Jackson State University to Host 2022 Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni Enrichment Institute

Jackson State University (JSU) is proud to announce its selection as an Alumni Enrichment Institute Partner for the 2022 Alumni Enrichment Institutes, a new opportunity for 2021 Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni to travel to the United States in summer 2022 to collaborate with U.S. counterparts and each other and to continue building the professional and leadership skills they developed during their virtual 2021 Leadership Institutes. Beginning in late July, JSU will host 25 of Africa’s bright, emerging leaders for a two-week Alumni Enrichment Institute, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

“Jackson State University is honored to be selected as the first institution in the state of Mississippi to partner with the Mandela Washington Fellowship to host these scholars,” said President Thomas K. Hudson, J.D. “Our faculty and students look forward to extending the Southern hospitality that the city of Jackson is known for.”

“This program will foster the exchange of ideas and cultures between the Participants, faculty, staff, and the people of Mississippi,” said Lydia Didia, Ph.D., administrative director for the Alumni Enrichment Institute at Jackson State University. “I see this as the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship for the Participants, the JSU family, and the larger community. JSU has a lot to offer, so we look forward to showcasing our talents at JSU and our Mississippi hospitality.”

The Alumni Enrichment Institutes are a follow-on opportunity of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).  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 Africa.  Since 2014, the U.S. Department of State has supported nearly 5,100 Mandela Washington Fellows from across Sub-Saharan Africa to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaboration with U.S. professionals.

“As a native of Jackson and a graduate of Jackson State, I am honored to share my city and Institution with these young African leaders. Participants will have an opportunity to connect with local entrepreneurs and leaders and to engage in community service projects and we are eager to facilitate these exchanges,” said Edith Davidson, Ph.D., community engagement specialist for the Alumni Enrichment Institute at Jackson State University.

The cohort of 25 Participants hosted by Jackson State University will be part of a larger group of 200 2021 Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni hosted at eight educational institutions across the United States.  These institutions represent the diversity of U.S. higher education, including public and private schools, rural and urban campuses, and small and large student populations.

“As an entrepreneurship professor, I see the opportunity to engage in knowledge exchanges with future leaders who are innovating across multiple sectors (civic engagement, public management, entrepreneurship) and contexts of Africa as an opportunity to build trans-border relationships that can grow Mississippi,” saidSharon Alicia Simmons, Ph.D., program directorfor the Alumni Enrichment Institute at Jackson State University.

The two-week Alumni Enrichment Institutes will leverage experiential and discussion-based learning to provide Participants with broadly applicable knowledge about U.S. culture and society and immerse them in a U.S. community through community service, cultural exchange, strategic networking, and site visits.  Participants will also engage in programming on topics such as the United States’ diverse culture and society, resiliency and ethics in leadership, and social justice principles.

Prior to their arrival at Jackson State University, Alumni Enrichment Institute Participants will attend Welcome Events in Washington, D.C., where they will engage with U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies, and government agencies with an interest in Africa to develop mutual understanding through high-level sessions and workshops, forming a sustainable, prestigious network of effective leaders in critical sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa and the United States.

Funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and implemented by IREX, the Alumni Enrichment Institutes offer a unique professional development that will challenge, motivate, and empower young leaders from Africa to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.

Some of the highlights of the Jackson State University program will include guided visits to area civil rights and art museums, the Chahta Immi Cultural Center, the Nissan Canton Assembly plant, and Sanderson Farms. Participants will give back to the community through service opportunities at the iVillage, Habitat for Humanity, and a local food bank in Jackson. There will be many opportunities to meet Participants during their stay, including roundtable networking lunches and receptions hosted by the Rotary Club of North Jackson, Greater Jackson Chambers of Commerce, Mississippi Business Bureaus, Institute for Social Justice and Racial Relations at JSU, Systems Electro Coating, LLC, and Systems Consultants Associates.

For additional information about the 2022 Alumni Enrichment Institute at Jackson State University, please contact Lydia Didia, Ph.D., at Lydia.n.didia@jsums.edu or Jennifer Steele at jennifer.l.steele@jsums.edu.

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 mandelawashingtonfellowship.org.