Virginia Commonwealth University to host Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

The 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows at the Governor's Mansion last summer.
The 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows at the Governor's Mansion last summer.

For the second year in a row, Virginia Commonwealth University has been selected as a host institution for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Beginning in mid-June, VCU will welcome 50 of Africa’s brightest emerging leaders in the areas of public management, business and entrepreneurship.

VCU is one of only four institutions nationwide that will host two cohorts of fellows, both co-sponsored with the VCU Global Education Office. One group will participate in an academic and leadership institute with the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, and the other will participate in the institute for business and entrepreneurship with the School of Business.

This flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative is President Barack Obama’s signature effort to invest in the next generation of global leaders. The program empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities and support for activities in their communities. Participating fellows are from sub-Saharan Africa and have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities and countries.

Embracing the fellows as part of the VCU community will result in a worthy investment in the future of Africa and the world.

“We look forward to hosting the Mandela Washington Fellows on campus once again,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “This unique program reflects the university’s continued commitment to the global engagement of students, faculty and staff, which transforms lives and communities. Embracing the fellows as part of the VCU community will result in a worthy investment in the future of Africa and the world.”  The fellows hosted by VCU will be part of a larger group of 1,000 being hosted across the United States this summer. Upon completion of their program, the fellows will meet with President Obama during a town hall event in Washington, D.C. Select fellows will also receive hands-on experience through six-week placements with U.S. companies, organizations and government agencies.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a U.S. government program that is supported in its implementation by the International Research & Exchanges Board, an international nonprofit organization that provides leadership and innovative programs to improve the quality of education, strengthen independent media and foster pluralistic civil society development. For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit, or join the conversation with #YALI2016. 

For more information, please contact Renee Russell at 804-828-3636.

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 30,000 students in 233 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Twenty-two of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 11 schools and three colleges. The VCU Health brand represents the VCU health sciences academic programs, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Tappahannock Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, and MCV Physicians. The clinical enterprise includes a collaboration with Sheltering Arms Institute for physical rehabilitation services. For more, please visit and