Duquesne gets State Department grant to educate young African leaders

Leah Devorak|Photo Editor A mural on the side of the Laval House celebrates the Spiritan connections to the African continent. Recently, the U.S. State Department awarded the university a grant of about $143,000 for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

Leah Devorak|Photo Editor
A mural on the side of the Laval House celebrates the Spiritan connections to the African continent. Recently, the U.S. State Department awarded the university a grant of about $143,000 for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

Hallie Lauer | Layout Editor

For the second consecutive year, Duquesne has been awarded a grant worth $143,160 from the U.S. State Department to host an academic study program for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

The grant was originally awarded to the Office of International Programs and the Center for African Studies in 2016.

“Every year you have to reapply. It’s very competitive,” said Gerald Boodoo, the director for the Center for African Studies.

Started in 2014 the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders stems from President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI.) The program has since been taken over by Congress, according to Boodoo.

YALI is an effort to promote leadership and invest in the future of the next generation of Africa.

The program is for young emerging leaders from sub-saharan African countries to come to America to learn different skill sets to make them better leaders.

“Last year we had about 42,000 applicants, this year it is upwards of 40,000,” Boodoo said.

Duquesne is one out of about 40 schools who get Mandela Washington Fellows to teach over the summer.

“This is a prestigious program through the State Department that gives the university some recognition throughout Africa,” said Joe DeCrosta, director of the Office of International Programs.

This year’s program on Civil Leadership will run from June 16 to July 31. According to DeCrosta, the program is “designed for Fellows who are civically engaged and serving the public through nongovernmental organizations, community-based organizations, or volunteerism.”

Duquesne brings in local experts and professionals to assist as mentors, discussion leaders or to provide different volunteer experience for the Fellows.

“Although our main purpose is to share our knowledge about Civic Leadership issues in Pittsburgh and the States, the program allows Duquesne to gain access to very impressive young leaders on the African continent and allows us to explore the possibility for various partnerships in Africa for the future,” DeCrosta said.

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