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Mandela Washington Fellows arrive at Boise State University

Group of Fellows at Boise State University
The Mandela Washington Fellows at Boise State University’s Interactive Learning Center

Boise State University’s School of Public Service is hosting the 2024 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders this summer. It will bring 25 of Africa’s bright, emerging public management leaders, from 24 different countries, to town for a six-week Leadership Institute, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

Fellows also will participate in the Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit, taking 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.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Mandela Washington Fellowship and Boise State’s second time hosting an Institute. The Boise State Institute provides the Fellows and Idahoans the opportunity for cross-cultural exchange. Highlights of the Institute include connecting Fellows with local partners through site visits, and collaborative projects and service opportunities at local nonprofits. Boise State faculty, staff, students and community members will share Idaho experiences with the Fellows, such as floating the Boise River, the Idaho Shakespeare Festival and Alive After 5, while getting the chance to learn about what life is like in their countries.

“The School of Public Service is thrilled to host the Mandela Fellows. Their remarkable leadership in their home countries along with their lived experiences will provide extraordinary learning opportunities for Boise State and the broader community,” said Vanessa Fry, director of the Idaho Policy Institute. “It is an honor to be part of the Institute leadership team alongside my peer faculty Nisha Bellinger, Ashley Nichols and Heidi Reeder.”

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. Since its inception 10 years ago, nearly 6,500 young leaders from every country in Sub-Saharan Africa have participated in the Mandela Washington Fellowship. The cohort of Fellows hosted by Boise State are among 700 Mandela Washington Fellows hosted at 28 educational institutions across the United States. Boise State is the only university representing the northwestern region of the country.

Image of sticky notes with welcoming messages on a whiteboard
Thank-you sticky notes from the Fellows

For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship Leadership Institute at Boise State, including opportunities to mentor fellows, engage in events, host Fellows for dinner or support the Institute, please contact the Boise State Mandela Institute Leadership Team at or visit the Mandela website.