for 25 Mandela Washington Fellows. Twenty-five Fellows came to OSU from 17 different countries, including Burkina Faso, Botswana, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Senegal, South Africa, Somalia, and Zambia. The fifteen women and ten men come from a wide variety of backgrounds, with experience in public, private, and non-profit work. Many worked in health disciplines, both clinical and public health in focus, and including specializations in infectious and chronic disease, oncology, neurosurgery, reproductive health, pharmacy, and health care access and delivery systems. Others were engaged in agriculture and food security, in animal husbandry, crop production, extension services and humanitarian assistance. Still others championed human rights for women and LGBT communities, and empowerment through entrepreneurship and economic development. All had established commitments to community development, particularly mentorship for youth and women.

OSU was proud to serve as a landing site for these impressive individuals. The impact of their interactions with hundreds of academics, professionals, OSU students, youth, civic leaders, and community members of all sorts cannot be overstated. The 49 campus and community presenters, 26 peer collaborators, 4 community service sites, 68 volunteers and 50 individuals serving as liaisons were just the most visible people Fellows interacted with. Our campus continued to deliver a wealth of research and professional resources to Fellows, while the Columbus and Central Ohio community exposed them to a broad cross section of American society. Fellows networked with peer collaborators and other professionals, volunteered at the Community Shelter Board, Boys & Girls Clubs, and other sites, engaged in academic sessions on leadership and public management, and developed their policy development skills using System Dynamics software. They immersed themselves into local culture, spending a weekend with host families, attending many social, sport, and recreational events. Each Fellow also developed an “Ignite Talk” to describe the experience and passion that brought them into the program. More details, photos and social media links about their experience can be seen here, as well as recordings of their Ignite Talks.