Mandela Washington Fellowship

A group photo of the 2019 UD Mandela Washington Fellows

Learn about Public Diplomacy programs at ud

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a program of the U.S. Department of State, administered by the University of Delaware.  MWF is supported in its implementation by IREX. Bridgewater State University is a sub-grantee of IREX and is supporting the U.S.-based academic program of the Fellowship.


Mandela Washington Fellowship  

Civic Leadership Institute 

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and embodies the United States’ commitment to invest in the future of Africa. Through this initiative, young African leaders are gaining the skills and connections they need to accelerate their own career trajectories and contribute more robustly to strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth and enhancing peace and security in Africa. The Mandela Washington Fellowship is a program of the United States Government, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by IREX, a U.S. non-governmental agency. The Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF) at the University of Delaware is administered by the Center for Global Programs and Services, in collaboration with other academic and professional units on campus.


Each year since 2014 - with the exception of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic - 500 to 1,000 young African leaders have participated in Institutes at universities across the U.S. in three focus areas: civic leadership, public management and business and entrepreneurship. Academic coursework and leadership training in each of these sectors focus on the skills young African leaders need to start and grow businesses, serve their communities and manage the public sector.

The University of Delaware has hosted a Civic Leadership Institute since the Fellowship began in 2014. At UD, the Institutes address a different theme each week, including communication and social media, good governance, advocacy, social entrepreneurship and leadership. 

The Institutes conclude with a summit in Washington, D.C. where all Mandela Washington Fellows gather for networking and panel discussions with leaders from the public, private and non-profit sectors.

MWF History at UD











MWF Team at UD

Jessica Edwards
Academic Co- Director

Tracy Jentzsch
Administrative Co-Director

Colin Miller
Administrative Co-Director

Nike Olabisi
Academic Co-Director

The MWF program is administered by the Center for Global Programs and Services
A map showing UD's regional location

Our Location

The University of Delaware is an East Coast classic. Our location, midway between New York City and Washington, DC, allows Fellows access to meaningful connections, resources and opportunities. Delaware’s picture-perfect and ideal-sized campus is a walkable, historic space with grand architecture and a central green lawn (called “The Green”) for informal gathering and special events. Our home is the iconic college town of Newark, Delaware whose Main Street is lined with shops, cafes and restaurants. Together, these attributes create a secure and welcoming environment for all members of the University community. 


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