Isaac Castellano, an assistant clinical professor and interim global studies program lead, was the recipient of the reciprocal exchange component of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, sponsored by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. He will travel to Madagascar in June, where he will partner with Mandela fellow alumni Fleurot Raharilala, the executive director of Voluntary and Objective Works (VOW) located in Antananarivo, Madagascar.
Raharilala and Castellano will offer workshops on leadership, mentorship and higher education to high school students in both the capitol city of Antananarivo and in Sambava, located on the eastern coast of the island nation.
While there, Castellano also plans to conduct field work for his research on agricultural commodity and infrastructure security. Sambava happens to be the epicenter of Madagascar’s vanilla production, a commodity that has been subject to theft as increasing global vanilla prices have altered the incentive structure of the market, resulting in the creation of local militias to protect vanilla production.