M.P.A. program partners with 2022 Mandela Washington Fellowship Program

For the second year in a row, Wayne State University was selected as an institute partner for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, a program of the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by the International Research & Exchanges Board. This U.S. Department of State program brings young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa to the U.S. for academic and leadership training.

2022 Mandela Washington fellows at the Graduation Ceremony
2022 Mandela Washington fellows at the Graduation Ceremony

In 2021, the program was conducted virtually due to the pandemic. However, this year, the program was in-person with Wayne State hosting 25 emerging leaders from 18 nations in Africa. The fellows arrived in June for a six-week Public Management Leadership Institute managed by the Office of International Programs. The M.P.A. program served as the program partner in offering academic content in public management.

The institute curriculum provides executive-style training combined with site visits, community service, and networking opportunities to enhance fellows' public management and leadership skills and allow fellows to develop connections with organizations and professionals in Detroit and southeast Michigan. Dr. Kyu-Nahm Jun served as the academic director and Dr. Alisa Moldavanova served as the faculty coordinator.

Other M.P.A. and political science faculty who participated in the program were Professors Ron Brown, Sharon Lean, Brady Baybeck, Kristin Taylor, Robert Heuton and Dauda Abubakar (University of Michigan-Flint). Several M.P.A. alumni also served as coaches for the fellows. The coaches worked one-on-one with a fellow to complete a focus project during their fellowship program. The coaches were:

  • Jennifer Mahn (M.P.A., '15)
  • Timothy Michling (M.P.A., '15)
  • Scott Stewart (M.P.A., '19)
  • Christopher Matus (MUP, '13)
  • Sean Davidson (M.P.A., '20)
  • Dominique Albrecht (M.P.A., '17)
  • William Cochran (M.P.A., '20)
  • Courtney Flynn (M.P.A., '16)
  • Amanda Jaczkowski (M.P.A., '21)
  • Elizabeth King (M.P.A., '17)
  • Melissa Fairbairn (M.P.A., '20)
  • Richard Pineau (M.P.A., '16)
  • The fellowship was an excellent and meaningful experience for fellows and coaches alike. Melissa Fairbairn (M.P.A., '20), assistant to the city manager with the city of Birmingham, described her role as a coach as follows: "Acting as a coach with the Mandela Washington Fellowship program has been a very interesting and rewarding experience. I was paired with Mcolisi Stan Maphosa from Eswatini.

    Mcolisi is an economist specializing in educational services for his nation's government. As a coach, my role was to be a sounding board for his ideas for his final project and offer insight into ways to improve the project proposal. We met three times to discuss Mcolisi's project which is designed to improve the lives of Eswatini's civil service employees. I am looking forward to hearing about how his proposal is received by Eswatini's government upon his return and hope that he will be able to implement it."

    "I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of Wayne State University's Young African Leaders Initiative. Working directly with the fellows as a coach has been an enriching experience. It is wonderful to simply meet new people and learn about unfamiliar countries and cultures, but the chance to dig into topics and build friendships with these incredible leaders is inspiring. The experience has helped me in my own career and encouraged me to consider issues shaping my local community from a global perspective." Said Chris Matus, director of government relations with Wayne County.

    Richard Pineau (M.P.A., '16), associate professor of teaching and chair at the Wayne State Academy of Teachers, shared: "The Mandela Washington Fellowship certainly does more than just bring some inspiring people to the U.S. and more specifically to Wayne State University, but it brings together caring, dedicated, and ambitious professionals who are trying to make the world a better place."

    The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders was indeed a great opportunity and experience for our M.P.A. program and alumni. The M.P.A. program looks forward to participating again next year!

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