Drake University is proud to announce its selection as an Institute Partner for the 2024 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Beginning in mid-June, Drake University 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. 

“We are thrilled to once again host the Mandela Washington Fellowship as an Institute Partner, welcoming some of the brightest young minds in Africa to Drake,” said Annique Kiel, executive director, global engagement at Drake University. “Global engagement is a core value of Drake University, and we strive to weave intercultural learning into all facets of the Drake experience. YALI has had a transformative impact on the deepening of global perspectives and understanding—not only on Drake’s campus, but in the Des Moines community and beyond.”

Pictured: Mandela Washington Fellows visiting Drake University in June 2023.

In addition to engaging with the Des Moines metro business and entrepreneurial community, the Fellows will spend three days in Manning, Iowa working with city and business leaders learning about small business and community development. The City of Manning frequently serves as a learning community engaging with Drake students through special projects. 

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 tenth anniversary in 2024.  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 Drake University will be part of a group of 700 Mandela Washington Fellows hosted at 28 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. 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.

For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship Leadership Institute at Drake, visit drake.edu/yali.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders 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 #YALI2024.