BOONE, N.C. — For the third consecutive year, Appalachian State University has been selected as an institute partner for the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Beginning in mid-June, Appalachian will host 25 of Africa’s emerging civic leaders for a six-week Academic and Leadership Institute, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), was created to empower 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 brought 3,000 young leaders from across sub-Saharan Africa to the United States to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaborations with U.S. professionals. The cohort of fellows hosted by Appalachian will be part of a larger group of 700 Mandela Washington Fellows hosted at 27 institutions across the United States this summer.
At the end of their stay at their individual institutes, the fellows will meet in Washington, D.C., for the fifth annual Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit, where they will take part in networking and panel discussions with U.S. leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Following the summit, 100 fellows will participate in six weeks of professional development training at U.S. nongovernmental organizations, private companies and government agencies.
“Working closely with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and its implementing partner, the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), Appalachian will offer academic and leadership programs that will challenge, inspire and empower these young African leaders,” said Dr. Jesse Lutabingwa, associate vice chancellor of Appalachian’s Office of International Education and Development (OIED).
“More than learning from us, Appalachian and the Boone and Watauga communities will learn a great deal from these young African leaders. We will learn about their countries and the incredible contributions they are making in their communities. It will be mutually beneficial in both directions.”
The program, which is supported through a partnership between Appalachian’s OIED and Appalachian and the Community Together (ACT), provides the opportunity for talented African professionals to collaborate with Appalachian faculty on issues of civic leadership, community development and nonprofit management.
Lutabingwa said the Appalachian institute is a balance of in-class collaborations with off-campus meetings with nonprofit directors, state and local government officials and activities that showcase American culture. The fellows will be paired with young local leaders from Boone and Watauga County to observe how the leaders are using their skills to advance the organizations with which they work. Fellows will discuss both the foundations for civic participation and the details of leading communities and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
Fellows will also participate in and reflect on volunteer service opportunities with local nonprofits in the community — work that matches what they are doing in their home communities, such as sustainable agriculture, youth programs, poverty alleviation, etc. The program balances the characteristics of American civic life with concerns unique to the continent of Africa.
“In many ways, these young leaders are already doing incredible things in their respective communities at home and I hope what we offer them at Appalachian will challenge and inspire them to take their activities to greater heights,” said Lutabingwa.
Additionally, fellows will work on their presentation skills and develop a thorough action plan that they will implement upon their return to their home country.
Several opportunities for community members to connect with the fellows will be available during the institute. Fellows will showcase the arts, dance and music of their home countries in a cultural showcase. Additionally, community members are invited to interact with the fellows at Boone’s Fourth of July celebration.
For additional information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship Institute at Appalachian, contact co-directors Lutabingwa and Dr. Brian MacHarg, director of academic civic-engagement for ACT, at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, respectively.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a program of the U.S. Department of State and is administered by IREX. For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit http://yali.state.gov/mwf and join the conversation at #YALI2018. Learn more about the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders at Appalachian at https://international.appstate.edu/about/mandela-washington-fellowship-institute-2018
About the Office of International Education and Development
The OIED is responsible for spearheading the internationalization efforts at Appalachian. The internationalization mission of Appalachian is to develop awareness, knowledge, appreciation and respect of cultural differences in both domestic and international contexts in its students, faculty, staff and the surrounding communities. The university is also dedicated to creating a campus environment that builds the theoretical and practical skills needed to interact effectively in a global society.
About Appalachian and the Community Together (ACT)
Appalachian and the Community Together (ACT) provides service experiences as opportunities to connect and engage with others to build authentic relationships, stimulate critical thinking and skill building, and recognize individual impact and responsibility to the local and global community. Since 2004, Appalachian State University students have contributed over $22.48 million of value to the community via the ACT program (just over 1.1 million hours of service plus $631,317 funds raised) using the $24.14 per hour national standard for volunteer time. ACT partners with over 160 local non-profits. Initiatives include blood drives, hunger and homeless awareness events, fundraising for local charities and alternative service experiences. Learn more at https://act.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational 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 embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.