Mandela Washington Fellowship

IMG_7371a cropped, first group shot (lo res) Wagner College is proud to have been selected as a host institution for the  Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative. The Mandela Washington Fellowship aims to empower young  leaders  from Sub-Saharan through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking opportunities. The Fellowship, which began in 2014, has already engaged 2,000 young leaders from every country in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Through this initiative, young African leaders are gaining the skills and connections they need to accelerate their own career trajectories and contribute more robustly to strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa.  The Mandela Washington Fellowship is a program of the United States Government.  The U.S. components are administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs and supported by IREX, a U.S. non-governmental agency.

From June 16 through July 30, Wagner is hosting 25 competitively selected young Africans Leaders who will participate in a six-week academic institute on Civic Leadership, part of the larger group of 1,000 Mandela Washington Fellows being hosted in 40 programs at 37 colleges and universities across the United States this summer. This 6-week Institute has been designed to mirror Wagner’s Port Richmond Partnership, where Fellows will focus each week on a different pillar that is important to civic life in many communities. After an introduction to Theories of Civic Leadership, Fellows will engage in classroom sessions, site visits, and community service activities focused on Economic Development, Healthcare, Education, and the Environment. During Week 6 of the Institute, Fellows will put their learning into practice, developing grant proposals for their own not-for-profit interests and beginning to develop the means to achieve their goals.   For more information about Wagner College’s Mandela Washington Fellowship program, contact:

  • Ruta Shah-Gordon, Vice President for Internationalization, Intercultural Affairs and Campus Life, 718-420-4254
  • Jason Fitzgerald, Academic Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Education, 718-420-4129


First Lady Michelle Obama's Message for YALI Network Members

Captions available in English, French and Portuguese -- First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama delivers an exclusive message to the YALI Network on staying involved in YALI and working to better their communities and continent. WATCH VIDEO

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, begun in 2014, is the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. The Fellowship provides 500 outstanding young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. higher education institution with support for professional development after they return home. The Fellows, who are between the ages of 25 and 35, have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries. In 2014, Fellows represented all 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Fifty percent of Fellows were women; and for 82 percent of Fellows, it was their first time in the United States. WATCH VIDEO
Video thumbnail 2 First Lady Michelle Obama's Message for YALI Network Members
Video thumbnail 3 The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

Wagner College’s 2015 cohort of the Mandela Washington Fellowship created this chapbook of inspirational poetry:

Click here to download a PDF copy

CLICK HERE to read bios of Wagner College’s 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows.

CLICK HERE to read bios of Wagner College’s 2014 Mandela Washington Fellows.