Mandela Washington Fellowship Returns to UGA in Summer 2023

Staff Report

Wednesday, June 21st, 2023

The University of Georgia is proud to announce its selection as an Institute Partner for the 2023 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.  Beginning in mid-June, UGA 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 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.  YALI was created in 2010 and supports young Africans as they spur economic growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.  Since 2014, the U.S. Department of State has supported nearly 5,800 Mandela Washington Fellows from across Sub-Saharan Africa to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaboration with U.S. professionals.  The cohort of Fellows hosted by the University of Georgia will be part of a group of 700 Mandela Washington Fellows hosted at 28 educational institutions across the United States.

After their Leadership Institutes, Fellows will participate in the 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, up to 100 competitively-selected Fellows will participate in four weeks of professional development with 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 implemented by IREX, Leadership Institutes will offer programs that will challenge, motivate, and empower young leaders from Africa to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.

Some of the highlights for the Fellows participating in the University of Georgia’s program will be:

  • Collaborating with local partners on community minded projects in the areas of public health, food security and youth empowerment.

  • Giving back to the community through service opportunities with Extra Special People and UGArden

  • Sharing their culture with the Athens community at the Africa in Athens event at the Georgia Museum of Art.

The 2023 program at the University of Georgia will be delivered through a collaborative effort of the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, the UGA Office of Global Engagement, and the African Studies Institute at Franklin College. 

For additional information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship Leadership Institute at the University of Georgia, please contact Brian Watkins at To learn more about the Mandela Washington Fellows at the University of Georgia, visit our website at