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Wagner College has been selected as a host institution for President Obama’s Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative.  The Washington Fellowship will empower young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities and support for activities in their communities.  Beginning in June, 25 competitively selected young Africans will participate in a six-week academic institute on civic leadership at Wagner College, part of the larger group of 500 Washington Fellows being hosted across the United States this summer.


Participants in the Washington Fellowship are young leaders from sub-Saharan Africa who have a proven record of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions or communities.  President Obama announced the Washington Fellowship while visiting South Africa in 2013, emphasizing the importance of Africa’s youth.

“We need young Africans who are standing up and making things happen not only in their own countries but around the world,”  Obama said. “Africa’s future belongs to its young people.”

In July, President Obama will host a summit for the Fellows in Washington D.C.

Wagner College was chosen through a competitive process by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to be one of 20 selected Washington Fellowship host institutions that represent the excellence and diversity of U.S. higher education.  The institute hosts include public and private institutions, historically black colleges & universities and Hispanic-serving institutions, large universities in big cities and small colleges in rural towns located throughout the United States.  Working closely with ECA and its cooperating agency, the International Research & Exchanges Board, host institutions have designed six-week academic programs that will challenge, inspire and empower the Washington Fellows.

The Wagner College program will include:

  • Classroom, community and cultural experiences around issues of education, healthcare, economic development and the environment led by top researchers in those fields
  • Social and cultural exchanges between community leaders, college members and African leaders focusing on collaborative social innovation
  • Experiential studies of the impact of not-for-profit organizations, grant writing and organizational development

For more information, contact:

Ruta Shah-Gordon

Assistant Vice President, Campus Life and Internationalization

718-420-4254 Union 3rd Floor

Oversees all campus life offices.

Dr. Jason Fitzgerald

Assistant Professor and Academic Coordinator for Washington Fellowship Program

718/390-4129 Campus Hall 332

Expertise in social studies education and educational linguistics. Chair of the Education Department.

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