Nebraska joins elite list of host institutions for U.S.-Africa program

Nebraska joins elite list of host institutions for U.S.-Africa program

2015 Mandela Washington Fellows during a group summit.
Young African Leaders Initiative
Mandela Washington Fellows during a 2015 group summit.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has joined a top list of American institutions that will host a group from the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders this summer.

The university will welcome 25 emerging leaders from 49 sub-Saharan African nations for a six-week Civic Leadership Institute in June. Nebraska is one of 38 institutions selected to serve as institute partners with the U.S. State Department and the International Research and Exchanges Board, which co-sponsor the program. It joins eight others from the Big Ten as hosts.

For the past four years, the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders has selected 1,000 leaders between the ages of 25 and 35 to visit the United States and focus on one of three areas: civic leadership, business and entrepreneurship, and public management.

Sonia Feigenbaum, associate vice chancellor for international engagement and global strategies at Nebraska, led the effort to earn this distinction. The Office of International Engagement joined offices, colleges and faculty across the university to create a dynamic and engaging program for the fellows. Partners include the Center for Civic Engagement, as well as faculty and administrators in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, the College of Education and Human Sciences, and the College of Business Administration, among others.

Being selected as a host institution builds upon what Nebraska has accomplished to set itself apart as an international destination for higher learning, Feigenbaum said.

“This is yet another example of our commitment to increase global engagement at Nebraska,” she said.

Feigenbaum said she is looking forward to having the young leaders on campus – and that the entire university, as well as Lincoln and the state, will benefit from their time at Nebraska.

“The presence of the fellows will contribute to our robust and diverse international population,” she said. “We will gain new insights, learn from their experiences and come together to have productive conversations that will most certainly provide new ideas and solutions for our shared global concerns.”

Feigenbaum said the institute will include academic instruction and discussion on a range of issues, including education, business entrepreneurship, media, agricultural leadership, and policy. The fellows will also participate in community service and engage with local and state leaders.

“The fellows will have the opportunity to work with our faculty from many disciplines,” Feigenbaum said. “They will also learn from and share their expertise with civic organizations across the state.”

The 2017 session lasts from June 16 to July 31. More information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship can be found here.