The class of Mandela Fellows at UGA spanned more than 15 countries in 2019. Photo: UGA

Georgia will host 50 emerging African leaders this summer on a U.S. State Department program designed to help already-influential young people in business and civil society further strengthen their capabilities.

Two universities will each host 25 recipients of the Mandela Fellowship, the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative, or YALI, a program that has brought thousands of leaders to the U.S. and hundreds to Atlanta since its launch during the Obama administration in 2010. The Mandela Fellowship started in 2014.  

The University of Georgia will host 25 fellows in the Leadership and Civic Engagement Institute, which focuses on public service and draws leaders from nonprofits, community-based organizations and volunteer groups. 

Clark Atlanta University, meanwhile, will continue its focus on boosting African business, hosting 25 business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs for a Leadership in Business Institute. 

Each program lasts six weeks and includes a service component enabling the fellows to embed with local organizations, teaching cross-cultural competencies by improving their understanding of their host communities. 

Clark Atlanta, which has hosted fellows for 10 straight years, and UGA are among the 28 institutions hosting 700 fellows across the U.S. — 25 at each school. The fellows are set to arrive this week.

In prior years, Georgia State University has also hosted Mandela Fellows, meaning that some summers Georgia has welcomed 75 of Africa’s best and brightest, selected through a competitive process that can draw tens of thousands of applications. 

At Clark Atlanta, the fellows will “connect with local partners such as Google, IBM, UPS, City of Atlanta, and the Allen Entrepreneurial Institute (AEI) through site visits, collaborative projects, and one-on-one mentoring,” according to the university. 

They will also work at the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Metro Urban Farm, MedShare International and the Peachtree Road Race. 

A welcome reception is being planned for those that would like to meet the fellows at a speed networking event. Learn more about the Clark Atlanta program here

UGA’s Mandela Fellows will volunteer with  Extra Special People and UGArden. They will also collaborate “with local partners on community minded projects in the areas of public health, food security and youth empowerment.”

The Georgia Museum of Art will host a special Africa in Athens exhibition to allow the fellows to showcase their respective cultures. Learn more about the UGA program. 

Read Global Atlanta’s extensive reporting on Mandela Fellows in Georgia here. 

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...