Lehigh University is proud to announce its selection as an Institute Partner for the 2020 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Beginning in mid-June, Lehigh’s Iacocca Institute will host 25 of Africa’s bright, emerging business leaders for a six-week Leadership 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. YALI was created in 2010 and is celebrating its 10th anniversary supporting young Africans as they spur economic growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance and enhance peace and security across Africa. Since 2014, through the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the U.S. Department of State has supported nearly 4,400 young leaders from across Sub-Saharan Africa to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaboration with U.S. professionals. 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. This summer, all Fellows will receive a letter from President Trump welcoming them to the United States for their program.

This is the third time Lehigh University has hosted Mandela Washington Fellows—the Iacocca institute was also chosen to participate in the 2017 and 2019 programs. “Lehigh has a strong commitment to building positive relationships and partnerships in Africa,” says Kira Mendez, director of the Iacocca Institute. “We are excited to welcome our 2020 Mandela Washington Fellows on campus to engage with our Lehigh University and Lehigh Valley communities. Since 2017, our Fellows have come from 27 African countries, creating wonderful opportunities for students, community members and leaders from all sectors.”

At the conclusion of their Leadership Institutes, these exceptional young leaders will convene in Washington, D.C., for the 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 nonprofit sectors. Following the Summit, up to 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 implemented by IREX, Leadership Institutes will offer programs that will challenge, motivate and empower young leaders from Africa.

The 2020 Leadership in Business Institute at Lehigh’s Iacocca Institute 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 Leadership Institute at Lehigh University, please contact Kira Mendez at kmendez@lehigh.edu.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a program of 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 mandelawashingtonfellowship.org and join the conversation at #YALI2020.