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Civic Initiave joins several other US sites to host African leaders

Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni Travel to UMass Amherst in Summer 2022

The University of Massachusetts Amherst Civic Initiative is proud to announce its selection as an Alumni Enrichment Institute Partner for the 2022 Alumni Enrichment Institutes, an opportunity for 2021 Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni to travel to the United States in summer 2022 to collaborate with U.S. counterparts and each other and to continue building the professional and leadership skills they developed during their virtual 2021 Leadership Institutes. Beginning in late July, University of Massachusetts Amherst Civic Initiative will host 25 of Africa’s bright, emerging leaders for a two-week Alumni Enrichment Institute, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

The Alumni Enrichment Institutes are a follow-on opportunity of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). 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. Since 2014, the U.S. Department of State has supported nearly 5,100 Mandela Washington Fellows from across Sub-Saharan Africa to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaboration with U.S. professionals. 

The cohort of 25 participants hosted by the UMass Civic Initiative will be part of a larger group of 200 2021 Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni hosted at eight educational institutions across the United States. These institutions represent the diversity of U.S. higher education, including public and private schools, rural and urban campuses, and small and large student populations.

The two-week Alumni Enrichment Institutes will leverage experiential and discussion-based learning to provide participants with broadly applicable knowledge about U.S. culture and society and immerse them in a U.S. community through community service, cultural exchange, strategic networking, and site visits. Participants will also engage in programming on topics such as the United States’ diverse culture and society, resiliency and ethics in leadership, and social justice principles.

Prior to their arrival at UMass Amherst, participants will attend Welcome Events in Washington, D.C., where they will engage with U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies, and government agencies with an interest in Africa to develop mutual understanding through high-level sessions and workshops, forming a sustainable, prestigious network of effective leaders in critical sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa and the United States.

Funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and implemented by IREX, the Alumni Enrichment Institutes offer a unique professional development that will challenge, motivate, and empower young leaders from Africa to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.

Some highlights of the UMass Amherst Civic Initiative program will include connecting participants with the local community through different sessions with local academics, homestay dinners with families, and panels with students.

Participants will also learn about the history of western Massachusetts through site visits to Old Deerfield Village, Historic Holyoke, and a day trip to Boston to visit different historic sites. 

You can meet participants at the campus networking event, public school panel, or volunteering at the Amherst Survival Center.

For additional information about the 2022 Alumni Enrichment Institute with the UMass Amherst Civic Initiative, please contact the director, Michael Hannahan, at: or visit:

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is a program of the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by IREX. For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit:

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UMass Donahue Institute

University of Massachusetts Amherst

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