Mandela Washington Fellows during 2015 Summit (Courtesy of
**FILE* Mandela Washington Fellows during 2015 Summit (Courtesy of

On June 16, the University of Notre Dame will welcome 25 young emerging African leaders from all across sub-Saharan Africa as part of the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship.

The annual six-week business and entrepreneur fellowship, which began in 2014 and is sponsored by the U.S. State Department, aims to empower young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training and networking.

The fellowship, which is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), is highly competitive, receiving more than 64,000 applications this year from over 20 African countries for just 1,000 openings.

Throughout the program, fellows will engage in design thinking, social entrepreneurship, business modeling and planning, strategic leadership and personal and professional branding, visiting different corporations and organizations.

At the end of the institute, fellows will then travel to D.C. for the Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit, along with 975 other fellows. Out of the 1,000 initially chosen, 100 competitively selected fellows will then spend six weeks in professional development experiences with U.S. nongovernmental organizations, private companies and government agencies.

London Community Highlights African History

London’s Avril’s Walks and Talks, a cultural group that explores African Caribbean history, recently gave way to a “Tottenham African Caribbean History Walk” that explored British history from a black perspective.

The Sunday, June 11 event involved a two-hour tour that took participants from the 1550s up to today, highlighting topics such as wartime Britain, the industrialization of black hair, black comedy and police relations in that area.

“Avril’s Walks and Talks will take you on personal guided tours around London that will show and tell you about these areas, buildings, statues, etc.,” the organization posted on its website. “Areas such as Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, Cleopatra’s Needle etc., all have a strong connection to African Caribbean history — but that’s just the central London sights. Imagine how much history there is in the other boroughs around London.”

Cleveland Museum of Art Hires First Black Curator

The Cleveland Museum of Art recently named historian and curator Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi as the institution’s first black curator of African art.

Since its inception in 1913, the museum has established a collection of over more than 300 works of traditional art from sub-Saharan Africa, including a broad selection of masks and figurative sculptures from West and Central Africa.

Nzewi, who will be charged with overseeing and expanding the collection and organizing both historic and contemporary works and exhibitions, will assume the post on Aug. 1.

“I look forward to building on the excellent work done by the previous curator of African art through cutting-edge scholarship in support of exhibitions, publications, and in engaging our diverse audience, working in concert with my colleagues,” he said.

As a curator of African art at the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth University since 2013 and a former fellow at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in D.C., William M. Griswold, director of the Cleveland Museum of Art referred to Nzewi as “[someone] distinguished in the field of African.”

Lauren M. Poteat

Lauren Poteat is a versatile writer with a strong background in communications and media experience with an additional background in education and development.

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