Dartmouth's 2018 Mandela Washington Fellows

June 18, 2018 – Dartmouth College, for the fifth consecutive year, is pleased to host the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, the flagship program Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) created by former President Barack Obama. Dartmouth will welcome 25 accomplished business leaders and entrepreneurs from 20 African countries, for a six-week long academic and leadership in business and entrepreneurship program from June 20th to July 29th.

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 24 and 36 and have a proven record of achievement in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions and communities. The cohort hosted by Dartmouth is part of a larger group of 700 Mandela Washington Fellows to be hosted across the United States this summer. These notable leaders will also take part in a Summit in Washington, D.C. from July 30th through August 2nd.  Some Fellows also will participate in a six-week professional development experience with U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies, and government agencies relating to their professional interest 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 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. The Dickey Center for International Understanding oversees coordination of the institute with numerous campus partners. Academic sessions are led by Thayer School of Engineering lecturer Eugene Korsunskiy, Dickey Center Entrepreneurship & Innovation Director Rich Nadworny and Dartmouth Computer Science Professor Lorie Loeb. The Leadership sessions of the institute are coordinated by Vincent Mack of the Tuck School of Business. The teambuilding programs are run by Brian Kunz and Lindsay Putnam of the Outdoor Programs Office. And the Center for Social Impact helps coordinate the community service program. The institute employs a creative and comprehensive combination of traditional lectures, workshops, group-based projects assignments and community engagements. The institute aims to foster personal connections for creative and socially responsible entrepreneurship, enhance personal leadership and communication skills, and expand the impact these leaders can make in their home communities and global networks.

Highlights from Dartmouth’s 2018 Mandela Washington Fellows cohort include:

  • Twenty-five individuals (13 women and 12 men) from 20 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa (Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Senegal, Ethiopia, Sao Tome & Principe, Rwanda, Madagascar, Kenya, Nigeria, Botswana, Lesotho, Sudan, Swaziland, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Namibia, Equatorial Guinea, and South Sudan). See their bios here
  • Innovation seekers working to develop urban and rural communities by providing access to information in local languages, technology for sustainable agriculture, and supporting communities through employment and teaching about healthy food consumption.
  • Advocates for female equality and business leaders working to empower young girls and women through coaching and mentorship.
  • Art professionals including photographers, filmmakers, disc jockeys, a cosmetologist, creative designers and fashion designers looking to focus their talents on community development, preservation of local culture, youth education, and resource access.
  • Marketing and communications experts advocating for fair treatment and advancement of artists and supporting underprivileged youth in education and career development.
  • Small business advisors and consultants aiming to increase local jobs and to help businesses grow to scale.
  • Ecotourist and travel enthusiasts working to promote peace and conflict resolution through community development initiatives.

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 SPARK Community Center, the Upper Valley Haven, Willing Hands, and LISTEN Community Services.
  • An American social and cultural homestay weekend with families across the Upper Valley, culminating in a potluck dinner and contra dance with local musicians.
  • Weekly networking lunches with peer collaborators working in areas of shared interests.
  • Participation in a wide range of outdoor activities including canoeing, hiking and a trip to Dartmouth’s Mooselike Ravine Lodge.
  • Weekly business site visits to some of New England’s most innovative companies such as: the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies, Timberland, Ben & Jerry’s and King Arthur Flour.


The YALI Business & Entrepreneurship Institute at Dartmouth is a collaboration of the following departments: The John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, the Thayer School of Engineering, the Tuck School of Business, the Outdoor Programs Office, the Center for Social Impact, and the Office of Conferences & Events. Visit www.dickey.dartmouth.edu/yali for more information on the program. 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 https://yali.state.gov/MWF/