Drake University is proud to announce its selection as an Institute Partner for the 2023 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. This is the seventh year Drake has been selected as an Institute Partner.

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 5,800 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 University will be part of a group of 700 Mandela Washington Fellows hosted at 28 educational institutions across the United States.

The 2022 Mandela Washington Fellowship Drake Institute cohort at a farewell reception in July 2022.

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. 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.

“We are thrilled to once again welcome some of the brightest young minds in Africa to Drake,” said Drake University President Marty Martin. “Global and intercultural learning is woven into the fabric of our institution, and hosting the Mandela Washington Fellowship as an Institute Partner is one of the many ways Drake is facilitating international partnerships and fostering intercultural understanding, not only on campus but throughout the world.”

Fellows participating in the six-week leadership institute at Drake will have the opportunity to:

  • connect with the campus community through sessions that draw on academic and administrative expertise across Drake’s seven colleges and schools.
  • give back to the Des Moines community in partnership with local volunteers through service activities at Meals from the Heartland and the Genesis Youth Foundation.
  • network and collaborate with business leaders across multiple sectors including agriculture and public health.

For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship Leadership Institute at Drake, contact Hannah Sappenfield at hannah.sappenfield@drake.edu or visit drake.edu/yali.

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 #YALI2023.