The Dickey Center welcomes Young African Leadership Initiative alumni to campus

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This is the first time the Mandela Washington Fellows have been in Dartmouth since 2018.

by Adriana James-Rodil | 08/12/22 05:10


From July 22 to August 5, the Dickey Center for International Understanding hosted 24 members of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of the US State Department Young African Leadership Initiative – a group launched in 2010 to support young African students in their work. for economic growth, democracy and peace, according to the dickey center.

During their two-week visit to Dartmouth as part of the MWF Alumni Enrichment Institute, the Fellows engaged in a variety of activities – including community service in the Upper Valley, discussions among themselves about topics such as volunteering and visits to the Hood Museum and New Hampshire State House – to participate in cultural exchanges and develop leadership skills.

“This summer, [we] had the opportunity to do a cultural exchange element of the program and come and experience more on an American campus [and] having leadership sessions,” said Amy Newcomb, Dickey Center Program Manager and Academic Director of YALI MWF. Fellows also visited companies in their fields or professional interests.

The 24 participants had already committed to virtual programming for the 2021 Mandela Washington Fellowship, which went live due to COVID-19. The College last hosted Scholars in person for a six-week program in 2018, according to Newcomb.

In addition to the 24 Dartmouth Scholars, about 170 2021 scholarship alumni will attend programs at seven other educational institutions across the country, according to the webpage. Newcomb said the US State Department reached out to all eight educational institutions to request a condensed two-week version of the program for 2021 Scholars. She added that the Dickey Center “jumped at” the opportunity to welcome.

“Our whole team said it was the most fun we’ve ever had in our professional experiences,” she said. “We absolutely wanted to find a way to do that.”

After a three-day orientation, fellows dedicated themselves each day to topics including social justice and race in America; leadership and networking; and community engagement and volunteerism, Newcomb said. Dickey Center staff then organized discussions, workshops and site visits based on the day’s theme.

Fellows have also participated in community service projects with organizations in the Upper Valley, including Willing Hands and Spark Community Center, Newcomb said. The Dickey Center’s associate director of global health and development, Dawn Carey, added that the Dickey Center has partnered with the Dartmouth Center for Social Impact to manage the service component of the program.

Fellows also participated in a digital storytelling workshop with Jones Media Center media learning technologist Susan Simon, who said she enjoyed getting to know the fellows.

“His [been] a highlight of my career to work with YALI,” said Simon. “Their stories are quite deep.”

The MWF ended with the departure of the scholars from campus on August 5. Carey said the fellows “exceeded expectations in their preparation and commitment.”

One scholar, Chifuniro Kambauwa, founded an organization that works with women living with HIV/AIDS in her home country of Malawi, called the Open Arms Foundation. Kambauwa said the foundation encourages women to venture into the fish farming business and teaches the importance of respecting the use of medication.

Kambauwa described YALI as a “really good experience,” adding that she can apply lessons learned in the program to her organization.

“Being in college, I at least got to see how people in America volunteer, which is very different from what my country does,” Kambauwa said. “… [Here] I saw people [who were] very passionate about what they do, about their work, which is different from my country.

Another scholar, Maribe Mamobolo, said she started a business in South Africa called Partnerships Resource Hub, aimed at meeting one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Mamobolo said the YALI program “has absolutely fueled the core of what I do because I’m in this collaborative space.”

“There is no other program like this for young Africans to come together and work together, so for me this is at the heart of my business,” he added. “…I can easily say that if I go to a particular country [in Africa]I have someone I can work with, someone who helps me navigate certain spaces.

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