Video: Fellow Final Thoughts, Florentine Nzisabira

Author: Luis Ruuska

Florentine Nzisabira, a participant in the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders at the University of Notre Dame, is an educator and entrepreneur from Burundi who specializes in English as a second language (ESL) education, women’s empowerment, and rural development. In this video, she discusses some of the most impactful moments from the six-week fellowship, such as the human-centered design courses taught by Invanti's Maria Gibbs and Dustin Mix, and how her preconceptions of the United States were changed. 

Nzisabira is the founder and director of English Hub, an enterprise that aims to equip Burundians to use English effectively for career development purposes through training, educational events, and games. She also is the author of the textbook “English Intellect for the Intermediate Level.” In addition to its core purpose of teaching English, the textbook also features a diverse range of topics designed to fuel relevant discussions among African readers, such as women’s empowerment, education, the spirit of Ubuntu, sustainable development goals, and environmental degradation.

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,