Alumni Enrichment Institute Participants Arrive in the United States

Fellows toured Howard University as part of AEI Welcome Events in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Department of State and IREX are pleased to welcome 200 Participants from the 2021 virtual Fellowship cohort for the Alumni Enrichment Institutes.  Alumni Enrichment Institutes are a unique follow-on opportunity for 2021 Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni to travel to the United States to collaborate with U.S. counterparts and build upon the skills they developed during their Fellowships.

A woman in national dress holds a photo frame

The Alumni Enrichment Institutes are funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered in partnership with IREX, a nonprofit organization.  The program further supports the Mandela Washington Fellowship’s mission by creating stronger ties between 49 sub-Saharan African countries and the United States with the goal of strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security on the continent.

The biggest privilege for me is to have an opportunity to meet like-minded leaders from across Africa. I believe that all the young people here are upholding Mandela’s legacy and through the Fellowship, we are being exposed to knowledge. We are being exposed to organizations. We are being exposed to people from not only Africa but outside of Africa and who are helping us form partnerships.”

Veridique Musambaghani Kakule, Alumni Enrichment Institute Participant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Participants will engage in their Alumni Enrichment Institutes at eight U.S. educational institutions across the country for two weeks.  Throughout the program, Participants will develop lasting connections with Americans while enhancing their skills through leadership training, experiential learning, and networking.  They will also develop innovative solutions to pressing challenges in their home countries and collaborate with their peers from both the United States and Africa.  In addition to the knowledge and skills they gain, Alumni Enrichment Institute Participants will enrich their U.S. host communities through community service, cultural exchange, and the lasting personal ties they create during their program.  

Left: woman in national dress observes a work of art; right: a group of people convenes around a table
Left to right: Fellows explored the exhibits at the National Museum of African American History and Culture; Fellows networked and engaged each other.

The Alumni Enrichment Institute Participants represent the geographic, cultural, and racial diversity of Africa and are accomplished in their careers and dedicated to serving their communities.  The Participants come from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds, represent equal numbers of women and men, and include individuals with disabilities.  The competitively-selected Participants are leaders in agriculture, business, civil society, education, public service, and other fields who have exemplified resilience and servant leadership in their home communities and globally.  Their personal stories include those below:

  • Thokozile Nhlumayo is a human rights activist.  Through a virtual six-week Professional Development Experience (PDE) with the Office of Representative Karen Bass and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Thokozile provided key insights on improving the African Growth and Opportunity Act to better align with the provisions of the African Continental Free Trade Area and drafted a legislative resolution to commemorate the African Union’s twentieth anniversary.
  • Abdallah Mabrouck is an agribusiness professional.  He received the first-ever Mandela Washington Fellowship Catalyst Grant for his start-up, Ibukia Shambani, which aims to help smallholder farmers in Tanzania by combining digital technology and direct support to deliver agricultural inputs to smallholder farmers at the last mile.  
  • Kulukaya Sadiki is the founder of GloRay Tailoring Studio (GRTS), an innovative sustainable fashion brand.  Kulukaya’s venture received $25,000 in funding from a grant offered by the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  The grant will support her team’s ongoing work in reducing production waste and utilizing recycled and remnant fabrics.
Left: a woman in a colorful dress speaks to a group; right: a woman in a blazer speaks at a podium
Left to right: Assistant Secretary Molly Phee engages with Fellows; Assistant Secretary Lee Satterfield makes remarks.

This cohort has embodied resilience in a way that we have never seen. You found ways to persevere and learn. You expanded your understanding of different sectors by engaging in volunteer opportunities. You were flexible and adaptive.”

Lee Satterfield, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs

Prior to their two-week placements, Participants attended Welcome Events July 18-21 at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and engaged with U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies, and government agencies to develop mutual understanding.  The Alumni Enrichment Institute Welcome Events in Washington, D.C. included the following program highlights:

  • U.S. Department of State remarks from Lee Satterfield, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and Molly Phee, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs
  • Fireside chat with Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick
  • Guided tours of historic sites in the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, such as the campus of Howard University and Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park 

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The Mandela Washington Fellowship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and supported in its implementation by IREX.