Video: Fellow Final Thoughts, Aminu Yunusa Yusuf

Author: Luis Ruuska

Aminu Yunusa Yusuf, a participant in the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders at the University of Notre Dame, is a banker from Nigeria who specializes in finance, micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), and job creation. In this video, he discusses some of the most impactful moments from the six-week fellowship, such as the Capsim simulation, growing in his leadership capabilities, and learning about the value of community service in American society. 

Yusuf works in Nigeria’s Bank of Industry (BOI) and has been recognized as the “Best Project Officer” for the northern sector of the country for two years in a row. At BOI, he works with young entrepreneurs by appraising their MSMEs for short- and long-term loans. He has helped over 70 MSMEs access new resources, which has in turn created an estimated 300 jobs. In the future, Yusuf “intends to drive an MSME revolution that would employ millions of youth and ultimately help curb the unemployment issue being faced in Nigeria."

Since 2014, the Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD) has worked closely with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and its implementing partner, IREX, to bring the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), to Notre Dame. The fellowship empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking opportunities.

The program is highly competitive, and the U.S. Department of State received more than 64,000 applications for only 1,000 placements across the country for the 2017 fellowship. Notre Dame’s class of 2017 Mandela Washington Fellows, 11 men and 14 women, came to campus from 20 countries across sub-Saharan Africa.

In 2016, the fellowship staff received a Presidential Team Irish Award for "exemplifying the University of Notre Dame’s core values on behalf of [NDIGD] and the University."

The Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development — an integral part of the new Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame — promotes human development and dignity among people worldwide through applied innovations, impact evaluation, education, and training that help build just and equitable societies.

Contact: Luis Ruuska, communications specialist, Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development,