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CAU Hosts Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders for Third Consecutive Year

Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Contact: Donna L. Brock

ATLANTA (June 15, 2016)—Clark Atlanta University (CAU) will for the third consecutive year host 25 leaders ages 25 to 35 as part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), a partnership established by President Barack Obama through the U.S. Department of State.  Clark Atlanta will welcome this third class of fellows to its historic campus June 17, beginning an intensive, six-week program of academic, entrepreneurship and leadership training.               

“We are especially excited about the arrival of this year’s class,” CAU President Ronald A. Johnson says.  “The relationships developed over the last two years have been particularly fruitful in advancing the University’s ability to tap into a global, entrepreneurial mindset and certainly a dynamic brain trust of emerging global leadership.  This serves not only our students, but our faculty and alumni, by expanding the scope and reach of our academic, innovation and entrepreneurial enterprises.”  This year’s class, Johnson observed, represents 19 different countries:  Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Chad, Congo (DRC), Djibouti, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.                                     

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative, which empowers Sub-Saharan African leaders through coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities and support activities in their communities.  Fellows have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities and countries.  Clark Atlanta’s cohort of Fellows are part of a larger group of 1,000 being hosted at select U.S. higher education institutions this summer to participate in business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership and public management institutes.  Clark Atlanta is one of 14—along with Northwestern University, Dartmouth College and The University of Notre Dame, among others—focusing primarily on business and entrepreneurship.  The Fellows will conclude their YALI experience at a Presidential Summit in Washington, D.C., after which select individuals will engage in an additional six-weeks of professional development training with U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies and government agencies.                     

Clark Atlanta University’s program was conceived and established by Professor Mesfin Bezuneh, Ph.D., a member of the University’s economics faculty.  Bezuneh’s role includes close coordination with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational Affairs and its implementing partner, the International Research and Exchanges Board.  Over the next six weeks, Clark Atlanta’s Fellows will study innovation technology, decision-making tools, corporate and social responsibility, human design thinking, green entrepreneurship and more.  CAU’s program is supported by sponsors whose worldwide operations routinely depend upon such high-level collaboration, including:  The Coca-Cola Company, UPS and The Carter Center and Presidential Library, Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport Authority, Georgia Power, Ernst &Young, Emory University, and numerous community service organizations, such as Atlanta Food Bank and MedShare among others.              

Clark Atlanta’s YALI program has been cited as a model among participating U.S. institutions by fellows and government representatives.  Andrew Longwe, co-founder of Malawi’s Capital Financial Services and a 2015 CAU Mandela Washington Fellow said in a Mach 2016 interview with AFK Insider that the sum of his interactions made him “a different business person than…before the Fellowship began.”  In her March 2016 remarks to the U.S. Institute of Peace, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield singled out the work of 2014 CAU Fellow Temitayo Etomi, who “upon returning home from the Fellowship has employed and trained more than 100 Nigerians with the aim of creating 1.2 million jobs for Nigerian Youth by 2020.”

For more information on the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship Program, visit MandelaWashingtonFellowship.state.gov and join the conversation with #YALI2016.  For more information about Clark Atlanta University’s 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship Business and Entrepreneurship Institute, contact Bezuneh at mbezuneh@cau.edu or 404-880-6274.

Category: Business
Keywords: YALI