Hundreds of Young African Leaders Convene to Collaborate on Sustainability and Inclusion

WASHINGTON, DC — Hundreds of young African leaders recently convened for the virtual 2022 Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit.  Selected from a pool of more than 35,000 applicants, the 700 leaders strengthened leadership skills and exchanged ideas with leaders from Africa and the United States.

“Africa is a continent of young people – energized, innovative, eager for opportunity. I hope that this is only the beginning of your connection with the United States, your Institute mentors and partners, and especially with each other.”

Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State
Fellows hosted by Wayne State University gather for a Summit Watch Party in Detroit, Michigan.

Held July 12 and 13 and hosted by the U.S. Department of State and IREX, the Summit marked the culmination of six weeks of leadership training at 27 U.S. educational institutions. Throughout the program, Fellows develop lasting connections with Americans and forge networks with other young leaders across Africa.

Stay in touch with each other… If you continue to rely on each other for encouragement [and] strength as you continue your path of public service and community leadership, of entrepreneurship and innovation, you’re more likely to be successful in the years ahead.”

Chris Coons, U.S. Senator from Delaware

During the Summit’s Partnership Expo, U.S. companies and organizations highlighted their work and connected with the next generation of African decision-makers.  Dr. Bernice King, Chief Executive Officer of The King Center, and Dr. Acha Leke, Senior Partner of McKinsey & Company, delivered the keynote addresses.  Yolanda Sangweni, Vice President of Programming and New Content Development of National Public Radio, was the mistress of ceremonies and moderator.

Yolanda Sangweni moderates a discussion with Dr. Bernice King during the Summit.

“We are all rooting for you. You are the reason I have optimism and faith in Africa’s future… the challenges we face are great, but I know you will be greater still.”

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Representative to the United Nations

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.

Videos of the Summit are available online.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a program of the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by IREX.