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Rutgers Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs

Mandela Washington Fellowship

MWF logo State DeptThe Mandela Washington Fellowship—a flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI)—empowers young African change makers and leaders through academic and hands-on training and networking.

Since 2014, fellows from sub-Saharan Africa who have desired to serve the public through NGOs, community-based organizations, public administration, or as entrepreneurs have participated in the Mandela Washington Fellowship. Fellows are picked to represent their countries through a highly competitive application process and participate in the program at American universities chosen by the U.S. Department of State.

Since the program’s inception, Rutgers has operated a six-week civic leadership institute for 25 fellows each summer.  In 2016, Rutgers was honored to host an additional cohort of 25 fellows to take part in a business and entrepreneurship institute.

Both the civic leadership and business and entrepreneurship institutes will continue to operate in 2017; Rutgers will be one of only two universities nationwide to accommodate more than one institute and will be the only school in New Jersey selected to take part in the program.  
For the summer 2017 program, the GAIA Centers are coordinating efforts to manage each institute. The curriculum for the civic leadership institute is developed through a partnership between the GAIA Centers, the School of Social Work, and the Center for African Studies, while the curriculum for the sustainable business institute is developed through a partnership between the GAIA Centers, the Rutgers Business School, and the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is a U.S. government program that is supported by IREX.  For more information, visit

Bios of the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows: Civic Leadership Institute
Bios of the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows: Sustainable Business Institute
Past Mandela Washington Fellows: Where Are They Now?
2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship News Release

Greg Costalas
Senior Program Coordinator, Center for Global Programs and Relations










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