On October 14, 2021, Ambassador Michael McCarthy and U.S. Embassy Monrovia celebrated the 2021 class of the Mandela Washington Fellowship. The 19 Fellows were joined by government officials, business leaders, media heads, Embassy personnel, and other community leaders to receive their graduation certificates and share stories of their exchange experiences.
Each 2021 Mandela Washington Fellow participated in a six-week virtual exchange with one of 14 different U.S. universities. They joined peers from across Africa in leadership institutes focused on business, civic engagement, and public management. Working with university faculty and students as well as community members, the Fellows learned about U.S. government structure and function, public speaking, networking, partnership building, project management, and effective decision-making.
Ambassador McCarthy lauded the cohort, recognizing the challenge of being the first group to do their exchange virtually while also commending them for the commitment they demonstrated staying focused. General Services Agency Director General Mary Broh urged the Fellows to use their new skills for public service, and 2010 Young African Leader Initiative (YALI) Fellow and Managing Director of the Daily Observer Bai Best similarly counseled the group to commit to improve Liberia as the next generation of leaders. Charles Gbollie, representing the 2021 cohort, spoke about feeling inspired by the relationships the Liberian Fellows created with U.S. and African peers.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of the U.S. Government’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Established in 2014, the Mandela Washington Fellowship has brought nearly 4,400 young leaders from every country in Sub-Saharan Africa to the United States for academic and leadership training. The Fellows, between the ages of 25 and 35, are accomplished innovators and leaders in their communities and countries. Those interested in the Fellowship can learn more at https://www.mandelawashingtonfellowship.org/.
We are in the business of building future together. So, we congratulate each of our 2021 Fellows and look forward to working alongside them for decades to come!
The 2021 Mandela Washington Fellowship cohort (in alphabetical order):
Grace Baba – Leadership in Business – University of Nevada-Reno
Abraham Barry – Leadership in Business – University of Nevada-Reno
Goto Cooper – Leadership in Civic Engagement – University of Delaware
Jeremiah Cooper – Leadership in Business – University of Texas-Austin
Kundi Doe – Leadership in Business – Northwestern University
Peva Gbagornah – Leadership in Public Management – Bridgewater State University
Charles Gbollie – Leadership in Public Management – Bridgewater State University
Gerald Hodges – Leadership in Civic Engagement – Indiana University-Bloomington
Famata Kamara – Leadership in Business – Drake University
Mahawa Komala – Leadership in Civic Engagement – Rutgers University
Princess Kowo – Leadership in Public Management – University of California-Davis
Shermuker Makain Jr. – Leadership in Business – Drake University
Michael Pewu – Leadership in Business – University of Iowa
Janet Ricks – Leadership in Civic Engagement – University of Georgia
Dehkonte Sawiea – Leadership in Business – Northwestern University
Zenabia Taylor – Leadership in Public Management – Wayne State University
K. Tendra Tenwah-Gweh – Leadership in Public Management – University of California-Davis
Zeporah Ward – Leadership in Business – Clark Atlanta University
Trokon Wrepue – Leadership in Public Management – Georgia State University