FIU to host President Obama’s Mandela Washington Fellowship


This summer 1,000 African leaders and entrepreneurs will travel to the U.S. as part of the Department of State’s Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders (YALI). Twenty five of those will live at FIU for six weeks attending an academic and leadership institute focused on public management. This is the third cohort of African Leaders to visit FIU.

“We provide our fellows with a robust and diverse curriculum developed by FIU’s Metropolitan Center to help them hone their public management skills,” said Susan Webster, who oversees the program and serves as director of Training and International Research Initiatives unit in FIU’s Office of Research and Economic Development. “Being selected as host site for a third year in a row and again as the only site in Florida is a great honor and it demonstrates that we are adding value to the Fellow’s experience.”

The programs draw from each university’s unique set of expertise and resources. Academic study is augmented by workshops, mentorship, and networking opportunities with recognized leaders in each field and interaction with people in the U.S. Each academic host institute will also offer insights into American society through site visits, community service, and cultural programming.

At FIU, the young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa, will be connected with peer collaborators — young leaders in Miami that have been identified through various sources. As part of their training at FIU, the fellows will participate in site visits to various agencies in Miami-Dade County. Institute faculty will be drawn from a variety of areas including the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs, the School of Environment, Arts and Society, and the African and African Diaspora Studies Program.  The Institute training will be developed by FIU’s Metropolitan Center. Mandela Washington Fellows will also participate in leadership training, community service projects and local cultural events. After participating six weeks at FIU, the Fellows will fly to Washington D.C. to participate in a Presidential Summit.

In addition to the work at the sites, a select group of 100 Fellows will remain in the United States for an additional six weeks after their Academic and Leadership Institute and the Presidential Summit to participate in a Professional Development Experience in the public, private, or non-profit sector with organizations throughout the United States. The Mandela Washington Fellowship also includes robust programming in Africa, including internships on the continent, mentorships, access to seed funding, networking, and other professional development opportunities.

“Our hope is…is that 10, 15, 20 years from now, when you’ve all gone on to be ministers in government, or leaders in business, or pioneers of social change, that you’ll still be connecting with each other, that you’ll still be learning from each other, and that together, you’ll be reaching back and helping the next generation…That’s my hope for you,” said President Obama to the 2015 fellows.

For more information on partnering with the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), please visit