Rutgers University to Virtually Host 2021 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

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Thursday, April 22nd

Rutgers University is proud to announce its selection as an Institute Partner for the 2021 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Beginning June 21, Rutgers University will virtually engage two cohorts of 50 of Africa’s bright, emerging leaders for two six-week Leadership Institutes, 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. 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 the African continent. Since 2014, the U.S. Department of State has supported nearly 4,400 young leaders from across 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaboration with U.S. professionals through the Fellowship. The cohort of Fellows hosted by Rutgers University will be part of a group of 700 Mandela Washington Fellows hosted by 26 educational institutions across the United States.

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and with the health, safety, and well-being of Fellows and Partners as the highest priority, the U.S. Department of State is planning a virtual Fellowship for 2021. While remaining in their home countries, Fellows will participate in virtual Leadership Institutes, which will include leadership training, networking, mentoring, and professional development.

After their Leadership Institutes, Fellows will participate in a virtual Summit. Up to 70 competitively-selected Fellows will also participate in six weeks of virtual 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 engage, motivate, and empower young leaders from Africa to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.

Some highlights of the Rutgers program will include:
•    Fellows will connect with local partners through virtual site visits and collaborative projects 
•    There will be an opportunity to interact with the Fellows at a virtual networking event

Details will be shared with the community closer to the start of the virtual program. For additional information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship Leadership Institute implemented by Rutgers, please visit this webpage. If you are interested in becoming a mentor or collaborator for this year's Fellows, please contact, Greg Costalas at

The Mandela Washington Fellowship 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 and join the conversation at #YALI2021.