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Young African Leaders Initiative


In summer 2019, Drake University will host the prestigious Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders for the fourth year in a row. Launched in 2014, the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI)  and embodies the United States’ commitment to invest in the future of Africa. Twenty-five of Africa’s brightest emerging leaders  between the ages of 25 and 35 will spend six weeks learning from Drake faculty and engaging in the Greater Des Moines community June 19–July 28.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities, and support for activities in their communities. Drake’s institute, Pathways to Partnerships, will focus on business and entrepreneurship and cater to fellows aspiring to become leaders in the private sector or to start their own business ventures in Africa. Drake faculty will lead fellows in the development of a personal leadership plan and in-depth entrepreneurial project; the participants will also engage with a number of the University’s corporate and community partners in the Des Moines area.

Fellows are young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa who have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries.

The institute builds on Drake’s strong institutional partnerships in Africa, including with the Makerere University Business School in Uganda, Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, and the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. Learn more about the University’s commitment to internationalization and global engagement on the Drake International website.

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