Mandela Washington Fellowship returns to Drake University in summer 2022

Drake University is proud to announce its selection as an Institute Partner for the 2022 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Beginning in mid-June, Drake 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. 

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 hosted by Drake will be part of a group of 700 Mandela Washington Fellows hosted at 27 educational institutions across the United States. This is the sixth year Drake has been selected as an Institute Partner.

“It is an honor to be invited to host a Mandela Washington Fellowship Leadership Institute and welcome some of the best and brightest young minds in Africa to Drake,” said Annique Kiel, Drake’s executive director of global engagement and international programs. “Drake is a global university, and responsible global citizenship is a tenet of our mission statement. This program is an example of one of the many ways we are facilitating international partnerships and fostering intercultural understanding, not only on campus but throughout central Iowa.”

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 non-profit sectors. Following the Summit, up to 100 competitively-selected Fellows will participate in four weeks of professional development with U.S. non-governmental 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.

Some highlights of the Drake University program:

  • Fellows will connect with local business, nonprofit and government organizations, and leaders to learn of U.S. best practices and exchange ideas.
  • Fellows will give back to the community through service opportunities supporting nonprofits in the Drake neighborhood and metro.
  • Fellows will engage with rural communities including Manning, Iowa, to learn of best practices in sustainable rural economies.

For additional information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship Leadership Institute at Drake University, contact Lance Noe at

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 and join the conversation at #YALI2022.