Lavinia Mbongo, a Mandela Washington Fellow, wears a white shirt and navy blazer with dark framed glasses. She is seated at a table, listening.
UC Davis Mandela Washington Fellow Lavinia Mbongo (Namibia, 2019) participates in a site visit to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority in July 2019.

UC Davis to Virtually Host 2021 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

The University of California, Davis, is proud to announce its selection as an Institute Partner for the 2021 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Beginning June 21, 2021, UC Davis will virtually engage around 30 of Africa’s bright, emerging public management leaders for a six-week Leadership Institute, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities, and local community engagement. 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 the African continent.

Since 2014, the U.S. Department of State has supported nearly 4,400 young leaders from across 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaboration with U.S. professionals through the Fellowship. Since 2016, UC Davis has hosted 99 Mandela Washington Fellows from more than 30 countries. The cohort of 2021 Fellows hosted by UC Davis Global Affairs will be part of a group of 700 Mandela Washington Fellows hosted by 26 educational institutions across the U.S. 

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and with the health, safety, and well-being of Fellows and Partners as the highest priority, the U.S. Department of State is planning a virtual Fellowship for 2021.  While remaining in their home countries, Fellows will participate in virtual Leadership Institutes, which will include leadership training, networking, mentoring, and professional development. 

After their Leadership Institutes, Fellows will participate in a virtual Summit. Up to 70 competitively- selected Fellows will also participate in six weeks of virtual professional development with U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies, and government agencies.

Funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and implemented by IREX, Leadership Institutes will offer programs that engage, motivate, and empower young leaders from Africa to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.

The Leadership in Public Management Institute at UC Davis will engage Fellows with various departments and partners across campus. Among many UC Davis departments and partners involved with the fellowship this year are Land, Air, and Water Resources, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Environmental Science and Policy, the Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy, and the Energy and Efficiency Institute.

For additional information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship Leadership Institute implemented by UC Davis, please contact Administrative Director Jennie Konsella-Norene at and Academic Director Peter Hartsough at, or visit our website.

About Global Affairs at UC Davis

Global Affairs brings the world to UC Davis, welcoming more than 10,000 international students, scholars and leaders, and hosting programs that inspire global curiosity, understanding and engagement. Compelled by the valuable outcomes of thinking globally, we make transformative opportunities a reality by supporting the thousands of students and faculty learning and researching globally—and by facilitating collaborations that tackle the world’s most pressing challenges through more than 150 global partnerships.

Putting our vision of a UC Davis community that engages, thrives, and leads in this interconnected world into action, Global Affairs is in pursuit of an ambitious goal: Global Education for All.

About the Mandela Washington Fellowship

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 and join the conversation at #YALI2021.  



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