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Mandela Washington Fellowship

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. YALI was created in 2010 and supports young Africans as they spur economic growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across the African continent.

Purdue’s fifth cohort of Mandela Washington Fellows will participate in an on campus Leadership in Business Institute for six weeks between June 19 and July 28, 2024 for intensive executive-style leadership training, networking, community service, and skills building, with an emphasis on engineering and agriculture-related innovations and businesses. This Institute is a campus-wide collaboration, led by the office of International Programs in Agriculture, Office of Global Engineering Programs, and the colleges of Agriculture and Engineering.

After their Leadership Institutes, Fellows will participate in a Summit in Washington DC with government and business leaders. In addition, up to 70 competitively-selected Fellows will remain in the U.S. to participate in six weeks of  professional development with U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies, and government agencies.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is a program of the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by IREX. Purdue University is implementing a Leadership Institute in Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship as a part of the Fellowship. For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit and join the conversation at #YALI2024.

contact us


Academic Director: Gary Burniske

Administrative Director: Lonni Kucik

Administrative Co-Director: Lynn Cornell

Leadership Manager: Scott Hutcheson