Host a Fellow for the Virtual 2021 Professional Development Experience

Fellows pose by a Microsoft sign outside an office building
2018 PDE Fellows visit the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

The 2021 Professional Development Experiences (PDEs) offer enriching opportunities for U.S. organizations to participate in a collaborative exchange by virtually hosting young African professionals for substantive, six-week work experiences that explore issues, innovations, and best practices from U.S. and African perspectives.   The PDEs will take place from August 9 – September 17, 2021.  Fellows will participate from their home countries and contribute 10-15 hours of work per week to their Host Organization, which may be synchronous (live) or asynchronous (on the Fellow’s own time) depending on what schedule the Fellow and Host agree upon together.

Why Host a Mandela Washington Fellow?

Fellow Facts: 25-35 years old, 5-7 years work experience (average), 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, invaluable global perspectives

PDEs provide U.S. companies, non-profits, and government agencies with a unique opportunity to gain a global perspective on their work while offering a tailored experience to accomplished young professionals looking to share their expertise, hone transferable skills, and forge lasting professional relationships with their U.S. counterparts.  Mandela Washington Fellows are motivated to take their careers to the next level and share knowledge with their U.S. peers and other future leaders across Africa.

100% - Hosts who would host a Fellow again in the future; 95% - Hosts who believe they benefitted from hosting a Fellow for a Professional Development Experience; 86% - Hosts who agree that the Fellow's level of experience was an appropriate fit for their organization; 79% - Hosts who expect to collaborate with their Fellow in the future

As a PDE host, organizations will:

  • Benefit from having African professionals contribute their skills and expertise.
  • Develop employees’ professional capacities by mentoring and supervising Fellows.
  • Build their cross-cultural and international communication skills.
  • Learn from Fellows’ global perspective on industries in their home countries.
  • Grow their networks by connecting virtually with other Host Organizations, Fellows, and Fellowship Alumni.

Benefits to U.S. Host Organizations

During the PDE, Fellows not only learn about a sector of interest from a U.S. perspective, but also actively contribute their own experience and expertise to their PDE Host.  Fellows have provided their insights to companies and organizations such as Brookings, Dell, Deloitte, Echoing Green, Microsoft, Rotary International, Starbucks, the U.S. Congress, and more.  These experiences help build economic ties between the United States and Africa by connecting Fellows and their businesses in their home countries to U.S. businesses and professionals.  See all 2019 Host Organizations.

Two men pose for a photo in front of a window
Duane and Laurent pose in front of the Minnesota Statehouse.

2019 Fellow Laurent Shilingi from Tanzania completed his PDE with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency office in St. Paul, Minnesota.  While there, Laurent worked on a micro-loan/crop insurance plan for Tanzania.  According to Laurent’s USDA supervisor Duane Voy, as a result of the PDE, the USDA office “realized a higher value in what we do as we see other countries wanting to do the same thing… as agriculture credit becomes more available, secured by crop insurance policies, this will stimulate investment into improved agriculture… and trade as the sector seeks to upgrade to meet the demand spurred by increasing production.”

Contact Information

To learn more about hosting, please complete the Host Interest Form.  For questions, please email MWF2021@irex.org.