BOONE–Appalachian State University has received a $150,000 grant from The International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX) to implement a six-week Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF) Institute on campus. The MWF Institute at Appalachian will be focused on civic leadership for 25 young leaders from several African countries. It will be held June 17–30.
Appalachian’s Office of International Education and Development will implement this program in collaboration with the university’s Academic Civic-Engagement Program. The institute will be directed by Dr. Jesse Lutabingwa, associate vice chancellor for international education and development and co-directed by Dr. Brian MacHarg, director of academic civic-engagement.
According to Lutabingwa, the MWF Institute at Appalachian will provide participants with an overview of how citizens have shaped U.S. history, government and society, both as individuals and as groups. Participants in the program will have the opportunity to compare and contrast what they learn in the U.S. with their experiences in Africa.
The academic program will help participants understand civic leadership, examine its development in the U.S., and build skills in such topics as citizenship, community building, economic development, grassroots activism, political organizing and leadership, volunteerism, and the use of technology in advancing civic causes.
While at Appalachian, program fellows will participate in seminars and workshops conducted by with faculty and staff as well as leaders from local nonprofits. They will be mentored by several young leaders in the Boone/Watauga area to learn from each other. They will also volunteer with local organizations to experience volunteerism first hand.
“Our local community partners and the Appalachian region will serve as a laboratory for the visiting African professionals,” said MacHarg. “As the Fellows interact and collaborate with similar professionals in the local community, we hope that there will be a productive exchange of ideas and best practices between North Carolina and the African continent.”
Additionally, program fellows will spend several weekends with American families to experience the American family life.
According to Lutabingwa, the homestay will provide opportunities for program fellows to talk and connect on a deeper level with American families and have many conversations about all aspects of life. While in their host families, fellows will be able to see everyday life of American families.
Appalachian was selected to participate in the program following a rigorous national competition. The University is one of 40 public and private institutions country-wide that have been selected to host the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship Institute and the only one in North Carolina.
According to IREX, the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), launched in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance and enhance peace and security across Africa. The Mandela Washington Fellowship, inaugurated in 2014, will provide 1,000 outstanding young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. higher education institution with support for professional development after they return home. Program fellows have been competitively selected from an applicant pool of more than 40,000 individuals.
The fellows, who are between the ages of 25 and 35, have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities and countries. In 2015, fellows represented all 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Fifty percent of fellows were women; and for 76 percent of the fellows, it was their first experience spending substantial time in the United States.
“I am very excited that Appalachian was selected to implement this program,” Lutabingwa said. “Having come from Africa, of course, I am very interested in contributing to the capacity building efforts for a new generation of young African leaders.”
Working closely with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational Affairs and its implementing partner, IREX, Appalachian has designed an academic program that will challenge, inspire, and empower the young leaders from sub-Saharan Africa.
For more information, contact Lutabingwa in the Office of International Education and Development at 828-262-2046 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
More about the Mandela Washington Fellowship program
Each Mandela Washington Fellow takes part in a six-week academic and leadership Institute at a U.S. university or college in one of three tracks: Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, or Public Management. This year, there will be a pilot Institute on Energy.
Following the academic component of the fellowship, the fellows visit Washington, D.C., for a Presidential Summit featuring a town hall with President Obama. During the three-day event, fellows will take part in networking and panel discussions with U.S. leaders from the public, private and non-profit sectors.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier, public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.
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