Jackson State University to Host 2023 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders in summer 2023

(William H. Kelly III/JSU University Communications)

Courtesy of Jackson State University

Jackson State University is proud to announce its selection as an Institute Partner for the 2023 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Beginning in mid-June, Jackson State University will host 25 of Africa’s bright, emerging business 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.

‚ÄúJackson State University was the first institution in Mississippi to host the Mandela Washington Fellowship last year and we‚Äôre honored to continue this rewarding partnership,‚ÄĚ said¬†President Thomas K. Hudson, J.D.¬†‚ÄúThe program creates a unique opportunity for our students and faculty to build community with our international colleagues while celebrating our common academic goals.‚ÄĚ

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 Jackson State University will be part of a group of 700 Mandela Washington Fellows hosted at 28 educational institutions across the United States.

‚ÄúI‚Äôm delighted to welcome the Mandela Washington Fellowship program to our campus and I look forward to meeting them. We hope this will give them significant opportunities to interact with our faculty and students,‚ÄĚ said¬†Dean Fidelis Ikem, Ph.D., College of Business. ‚ÄúMy hope is that this builds relationships with the continent of Africa and Mississippi companies. The market in Africa is vast and it would be a shame if they don‚Äôt take advantage of these opportunities. I‚Äôd like to encourage small businesses in Mississippi to tap in to this resource for their benefit.‚ÄĚ

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 IREX, Leadership Institutes will offer programs that will challenge, motivate, and empower young leaders from Africa to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.

Some highlights will include connections and site visits with federal, state and local partners, including Visit Jackson, Prosper Africa, Department of Commerce, Mississippi Development Authority, SBA Women’s Business Center, SBA Small Business Development Center, WINROCK International, Rotary International and a number of industry partners. In 2022, our Alumni Enrichment partners also included Atmos Energy, Systems Electro Co., Greater Jackson Chambers Partnership, BankPlus, Hope Credit Union, Butler Snow , SOL Engineering Service, and many others.

‚ÄúThe Fellows will become culturally enriched by the site visits, community service projects and other immersive activities. As importantly, the State of Mississippi will benefit substantially from the cultural exchange and the opportunities to form bi-lateral relationships that lead to ongoing longer-term mentorships and international trade with the Fellows,‚ÄĚ stated¬†Academic Director Sharon Alicia Simmons, Ph.D., Jackson State University Leadership Institute.¬†¬†Other members of the JSU team include Almesha Campbell, Ph.D. (Assistant Academic Director), Lydia Didia, Ph.D. (Administrative Director), Attorney Saundra McFarland (Assistant Administrative Director), Edith Davidson, Ph.D. (Leadership Manager), and Jennifer Steele (Special Projects Coordinator).

Fellows will connect with the faculty, staff and students at JSU and also the Mississippi policy makers and public administrators with the assistance of the American Institute for International Policy Makers and Public Administrators (AIIPMPA). Fellows will give back to the community through service opportunities with the Beta Delta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the iVillage located in West Jackson, Miss.

You can meet the Fellows at networking receptions that will be held across the State of Mississippi.

For additional information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship Leadership Institute at Jackson State University, please contact Academic Director Sharon Alicia Simmons, Ph.D., at sharon.simmons@jsums.edu.

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.  For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit mandelawashingtonfellowship.org and join the conversation at #YALI2023.