Lehigh’s Iacocca Institute Welcomes 25 Mandela Washington Fellows This Summer

Lehigh University is one of the 38 U.S. colleges and universities chosen to host 1,000 Mandela Washington Fellows in summer 2017. Lehigh’s Iacocca Institute was awarded a grant to create and provide a six-week Academic and Leadership Institute in Business and Entrepreneurship for 25 of these accomplished young leaders from a wide range of African countries.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking opportunities. Fellows are from every country in Sub-Saharan Africa and have established records of promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations and communities. These exceptional young leaders will meet at the end of their institutes in Washington, D.C., for the Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit, where they will take part in networking and panel discussions with each other and U.S. leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Following the Summit, 100 competitively selected Fellows will spend six weeks in professional development experiences with U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies, and government agencies.

Working closely with the U.S. Department of State and its implementing partner, IREX, Lehigh’s Iacocca Institute has designed an immersive leadership experience that will challenge, inspire, and empower these amazing young professionals. Their program will include interactive entrepreneurship and design sessions, leadership development and teambuilding, site visits, community service, cultural exchange, and a collaborative consulting project. While on campus, the Fellows will also have the opportunity to work and network with more than 75 young professionals from the Iacocca Institute’s Global Village for Future Leaders program as well as 25 local peer professionals, further enhancing the Fellows’ cross-cultural experience and networking here at Lehigh.

Iacocca Institute Director Kira Mendez is excited about the arrival of the Fellows and Lehigh’s participation in this important program.

“At the Iacocca Institute, we have been bringing young professionals from all over the world to Lehigh for more than 20 years through our intensive summer leadership programs,” she says. “This summer, we are honored to host these 25 incredibly talented Mandela Washington Fellows and deepen Lehigh’s connection to the African continent and its next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs . Now more than ever, we are committed to working together across the globe to empower and inspire young leaders – it is one of the most important things we can do. The Fellows’ engagement on campus and in the community is a tremendous opportunity for cultural exchange and relationships that will benefit the University and the Lehigh Valley for years to come”.

To find out how to get involved and meet the Fellows, and for other questions about the Mandela Washington Fellowship Institute at Lehigh’s Iacocca Institute, please contact Kira Mendez, Iacocca Institute Director, at kmendez@lehigh.edu and visit us at global.lehigh.edu/Iacocca.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African leaders is a U.S. government program funded by the U.S. Department of State and supported in its implementation by IREX. For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit yali.state.gov and join the conversation #YALI2017.