Mandela Washington Fellowship Returns to Notre Dame in June

Author: Kara Kelly

The Pulte Institute for Global Development at the University of Notre is proud to announce its selection as an Institute Partner for the 2024 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Beginning in mid-June, the Pulte Institute will host 25 of Africa’s bright, emerging business 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.

In summer 2023, the Mandela Washington Fellows at the University of Notre Dame took their leadership skills to the next level with six weeks of coaching sessions designed to transform knowledge into impact. The Fellows also experienced Fourth of July celebrations at South Bend’s Four Winds Field and whitewater rafting. This video highlights some of the magic of the 2023 leadership institute.

Established in 2014, the Mandela Washington Fellowship is celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2024. Since its inception, nearly 6,500 young leaders from every country in Sub-Saharan Africa have participated in the Mandela Washington Fellowship. The cohort of Fellows hosted by the University of Notre Dame’s Pulte Institute for Global Development 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 nonprofit 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.

At Notre Dame, Mandela Washington Fellows are connected to the South Bend community through engagements with local businesses and startups, networking events, service projects, and cultural activities. The Fellows also work closely with Notre Dame faculty and staff through academic sessions, workshops, and collaborative projects. Their experience provides them with actionable tools and techniques to attain their goals for their communities, maximize their potential for impact, and become more effective changemakers and leaders in business and beyond.

For additional information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship at Notre Dame’s Pulte Institute, please contact Program Manager Sarah Genz or visit