Dartmouth to Host Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

Media contact: Amy Olson | 603-646-3274

HANOVER, N.H. – June 9, 2016 – As one of the academic hosts to the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, the center of President Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI), Dartmouth will welcome 25 of Africa’s brightest emerging business leaders and entrepreneurs for a six-week academic and leadership institute in business and entrepreneurship, from June 19 to July 31. This is the third year Dartmouth will host a cohort of Mandela Washington Fellows. 

The Mandela Washington Fellowship empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities and support for activities after they return home. Fellows are between the ages of 25 and 35, and have a proven record of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions and communities. The cohort of Fellows hosted by Dartmouth is part of a larger group of 1,000 Mandela Washington Fellows to be hosted across the United States this summer. These exceptional leaders will also participate in a Presidential Summit in Washington, D.C., featuring a townhall with President Obama. Select Fellows will also obtain six-week professional development experience with U.S. non-government organizations, private companies and government agencies relating to their professional interests and goals.

Working closely with the Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs and its implementing partner, IREX, Dartmouth has designed academic programs to challenge, inspire and empower these young entrepreneurs, artists and innovators. 

The Mandela Washington Fellowship at Dartmouth focuses on business and entrepreneurship ⎯ specifically, design-driven entrepreneurship, which combines social impact and ethical practices into a cohesive, innovative business plan and execution. Academic sessions led by Thayer School of Engineering Professor Peter Robbie and Dartmouth alumni entrepreneur, Richard Nadworny ’82. The Institute employs a creative and comprehensive combination of traditional lectures, workshops, group-based project assignments and community engagement. The Institute aims to foster personal connections for creative and socially responsible entrepreneurship, enhance personal leadership and communication skills, and expand the impact these young leaders can make in their home communities.

Highlights from Dartmouth’s 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows cohort include:

  • Twenty-five individuals from 17 countries across sub-Saharan Africa (Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa, the United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe);
  • Entrepreneurs, corporate social investors and marketing specialists working to utilize social media to expand sustainable business practices;
  • Youth education and empowerment change-makers working to develop social enterprises that combine art and business in order to encourage youth entrepreneurial innovation;
  • Software engineers, data specialists and brand strategists working to create responsible technology and marketing campaigns; 
  • An organizational psychologist and female business leaders working to empower young girls and women through counseling, mentorship and grant access; 
  • An agronomist working to cultivate sustainable and organic agriculture systems; and
  • Arts professionals including: hip-hop, visual and performance artists; dancers; fashion designers; and young creatives; focusing their unique talents on youth arts education, empowerment and resource access. 

As part of the program, Fellows will also experience the rich social and cultural life of the Upper Valley through community engagement events such as: 

  • Weekly service projects with the AVA Gallery and Art Center, COVER Home Repair & Re-Store, Kendal at Hanover, LISTEN Community Services, the Upper Valley Haven and Willing Hands
  • An American cultural homestay weekend with families across the Upper Valley, culminating in a shared dinner and contra dance with local musicians
  • One-to-one matches of Fellows with local peer collaborators working in areas of shared interest
  • Weekly “Cultural Connections” where Fellows will have the chance to give presentations on their home countries, communities and business ventures
  • Participation in a wide range of outdoor activities including canoeing, hiking and a trip to Dartmouth’s Moosilauke Ravine Lodge
  • Weekly business site visits to some of New England’s most innovative companies such as: Generator, Maker Space, Ben & Jerry’s, King Arthur Flour, and Timberland

The YALI Business & Entrepreneurship Institute at Dartmouth is a collaboration of the following departments: The Dickey Center for International Understanding, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences, the Dartmouth Center for Service, the Thayer School of Engineering, the Outdoor Programs Office, and the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network (DEN).

Visit the Dickey Center's YALI page for more information on the program, or contact Alexander Lopez, 
Communications Program Assistant for Dartmouth's 
YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship Program
. For an infographic on Dartmouth's Mandela Washington Fellows click here. This infographic now hangs in the Russo Gallery in the Haldeman Center along with the flags of the seventeen countries represented by our Fellows with short bios for each Fellow.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a U.S. government program that is supported in its implementation by IREX.  For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit the State Department's YALI page and join the conversation with the hashtag #YALI2016.