Lehigh University has been selected as an Institute Partner for the 2019 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Running June 19 through July 28, Lehigh’s Iacocca Institute will host 25 bright, emerging leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa for a six-week Leadership in Business Institute, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities, and local community engagement. Since 2014, the U.S. Department of State has supported nearly 3,700 young leaders from 49 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaborations with U.S. professionals. This extremely competitive Fellowship received 38,000 applications to the 2019 Fellowship for only 700 Fellowship positions, a less than 2% acceptance rate. This is the second time Lehigh has hosted a Mandela Washington Fellows cohort—the Iacocca Institute was also chosen to participate in the 2017 program, hosting young leaders from 16 Sub-Saharan countries. Since then, our 2017 Fellows have become a vibrant part of Lehigh’s network across the African continent.

“Lehigh University has a commitment to developing strong relationships and partnerships in Africa”, said Iacocca Institute Director, Kira Mendez. “We are delighted to host and work with these young leaders as they join our campus community and engage with others throughout the Lehigh Valley. Our summer together will generate potential opportunities and impact for years to come.”

This year, the cohort of Fellows hosted by Lehigh will be part of a group of 700 Mandela Washington Fellows hosted at 27 educational institutions across the United States. At the conclusion of their Leadership Institutes, these exceptional young leaders will convene in Washington, D.C., for the sixth annual Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit, where they will take part in networking and panel discussions with each other and with U.S. leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Following the Summit, 70 competitively-selected Fellows will participate in four weeks of professional development at U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies, and government agencies.

Funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and working closely with its implementing partner, IREX, host institutions will offer leadership programs that will challenge, motivate, and empower these inspiring young leaders from Africa.

The 2019 Leadership in Business Institute at Lehigh will feature an immersive, hands-on curriculum that will provide a deep look into American business, entrepreneurship and culture. This will include academic sessions and workshops with Lehigh and visiting faculty and experts, site visits and networking opportunities in the local Lehigh Valley community and New York City, and personal interactions with American peers, mentors, host families, and members of the neighboring community. Together these provide opportunities to gain powerful insights into the challenges facing business people in the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa.

For additional information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship Institute at Lehigh University, please contact Trisha Alexy at tsa2@lehigh.edu.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by IREX. For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit yali.state.gov/mwf and join the conversation at #YALI2019.