Charlottesville, VA – The African continent represents six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world. Home to over 1.2 billion people, nearly two-thirds of the continent is under 25. Africa’s young people will be consequential influencers of our global future, but even with their unprecedented spirit of innovation, many still face significant political and social challenges in their local communities.

25 young leaders representing 16 countries in sub-Saharan Africa will participate in a six-week dialogue on human rights and justice, good governance, and civic engagement at the Presidential Precinct’s historic sites and universities where modern democracy was born. These leaders represent one cohort of the 700 Mandela Washington Fellows coming to the U.S. this summer.

Members of the media are welcomed to engage as the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellows discuss and debate the strengths and weaknesses of various leadership tactics, learn from the experience of our local community, and collaborate on shaping the future of the African continent. Each of these 25 leaders has a vivid story to tell, offering deep, personal perspective on the most pressing challenges facing our world today.

Principal media opportunities throughout the program include:

Mandela Washington Fellowship Opening Ceremonies (Charlottesville)
June 22 reception and luncheon at the University of Virginia Rotunda
• The Honorable John Charles Thomas, Retired Justice, Supreme Court of Virginia
• Teresa Sullivan, President, The University of Virginia

#MWFLive Panel Discussions
Five panel discussions, spread throughout the six-week program, that feature moderated, live discussions on the future of the African continent. Panels will stream live at Specific dates and topics to be announced.

Africa Ideas Summit & Closing Ceremonies (Williamsburg)
July 25 summit featuring ignite talks from each of the 25 Fellows, followed by a closing ceremony at William & Mary’s historic Wren Building.

Africa Business Forum (Washington D.C.)
July 27 forum hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that convenes global business executives, government officials, and academic leaders, forming solutions and discussing the role of public-private partnerships, small to medium enterprises (SMEs), and global corporations in supporting Africa’s youth.

Following their six-week curriculum, all 700 nation-wide Fellows will come together in Washington, D.C. for a three-day Presidential Summit. A select group of 100 Fellows will remain in the United States after the Presidential Summit for an eight-week internship experience at a relevant U.S. business, NGO, or government agency. Further, the Mandela Washington Fellowship includes robust programming in Africa, including networking opportunities, continued professional development, and access to seed funding.

About the Presidential Precinct:
From the birthplace of modern democracy, the Presidential Precinct engages and inspires emerging leaders to address the most pressing challenges in their countries. Precinct programs provide leaders with new perspectives, skills, networks, and visibility, as the form a powerful force for the creating of thriving, just, and free societies. Over the past five years, nearly 700 leaders from 128 countries have participated in the Precinct’s premier leadership initiatives.

The Precinct’s consortium is made up of six prestigious institutions – the University of Virginia, William & Mary, William Short’s Morven, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, James Monroe’s Highland, and James Madison’s Montpelier. For the fifth year, the Presidential Precinct has been selected as 1 of 28 institutes, and the only consortium, to host the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship, which will bring 700 emerging African leaders to the U.S. this year as part of the Young African Leaders Initiative.

For a complete list of fellow biographies and sectors, visit or contact:
Drew Precious, Marketing & Communications Manager
The Presidential Precinct