Young leaders from Africa attend the 6th Mandela Young African Leaders Initiative at Clark Atlanta University.(Courtesy photo)
Young leaders from Africa attend the 6th Mandela Young African Leaders Initiative at Clark Atlanta University.(Courtesy photo)

Clark Atlanta University (CAU) welcomed 25 rising leaders from 19 African countries as part of their institute partnership with the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

The fellows, who arrived in June, will spend six weeks on campus and at several Atlanta-area businesses and establishments to learn critical skills in project management, model innovation, balanced scorecard, human systems engineering, leadership and entrepreneurship.

The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and administered by the International Research & Exchange Board (IREX).

This year’s fellows represent the following countries: Benin, Cameroon, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Togo and Zimbabwe.

Highlights of the CAU Leadership in Business program include: meeting with local industry partners, including The Coca-Cola Company, UPS, IBM, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport through experiential learning site visits, collaborative projects and networking event; community service projects at non-profit community organizations, such as Atlanta Community Food Bank, Trees Atlanta, Habitat for Humanity and MedShare International, among others, meetings with the Atlanta business community at networking events, receptions and campus-based events, including the President’s Welcome Reception; and visits at the homes of faculty in their homes for an American family dinner experience.

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 Africa to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaborations with U.S. professionals.

The cohort of Fellows hosted by CAU will be part of a group of 700 Mandela Washington Fellows hosted at 28 educational institutions across the United States. This year, Clark Atlanta University is the only historically Black college and university (HBCU) in the nation to host a Leadership in Business institute.

At the conclusion of their Leadership Institutes, the 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.

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This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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