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Boise State once again will host Mandela Washington Fellows

A cohort of African fellows pose on the Boise State campus.
The 2019 Washington Mandela Fellows at Boise State.

Boise State University once again has been selected as an institute partner for the 2020 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Beginning in mid-June, Boise State will host 25 of Africa’s bright, emerging public management 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.

“Programs like the Mandela Washington Fellowship provide lessons that can’t be taught in the classroom,” said Boise State Interim Provost Tony Roark. “Bringing this institute to Boise State brings the world to our city and enlightens us to the unique customs and cultures present in sub-Saharan Africa.”

While in Boise, fellows will connect with local nonprofits and businesses through site visits and collaborative projects. They also will give back to the community through service projects related to work or interests that impact their home countries. To promote a cross cultural experience, fellows also will spend an evening at the Idaho Shakespeare festival, raft the Boise River and take an overnight trip to McCall.

This year, the Young African Leaders Initiative celebrates its 10th anniversary supporting young Africans as they spur economic growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa. Since 2014, the U.S. Department of State has supported nearly 4,400 young leaders from across sub-Saharan Africa to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaboration with U.S. professionals through the Mandela Washington Fellowship. The cohort of fellows hosted by Boise State will be part of a group of 700 Mandela Washington Fellows hosted at 27 educational institutions across the nation. This summer, all fellows will receive a letter of welcome from President Donald Trump.

At the conclusion of their leadership institutes, the fellows will convene in Washington, D.C., for 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 non-profit sectors. Following the summit, up to 70 competitively-selected fellows will participate in four weeks of professional development at 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 and Exchanges Board, leadership institutes will offer programs that will challenge, motivate and empower young leaders from Africa.

For additional information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship Leadership Institute at Boise State, please contact Cathe Scott at or visit