HBCU Writers's Project
For Immediate Release
June 03, 2017
Contact Information

Donna L. Brock

(BPRW) Clark Atlanta University Hosts Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders for Fourth Consecutive Year

Program Called a Model for Institutional-U.S. Department of State Cooperation

(Black PR Wire) ATLANTA - Clark Atlanta University (CAU) will for the fourth 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 through the U.S. Department of State.  Clark Atlanta will welcome this fourth class of fellows to its historic campus June 16, beginning an intensive, six-week program of academic, entrepreneurship and leadership training.                

“We are tremendously excited about the arrival of this year’s class,” CAU President Ronald A. Johnson says.  “The relationships developed over the past three years advance the University’s ability to tap into a global, entrepreneurial mindset and constitutes an expanding brain trust of emerging global leaders.  This serves not only our students, but also our faculty and alumni, by extending the scope and reach of our academic, innovation and entrepreneurial enterprises.”  This year’s class, Johnson observed, represents 19 different countries: Botswana, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.                

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program for the Young African Leaders Initiative, which empowers emerging African leaders through coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities and support activities.  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 15 institutions, and the only HBCU, focusing primarily on business and entrepreneurship.  The Fellows will conclude their YALI experience at a 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 their six-week schedule, CAU’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, Allen Entrepreneurial Institute, Atlanta Hartsfield/Jackson International Airport, IBM, Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Advanced Technology Development Center and Tech Square, in addition to other business and community service partners.                

Clark Atlanta’s YALI program has been cited by fellows and government representatives as a model among participating U.S. institutions.  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 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship Program, visit MandelaWashingtonFellowship.state.gov and join the conversation with #YALI.  For more information about Clark Atlanta University’s 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship Business and Entrepreneurship Institute, contact Bezuneh at mbezuneh@cau.edu or 404-880-6274.

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