Texas Tech University

Texas Tech Named Prestigious Institute Partner

Paul Tubbs

February 13, 2023

Mandela Washington Fellows

The university will serve again as an Institute Partner for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

Texas Tech University is proud to announce its selection as an Institute Partner for the 2023 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. The International Affairs Office (IA) at Texas Tech will once again host over 25 of Africa's bright, emerging leaders for a six-week Leadership Institute, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. 

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 Africa.  

Mandela Washington Fellows

Since 2014, the U.S. Department of State has supported nearly 5,800 Mandela Washington Fellows from across Sub-Saharan Africa to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaboration with U.S. professionals.  The cohort of Fellows hosted by Texas Tech will be part of a group of 700 Mandela Washington Fellows hosted at 28 educational institutions across the United States.

After their Leadership Institutes, Fellows will participate in the 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 nonprofit sectors.  Following the Summit, up to 100 competitively selected Fellows will participate in four weeks of professional development with U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies, and government agencies.

Funded by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and implemented by the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), leadership institutes will offer programs that will challenge, motivate and empower young leaders from Africa to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.

“We are so proud to host such a prestigious Fellowship for the fifth time,” said Michael Johnson, associate director for International Grants Administration and Partnerships. “The Fellows are such amazing human beings and have accomplished so much already. We often end up learning as much from them as they do from us.”

Just 28 higher education institutions from 20 U.S. states and the District of Columbia are participating in the Mandela Washington Fellowship in 2023, with Texas Tech and the University of Texas the only host programs in Texas. Each Institute hosts Fellows in one of three leadership sectors: Business, Civic Engagement or Public Management.  Texas Tech's IA first became one of the host institutions in 2017 and has served as a Public Management Institute every year except 2018 and during the 2020 COVID-19 global pandemic.   

“Institutional commitment across different Texas Tech offices since the program was hosted for the first time in 2017 has laid a strong foundation to successfully continue to be selected over the years as institutional partners among the numerous university and college applicants nationwide,” said Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo, vice provost for International Affairs.

IA hosted in person fellows in 2022 for the first time in over two years after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the program to a virtual format. Texas Tech hosted 24 Fellows during last year's program.

“In 2021 the sponsor had to make significant changes to how we carried out the program,” said Johnson. “We had to learn how to provide the same experiences virtually, so we had to learn how to film and how to live stream. We learned how to use images and rich descriptions to give the Fellows the same West Texas experience other cohorts had.”

As a result, Johnson said IA was able to use the knowledge gained from the virtual fellowship to enhance the in-person experience in 2022.

“This year, we have a great program which the Fellows enjoy and, honestly, what we are looking forward to the most is simply streamlining our processes and delivering our program with less stress and surprises,” Johnson said. 

The next group of Fellows will arrive the first week of June and depart the middle of July.

“Getting to know about their professional and personal journeys and their passionate work with diverse populations across different countries in Africa is truly inspiring,” Trejos-Castillo said. “Their presence at Texas Tech represents an invaluable opportunity for fostering knowledge and cultural exchange on campus and in the Lubbock community.”