Humphrey School News

Humphrey School hosts Washington Fellowship for young African leaders

August 7, 2014
YALI fellows

Minneapolis, MN (08/07/14)—The Center for Integrative Leadership—a project of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and several other colleges at the University of Minnesota—is pleased to have hosted the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, a new flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). 

Beginning in June, 25 young civic leaders representing 18 African countries participated in a six-week academic institute focused on public management. The YALI program was created to inspire the leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities, and support for activities in their communities.

“The Center for Integrative Leadership is uniquely positioned to educate, cultivate, and empower leaders to foster institutional and societal change,” said Laura Bloomberg, associate dean at the Humphrey School. “We are delighted to have an opportunity to foster practical skills and host real-world experiences through this innovative partnership with a new generation of African leaders.”

The interdisciplinary program focused on the skills needed to run government ministries, start and grow businesses, and serve communities. The program was tailored to leverage top faculty, cutting-edge curricula, and local opportunities to impart practical professional and leadership skills. The Washington Fellows engaged with several local organizations, including Minnesota’s African immigrant community. Their coursework was based at the Humphrey School—situated in Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside neighborhood—and included events or activities with the African Development Center, Hennepin County, and the nonprofit organization Books for Africa, among others. They also visited Boys Totem Town, a local detention facility for juvenile offenders, after learning about the high incarceration rate of African American young men.

Ketty Ruhara, the International Leadership Foundation deputy operations director in Burundi, pointed out that since her work experience mostly has been in the private sector, “I needed to know what happens on the other side and how that private-public partnership takes place. [This] was the reason why I applied for this fellowship.” (Read more from the Washington Fellows in this story published Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder)

“The University of Minnesota is proud to have been selected as a host institution for the President's Young African Leaders Initiative,” said Eric Kaler, University president. “We are committed to equipping the global leaders of tomorrow to succeed in a diverse and changing world.”

The University of Minnesota was selected by the U.S. Department of State to be one of 20 host institutions that represent the excellence and diversity of U.S. higher education. A total of 500 Washington Fellows are being hosted across the United States this summer. Participants are the most promising young leaders ages 25–35 from Sub-Saharan Africa who have a proven record of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, or communities. The program also includes robust programming in Africa, including networking opportunities, continued professional development, and access to seed funding.

President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders as they seek to encourage growth and prosperity, democratic governance, and peace and security. The Washington Fellowship, which began in 2014, will bring 500 young leaders to the United States each year for academic coursework and leadership training. The Fellows will also have the chance to interact with the President during an annual Summit in Washington, D.C., along with other senior U.S. government, business, and civic leaders. A select group of 100 Washington Fellows will remain in the United States after the Presidential Summit for an eight-week internship experience at a relevant U.S. business, NGO, or government agency.

The Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a U.S. government program that is supported in its implementation by the International Research and Exchanges Board.

Washington Fellows at the University of Minnesota include

Adelina Canjala Dangola Calundungo, Angola
Ketty Valerie Ruhara, Burundi
Alfredo Isidoro Araujo de Pina, Cape Verde
Olivier Koullo Ndena, Chad 
Adda Ngomde, Chad
Junior K. N’Kashama, Democratic Republic of Congo
Valere Tsasa Nsimba, Democratic Republic of Congo
Helawi Sewnet Beshah, Ethiopia
Nfamara K. Dampha, Gambia
Oteng Karikari, Ghana
Rachel Syengo, Kenya
Elizabeth Nashitye Hamupembe, Namibia
Adediran Olasile Adegoke, Nigeria
Catherine Oluwakemi Onabanjo, Nigeria
Sheryl Natasha Vangadasamy, Seychelles
Mohamed Abdul Mansarico Mansaray, Sierra Leone
Danielle Manuel, South Africa
Lukholo Ngamlana, South Africa
Gcinaphi Ntombikayise Dlamini, Swaziland
Thabiso Mabandla Masina, Swaziland
Mohamed Sauko, Tanzania
Mana Akuvi Banoungouzouna Regina Kpotor
Mutibo Chijikwa, Zambia
Mable Beene Nedziwe, Zambia

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