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Texas Tech Named Institutional Partner for Mandela Washington Fellowship

February 9, 2024

Texas Tech Named Institutional Partner for Mandela Washington Fellowship

The university will serve as a host for the top program for Young African Leaders.

For the sixth time, Texas Tech University is proud to announce its selection as an Institutional Partner for the 2024 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. The International Affairs Office (IA) at Texas Tech will once again host over 25 of Africa's bright, emerging leaders for a six-week Leadership Institute sponsored by the U.S. Department of State beginning in June. 

“Being selected for the sixth year as a host for the Mandela Washington Fellowship program represents a great point of pride as Texas Tech continues to lead transformative education opportunities across global contexts,” said Vice Provost Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo

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.  

Participants volunteer with Meals on Wheels
Fellows volunteered with Meals on Wheels

Established in 2014, the Mandela Washington Fellowship is celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2024. Since its inception, 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 Texas Tech will be part of a group of 700 Mandela Washington Fellows held at 28 educational institutions across the U.S.

After their Leadership Institutes, Fellows will participate in 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 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.

Funded by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and implemented by the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), leadership institutes will offer programs that will challenge, motivate and empower young leaders from Africa to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.

Just 28 higher education institutions from 20 U.S. states and the District of Columbia are participating in the Mandela Washington Fellowship in 2023, with Texas Tech and the University of Texas the only host programs in Texas. Each Institute hosts Fellows in one of three leadership sectors: Business, Civic Engagement or Public Management.  Texas Tech's IA first became one of the host institutions in 2017 and has served as a Public Management Institute every year except in 2018 and during the 2020 COVID-19 global pandemic.   

“Every year we learn more,” said Trejos-Castillo. “We learn not only what we can do better but also about who they are. When we are able to see them for who they are, how passionate they are and the experiences they are looking for, we are able to customize the program over the years.”

Trejos-Castillo said having success with past cohorts of Mandela Washington Fellows has created a strong sense of advocacy for Texas Tech across Africa.

“It makes us very proud,” said Trejos-Castillo. “They are recommending others to apply and go to Texas Tech. Our Red Raider Mandela alumni include over 100 fellows across more than 25 African countries since the program started in 2017.”

The next group of Fellows will arrive in the middle of June and depart at the end of July.

Texas Tech Now