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VCU hosts Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

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Virginia Commonwealth University is proud to announce that it has been selected as a host institution for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

This flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative and President Barack Obama’s signature effort to invest in the next generation of global leaders is taking place on the VCU campus from Jun. 19 to Aug. 1. Twenty-five of Africa’s brightest emerging leaders in the area of public management will participate in an academic and leadership institute co-sponsored by the VCU Global Education Office and the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.

“The Mandela Washington Fellowship exemplifies our nation’s commitment to help build capacity, overcome challenges and harness emerging opportunities on the continent of Africa,” said R. McKenna Brown, Ph.D., executive director of the Global Education Office. “We are honored to host such a group of prestigious young leaders who are at the forefront of change in their communities.” 

We are honored to host such a group of prestigious young leaders who are at the forefront of change in their communities.

While in Richmond, the fellows will be welcomed at a special reception hosted by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and first lady Dorothy McAuliffe at the Governor’s Mansion on June 30. In addition, the fellows will meet with elected and appointed officials, including U.S. Congressman Dave Brat and former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder. They will also hear from representatives of community organizations such as the Homeward and Tricycle Gardens, as well as participate in a leadership development program through the VCU Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute.

The cohort of fellows hosted by VCU will be part of a larger group of 500 being hosted across the United States this summer. Upon completion of their program, these young leaders will meet with President Obama during a Summit in Washington, D.C. Select fellows will also receive hands-on experience through six-week placements with U.S. companies, organizations and government agencies.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities and support for activities in their communities.  Fellows 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. 

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a U.S. government program that is supported in its implementation by the International Research & Exchanges Board, an international nonprofit organization that provides leadership and innovative programs to improve the quality of education, strengthen independent media and foster pluralistic civil society development.  For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit and join the conversation with #YALI2015. 

Feature image at top: The 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows at VCU received an official welcome during a reception at the VCU Scott House on June 22. 


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