International Affairs hosts young professionals from Africa to participate in extensive leadership training.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship began in 2014 in conjunction with the Young African Leaders Initiative to cultivate leaders between the ages of 25 and 35 from every Sub-Saharan region of the continent by bringing them to the U.S. for six weeks of academic and leadership training.
Michael Johnson is associate director for International Grants Administration and Partnerships with IA. Johnson, Senior Grants Administrator Elizabeth Roberts,IA faculty and staff along with a host of volunteers will be leading this group of Fellows during their time at Texas Tech.
“It is incredibly important to be involved in a program like the Mandela Washington Fellowship for a couple of reasons,” said Johnson. “First of all, one of the greatest exports of the U.S. is higher education. What better way to share this experience with others. And secondly, the more exposure we have to other cultures, from both the Fellows and our perspective as hosts, the better chance we have to be better citizens of not just our country, but our world.”
Just 28 higher education institutes from 20 states across the U.S. are participating in the Mandela Washington Fellowship in 2023, with only Texas Tech and the University of Texas as host programs in Texas. Each institute is divided into three leadership sectors of business, civic engagement and public management. Texas Tech's IA first became a host institution in 2017.
Texas Tech will host a leadership in public management for this cohort. The goal of this sector is to introduce Fellows to best practices in public management while also growing technical and leadership aptitudes in citizen engagement, resource management, financial management systems and the convergence of government with business and civil society.
“Lots of hard work and planning by many different people went into making something like this experience happen,” Johnson said. “All that work pays dividends with the Fellows' arrival.”
Over the next six weeks fellows will observe and participate in various activities to support the development of leadership skills through academic study, workshops, mentoring and networking. The goal of this multi-week fellowship is to share ideas and experiences to both improve the fellows' communities as well as the participating individuals, hosts and instructors.
“This year's cohort has already demonstrated a wonderful energy and enthusiasm,” Johnson said. “We are so excited to meet them and start getting to know them.”
The fellows arrived Wednesday, June 21 and will depart for the Mandela Summit in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, July 30 with all 700 Fellows and staff from each institute.