University selected to again host the prestigious Mandela Washington Fellowship

The fellowship is the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative

Participants from last year’s Mandela Washington Fellowship participated in a variety of community activities and mentorship opportunities at the University of Nevada, Reno.

2/10/2016 | By: Nicole Shearer  |

The University of Nevada, Reno is proud to announce that it has again been selected as a partner with the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. This will be the second year the University will host 25 of Africa's brightest emerging business and entrepreneurship leaders. In mid-June, fellowship participants will begin their six-week academic and leadership institute sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of President Obama's Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities and support for activities in their communities. Fellows are young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa who have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities and countries.   

At the University, 25 fellows will participate in a customized six-week academic institute that focuses on practical skills-building in the area of business and entrepreneurship. Dave Croasdell, the Charles and Ruth Hopping Professor of Entrepreneurship in the University's College of Business and Carina Black, executive director at the Northern Nevada International Center, will collaborate to implement the project this summer. 

Croasdell and Black will be looking to faculty members, local entrepreneurs, leadership experts and home hosts to provide a comprehensive experience for the participants. Additionally, they will look for peer entrepreneurs and mentors who are interested in spending time with fellows on a consistent basis. A key component of the program is for the young African leaders to meet as many Americans as possible.

"This program provides many opportunities to network with some very passionate and interesting individuals looking to make connections here in the U.S.," Black said. "These leaders represent the incredible transformation that is currently happening on the continent of Africa, and it's great to experience our community being part of that transformation."

The cohort of fellows hosted by the University will be part of a larger group of 1,000 Mandela Washington Fellows hosted at institutions across the United States this summer. These young leaders will meet at the end of their institutes in Washington, D.C. for a Presidential Summit. Select fellows will also spend six weeks in professional development training with U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies and government agencies.

Working closely with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational Affairs and its implementing partner, IREX, the University has developed an academic program that will challenge, inspire and empower these inspiring young leaders from Africa.  

The University joins a prestigious group of host universities across the country including the University of Notre Dame; the University of Texas at Austin; Dartmouth College; Rutgers University; Tulane University; Arizona State University; University of California, Berkeley; the University of Virginia; Howard University; Georgia State; Syracuse University and more.  

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a U.S. government program that is supported in its implementation by IREX. For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit and join the conversation with #YALI2016.   

For information about the local program implementation and to find out how to get involved, contact Dave Croasdell at or Carina Black at


For more news on the University of Nevada, Reno, follow @unevadareno on Twitter.

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