25 Mandela Washington Fellows Arrive at USD

Mandela Washington Fellows Join USD

Each year, 1,000 emerging African business men and women come to the United States to participate in the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. They visit for a month as part of the flagship Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI). The Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs of the United State Department of State and IREX sponsor the program.

The one thousand students are spread out among 38 colleges and universities across the nation, including the University of San Diego, which welcomed 25 participants. Their ages range from 25-35, and they were each chosen thanks to their established record of accomplishment particularly in promoting innovation and making a positive impact in their organizations, institutions, communities and countries. The goal is to empower this next generation of leaders through opportunities to network, train in leadership and learn through academic coursework.

Tabitha Shikuku—an assistant manager in resource development and external affairs at the Aga Khan Academy, a development institution in Mombasa, Kenya—wrote about her experience in a news story. She said, “I came here as a manager, but getting together with other entrepreneurs, my mind has literally opened because now I have so many ideas for when I go back home. I want to start a mobile business. I want to empower youth. I am learning how to enhance my leadership skills. I want to bring change to my community when I get back.”

Tabitha is just one of 25 Fellows at USD. She and her fellow African leaders will be at the school until July 30th, living on campus and attending a variety of academic and networking sessions, professional development courses, community engagement initiatives, site visits and more. For USD leaders, the largest component of the program is the focus on social entrepreneurship. AT USD each Fellow develops an idea for a social enterprise that they can launch in their own country. They then give a final presentation of their idea during the Fellowship Social Innovation Challenge event and pitch to a team of local judges.

Overall, it’s a six-week program that is scheduled with collaboration between the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, the San Diego Diplomacy Council, USD’s Center for Peace and Commerce and the USD School of Leadership and Education Services.

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