UW-Madison to host 6-week institute for emerging African leaders

Twenty-five of Africa’s emerging leaders in public management are coming to the University of Wisconsin–Madison in June for a six-week academic and leadership institute, through a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

MandelaFellowsUW–Madison is among 36 universities selected as hosts for the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). The program aims to empower young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities, and support for activities in their communities.

The Mandela Washington Fellows at UW–Madison are among 1,000 fellows coming to institutions across the United States. At the end of their program, all of the fellows will gather in Washington, D.C., for a Presidential Summit.

“These fellows are leaders before they come to the U.S.,” says Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a UW–Madison alumna. “We picked them because they’re leaders, and we want to give them additional tools for leadership.”

The African Studies Program is coordinating the fellows program at UW–Madison, and recently sent representatives to Washington D.C., for a planning session.

“We’re extremely excited for the opportunity to host these fellows,” says Neil Kodesh, director of the African Studies Program and associate professor of history. “We look forward to creating community partnerships and welcome creative input as we plan over the coming months.”

Working closely with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational Affairs and its implementing partner, IREX, UW–Madison has designed an institute with academic programs to challenge, inspire and empower the young African leaders.

The African Studies Program is seeking volunteers to engage with fellows, as well as local organizations interesting in offering tours or other collaborative ventures. To learn more or get involved, contact Meagan Doll at yali@africa.wisc.edu.