Larissa Kambani stands in the sun holding a gardening tool over her right shoulder. She smiles broadly at the camera, her black hair worn in long braids some of which are pulled back for the hard work she's doing. She wearing black rectangular sunglasses, a heather blue T-shirt with a circle logo that says "UC Davis Global Affairs" and a blue work glove on her right hand. She stands in a park with trees, plants, and a neighborhood street visible behind her.
UC Davis Mandela Washington Fellow Larissa Kambani (Republic of Congo, 2019) lends a hand planting and caring for trees during a site visit in July 2019.

UC Davis Welcomes 2021 Mandela Washington Fellowship

On June 21, the University of California, Davis, virtually welcomes 29 leaders from 20 African countries for a six-week Leadership in Public Management Institute as a part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of the U.S. Department of State Young African Leaders Initiative. The institute, organized by UC Davis Global Affairs, will build practical knowledge and leadership capacity in topics such as public management, community engagement, public speaking, and the intersection of public health and local government. The UC Davis Mandela Washington Fellows will participate in discussion forums, professional networking, cultural connection activities, leadership sessions, community service, and focus project coaching from their home countries through July 30.

Peter Hartsough, project scientist in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, and Jennie Konsella-Norene, assistant director of global professional programs in Global Affairs, continue to lead the Fellowship at UC Davis for the fifth year as the academic director and administrative director respectively.

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.

This year’s cohort of Mandela Washington Fellows includes engineers, doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and leaders in public health and medicine, energy, gender equity, education, water resources, environmental protection, governance, public management, and more.

2021 Mandela Washington Fellows

  • Nicaise Aman, Cote d'Ivoire
  • Esther Anyona, Kenya
  • Komi Edem Assigbley, Togo
  • Joanita Ayenyo, Uganda
  • Gabriel Babadi, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Jireh Bookwa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Chipampa Chola, Zambia
  • Bertin Ciza, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Claudia Duarte Silva Gomes, Cabo Verde
  • Amadou G. Jallow, The Gambia
  • Titchinmin Kone, Cote d'Ivoire
  • Bridget Kowo, Liberia
  • Patricia Labina, South Sudan
  • Giliardo Lopes Nascimento, Cabo Verde
  • Khwezi Mohoang, South Africa
  • Asher Mustapha, Ghana
  • Sarah Nyawira, Kenya
  • Moshood Jeffrey Ogunwoye, Nigeria
  • Enibokun Orobator, Nigeria
  • Akosua Owusu-Efaa, Ghana
  • Samia “Sam” Said, Sudan
  • Tamba Sangbah, Sierra Leone
  • Tangeni Shituleipo Hangula, Namibia
  • Maimouna Seck, Senegal
  • Kwezi Sogoni, South Africa
  • Tendra Tenwah-Gweh, Liberia
  • Sheila Uwase, Rwanda
  • Kidist Wodajo, Ethiopia
  • Abdulaziz Abdurahman Yousuf, Ethiopia

“As COVID-19 has changed the way we connect around the globe, we are thrilled to utilize now-familiar virtual tools to meet and collaborate with this year’s Mandela Washington Fellows,” said Joanna Regulska, vice provost and dean of Global Affairs. “This year, UC Davis will have hosted more than 120 Mandela Washington Fellows since we began hosting in 2016. Their passion for community, wealth of experience, and critical knowledge are an inspiration for our UC Davis community. We’re proud to welcome this year’s Fellows and look forward to many, many collaborations to come.”

While remaining in their home countries, Mandela Washington Fellows will participate in virtual Leadership Institutes, including leadership training, networking, mentoring, and professional development. Session speakers and special guests this year will include Chancellor Gary S. May, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Mary Croughan, Vice Provost and Dean Regulska, City of Davis Mayor Gloria Partida, and Vice Mayor Lucas Frerichs, and many of our diverse faculty and community partners.

“We are so proud to have the unique opportunity to host this Fellowship. We have a very diverse group of Fellows this year with backgrounds and expertise spanning several industries and interests, including energy, women’s and girl’s issues, and health and medicine,” said Konsella-Norene. “The opportunity to learn from each other offers meaningful intercultural and interdisciplinary exchange and collaboration, and we are delighted to see meaningful, collaborative projects develop out of the relationships that are built through the Fellowship experience.”

For information about connecting with the UC Davis Mandela Washington Fellows, please email Administrative Director Jennie Konsella-Norene or email Academic Director Peter Hartsough.

2021 UC Davis Mandela Fellow Biographies

Note: an earlier version of this story has been updated to reflect 29 UC Davis Mandela Washington Fellows (previously 30)

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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