CASNR leaders foster global leadership in second Mandela Fellowship program
By: Amanda Castro-Crist
During the summer of 2017, Texas Tech University hosted its first cohort of Mandela Washington Fellows for a six-week academic and leadership institute. The university was one of just 38 U.S. institutions chosen that year to host the Mandela Washington Fellowship, which focuses on empowering emerging African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training and networking opportunities.
This year, Texas Tech was chosen as an Institute Partner for the Mandela Fellowship for a second time. On June 20, a group of 25 Mandela Fellows arrived in Lubbock to complete the university's Leadership in Public Management Institute, a university-wide endeavor spearheaded by the Office of International Affairs.
Over six weeks, the Mandela Fellows were immersed in the Texas Tech and local communities, participating in a variety of classroom sessions, site visits and community service projects aimed at empowering them with knowledge and skills they can utilize upon their return to their communities in Africa.
Darren Hudson, a professor and the Larry Combest Endowed Chair in Tech's Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, said the Mandela Fellows are not the only ones who benefit from participating in the program.
"Our interaction helps project American values to these young future leaders in Africa," said Hudson, who served as the academic director of the Texas Tech institute. "But we also benefit by learning and gaining perspective about the cultures and societies to enrich our thinking about global social and economic problems."
The first two weeks of the institute laid the foundation for conscientious, accountable public service and business development, with classroom sessions on leadership and team development, public governance and creating public/private partnerships to promote accountability and economic development.
The second module focused on capitalizing on gender empowerment and nutrition for healthy, successful societies, with classroom sessions covering public administration, community-focused service orientation and business development into each dimension of public service, as well as policies to develop accountability and transparency in government.
The Mandela Fellows spent their final two weeks of the institute exploring the legal and economic institutions for civil society and conflict mitigation with classroom sessions on planning, budgeting, implementation and monitoring of the human rights-based approach in the public sector.
Outside of the classroom, the Mandela Fellows visited several places in Lubbock and the surrounding areas, including Lubbock's Chamber of Commerce, County Detention Center, Courthouse and District Attorney's Office; the Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center; Lubbock Lake Landmark; and the Texas Tech Equestrian Center. They also completed service activities with Meals On Wheels and the South Plains Food Bank's GRUB Farm; accompanied local police officers on ride-alongs and participated in Lubbock's 4th of July festivities.
Conrad Lyford, a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, said the Mandela Fellows received targeted instructions and ideas on topics they are interested in, including health, finance and agriculture. The opportunity to work and interact with the Mandela Fellows provided an unforgettable experience for everyone involved, he added.
"I got to meet talented and creative leaders from Africa who have a passion for making a difference," Lyford said. "I expect this will lead to many future opportunities to build connections between top African leaders, Texas Tech and America, and I expect a number of opportunities for research, teaching and service to result. I hope the Mandela Fellows learned an appreciation for civil society in the United States, including academics, the justice system and our society in general."
Created in 2010, the Young African Leaders Initiative aims to support the growth and prosperity of bright, emerging leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa, strengthen democratic governance and increase peace and security across the continent.
In 2014, the Mandela Washington Fellowship was established as the flagship program of YALI. Since then, the U.S. Department of State has supported nearly 3,700 young leaders from 49 African countries to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaborations with U.S. professionals.
The 2019 Texas Tech Mandela Fellows are part of a group of 700 hosted at 27 institutions across the U.S., including only one other site in Texas, at the University of Texas at Austin. Funded by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and working closely with its implementing partner, International Research & Exchanges Board, each institution offers a six-week leadership program that will challenge, motivate and empower Mandela Fellows in one of three tracks – business, civic engagement or public management.
At the conclusion of the six weeks, the Fellows attend the annual Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit in Washington, D.C. Following the summit, 70 competitively selected Fellows participate in four weeks of additional professional development at U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies and government agencies.
CONTACT: Darren Hudson, Professor and Larry Combest Chair, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Texas Tech University at (806) 834-0546 or firstname.lastname@example.org
0820NM19 / Editor's Note: For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit here
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