On July 17, William & Mary will welcome 25 of Africa’s brightest, emerging civic leaders for 15 days of leadership training, public policy seminars and mentorship and collaboration with local faculty and community members. This is the third year that William & Mary and its partners in the Presidential Precinct have been selected as hosts for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.
The Presidential Precinct program has hosted the Mandela Washington Fellows since June, offering leadership training, academic coursework and mentoring in Charlottesville, Orange and Williamsburg. Comprised of two of America’s leading universities and three presidential sites in Virginia, the Presidential Precinct is one of 40 institutes, and the only consortium, to be selected for the fellowship that will bring 1,000 emerging African leaders to the U.S. this year.
"All of us at William & Mary are very proud to be participating in the Mandela Washington Fellows program, along with our partners in the Presidential Precinct, for the third year in a row," said Stephen E. Hanson, vice provost for international affairs and director of the Reves Center for International Studies. "We are truly blessed to have the chance to meet such amazing, dynamic young leaders from across the African continent — and to share ideas about how to forge a better future for Africa and the United States alike."
The fellows, who are between the ages of 21 and 35, have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries. The 2016 fellows attending the civic leadership institute at the Presidential Precinct represent 17 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, and all 49 countries are represented in the fellowship nationwide.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a U.S. government program that is supported in its implementation by IREX. The flagship program of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), the fellowship empowers young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa who have a proven record of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions or communities. The cohort of fellows hosted by Presidential Precinct is part of a larger group of 1,000 Mandela Washington Fellows being hosted across the United States this summer. Select fellows will also receive hands-on experience through six-week placements with U.S. companies, organizations and government agencies.
Following their six-week curriculum, all 1,000 fellows will come together in Washington, D.C. for a three-day Presidential Summit. A select group of 100 fellows will remain in the United States after the Presidential Summit for an eight-week internship experience at a relevant U.S. business, NGO or government agency. Further, the Mandela Washington Fellowship includes robust programming in Africa, including networking opportunities, continued professional development and access to seed funding.
The Presidential Precinct is a consortium among two of America’s premier universities (the University of Virginia and William & Mary), William Short’s Morven and the historic presidential sites of three Founding Fathers: Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, James Madison’s Montpelier and James Monroe’s Highland.
As a physical gathering place for aspiring leaders from emerging democracies, the Presidential Precinct has hosted leaders from over 100 nations, through U.S. Department of State programs including the Mandela Washington Fellowship (YALI), the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP) and events which have been attended by world leaders including His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. Hundreds of distinguished international visitors come to the Presidential Precinct each year to learn about successful nation building.