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Bridgewater State University to Virtually Host 2021 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders logo and BSU logo

BRIDGEWATER, MA – Bridgewater State University is excited to announce its selection as an Institute Partner for the 2021 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Beginning June 21, Bridgewater State University will virtually engage 25 of Africa’s emerging Public Management 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 the African continent. Since 2014, the U.S. Department of State has supported nearly 4,400 young leaders from across 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaboration with U.S. professionals through the Fellowship. The cohort of Fellows hosted by Bridgewater State University will be part of a group of 700 Mandela Washington Fellows hosted by 26 educational institutions across the United States.

As a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and with the health, safety, and well-being of Fellows and Partners as the highest priority, the Fellowship is taking place virtually this year. While remaining in their home countries, Fellows will participate in virtual Leadership Institutes, which will include leadership training, networking, mentoring, and professional development.

After their Leadership Institutes, Fellows will participate in a virtual Summit. Up to 70 competitively- selected Fellows will also participate in six weeks of virtual 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 engage, motivate, and empower young leaders from Africa to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.

“It is an exciting and unique opportunity for BSU to showcase its nimbleness, creativity and technological innovation prowess in this new era of online connectivity to the global world and to Africa to carry on the vision of Nelson Mandela for the Young African Leaders Fellowships,” said Dr. Jibril Solomon, BSU social work professor and institute co-director.

Fellows will continue to gain new visions of how to advocate social justice in their home communities, drawing upon models of creative and inclusive leadership from their peers and the Bridgewater State community.

“We are working assiduously to foster a similar sense of focus and community through a mix of independent work, interactive discussions and collaborative work,” said Dr. Meghan Healy-Clancy, BSU history professor and institute co-director.

The Mandela Washington Fellows will also collaborate and perform community service projects with the YMCA, connecting social justice work in African and American contexts.

“I see this year’s program as a unique opportunity for us as a university to contribute something that was critically important to Nelson Mandela himself and to the African nations’ future: The transforming of the next generation of the continent’s leaders through leadership and education,” Solomon said.

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United States