Nebraska to host third cohort of Mandela fellows

Nebraska's 2018 Mandela Washington Fellows pose after planting a tree on campus in honor of Nelson Mandela's birthday.
Nebraska's 2018 Mandela Washington Fellows pose after planting a tree on campus in honor of Nelson Mandela's birthday.

For the third-straight year, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln has been named an institute partner in the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders program.

Beginning in mid-June, the university will host 25 of Africa’s bright, emerging Civic Engagement leaders for a six-week Leadership Institute, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The cohort of Fellows hosted by Nebraska will be part of a group of 700 Mandela Washington Fellows hosted at 27 educational institutions across the United States.

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 supported nearly 3,700 young leaders from 49 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaborations with U.S. professionals.

This summer, all Fellows will receive a letter from President Trump welcoming them to the United States for their program. At the conclusion of their Leadership Institutes, these exceptional young leaders will convene in Washington, D.C., for the sixth annual Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit, where they will take part in networking and panel discussions with each other and with U.S. leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Following the Summit, 70 competitively-selected Fellows will participate in four weeks of professional development at U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies, and government agencies.

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

The project is led by Maegan Stevens-Liska, director of the Office of Global Strategies, and Linda Major, director of the Center for Civic Engagement. The partnership, coupled with assistance from other campus units and faculty, has created a dynamic and engaging program for the visiting fellows.
The program is an extension of Nebraska’s long history of global engagement, which benefits the state, country and world.

Josh Davis, interim associate vice chancellor for international engagement and global strategies, said that being selected as a host institution again this year is a reflection of the growth in the university's global reach and impact.

“We are honored to once again serve as a host for these dynamic, young leaders from across Sub-Saharan Africa,” Davis said. “The energy, passion and global perspective they bring with them enriches our campus community. We are glad to have the opportunity to play this small part in their leadership journey.”

Stevens-Liska said the university is excited to be a Mandela Washington Fellow host for the third time.

“This program offers the university and local community an opportunity to continue building relationships and connect with young leaders from around the world,” she said. “We look forward to learning from our shared experiences and fostering conversations that lead to new ideals and solutions for global concerns.”

Nebraska’s program for the Mandela Washington Fellows will feature academic instruction and practical, hands-on experiences focused on a range of issues, including business, leadership, entrepreneurship, development and human rights, and communications and organizational development. The fellows will also participate in community service and engage with local and state leaders.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by IREX. For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit and join the conversation at #YALI2019.

Read the original article published on Nebraska Today.