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Mandela Fellows

Drexel LeBow Selected to Host Mandela Fellows Again in 2018

March 05, 2018

Drexel University has been selected as an Institute Partner for the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders for a second year. Last year’s cohort proved to be an inspiring group who came together to share their experiences as young leaders in their home countries and build on their strengths through coursework at Drexel.

Beginning in mid-June, Drexel LeBow will once again host 25 of Africa’s bright, emerging Civic Leadership Fellows for a six-week Academic and Leadership Institute, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The program is sponsored by a partnership between the Institute for Strategic Leadership (ISL) in the LeBow College of Business and the Office of International Programs.

“In 2017, this program provided a unique leadership development opportunity for the Fellows and some of the most meaningful global engagement opportunities our faculty, staff and students have ever had,” says ISL Executive Director Alison Young. “We look forward to building on that success with our new cohort of Fellows.”

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. Since 2014, the U.S. Department of State has brought 3,000 young leaders from across Sub-Saharan Africa to the United States to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaborations with U.S. professionals.

With only 27 institutions awarded grants for 2018, Drexel is proud to be the only university in Pennsylvania to be chosen for the fellowship. The 25 Fellows hosted by Drexel will be part of a larger group of 700 Mandela Washington Fellows hosted across the United States this summer. These exceptional young leaders will meet at the end of their Institutes in Washington, D.C. for the fifth annual Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit, where they will take part in networking and panel discussions with each other and U.S. leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Following the Summit, 100 Fellows will participate in six weeks of professional development training at U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies, and government agencies.

Working closely with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and its implementing partner, IREX, host institutions will offer academic and leadership programs that will challenge, inspire and empower these inspiring young leaders from Africa.

For additional information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship Institute at Drexel, please contact Alison Young ( or Adam Zahn ( The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a program of the U.S. Department of State and administered by IREX. For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit and join the conversation at #YALI2018.

For those wishing to attend an information session on how you can contribute to the Mandela Washington Fellowship program at Drexel, or for those with ideas for events and programs, please fill out the Qualtrics survey.

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