Notre Dame Welcomes Young African Leaders for six-week leadership institute

Author: Kara Kelly

Notre Dame’s President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., welcomed 23 of Africa’s brightest emerging leaders to campus on June 26 for a six-week Leadership Institute sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The cohort hails from 18 African nations and is part of the 2023 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, the flagship program of the U.S. Government’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). The Pulte Institute has been a YALI partner since 2013. 

“As we look to the future, there is no more important place than the continent of Africa,” Fr. Jenkins told the fellows. “Our interaction with you and your membership in the Notre Dame family makes us a more international, global university.”

This summer’s Institute includes opportunities to connect with startup incubators and accelerators, industry leaders, and political figures. The cohort will travel to Detroit to learn about technological trends in the automobile sector at Ford Motor Company and to Chicago to meet with leaders at Amazon, the Chicago Council of Global Affairs, and IBM, where they will participate in a daylong design thinking session.

The fellows will also meet with South Bend change-makers Andrew Wiand, ND ’11, ’12, whose company EnFocus has introduced innovative approaches to catalyze economic development, and Sara Stewart, whose Unity Gardens Inc. exists to provide free, healthy food to people in need while promoting physical health through nutrition.

The program empowers young African leaders through leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities, and community engagement.

Funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and implemented by the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), YALI has supported over 6,000 Mandela Washington fellows since the program’s inception, with the Pulte Institute having hosted over 225 associates over the past 10 years.