UNM has been chosen to be part of the Young African Leaders Initiative headed by the U.S. State Department.
The program is set to for summer, where fellows will come to UNM to learn leadership, organizational and entrepreneurial skills.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders allows 1,000 “outstanding young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. college or university with support for professional development after they return home,” according to the program’s website.
The fellows come from culturally diverse backgrounds, claiming that 66 of last year’s participants identified as having a disability, 30 percent came from rural areas and 50 percent of fellows were women.
“This is a way for us to diversify our economy, and create new relationships with people in Africa that can benefit from our research,” said Bruce Milne, project leader and director of UNM’s Sustainability Studies Program.
When fellows return to Africa, they are equipped with skills that can be applied in their home communities. Professors from business, geography and sustainability studies will participate in the program, he said.
Leaders want to tap into Albuquerque’s entrepreneurial spirit, and invite local business owners to become mentors in the program, Milne said.