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Dartmouth's Network of Young African Leaders Continues to Grow

Aug 09, 2018   |   by Bill Platt   |   Dartmouth News

YALI group selfie
Members of the Dartmouth YALI business and entrepreneurship institute pose for a group selfie at the closing ceremony on July 26. (Photo by Lars Blackmore)

The John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding hosted 25 Mandela Washington Fellows in the College’s 2018 session of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) business and entrepreneurship institute.

The U.S. State Department’s Mandela Washington Fellowships, launched in 2014 as part of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative, provide young business, cultural, and civic leaders from sub-Saharan Africa with an opportunity to study at one of 37 U.S. colleges or universities, and provide continued support for professional development after they return home.

Since the YALI program began five years ago, Dartmouth has hosted 125 young innovators from 38 countries, built a training network of leaders and entrepreneurs across Africa, and enriched the lives of Dartmouth students and the Upper Valley community, says Daniel Benjamin, the Norman E. McCulloch Jr. Director of the Dickey Center, which runs the YALI program with support from many other campus partners.

The six-week Dartmouth program involves intensive business and entrepreneurship training, instruction and practical work in design thinking led by Thayer School of Engineering Lecturer Eugene Korsunskiy, and workshops on building a business plan and pitching it to investors, led by entrepreneur Rich Nadworny ’82 in collaboration with Research Professor Lorie Loeb, executive director of Dartmouth’s DALI Lab. The fellows also go on site visits to innovative area businesses, including King Arthur Flour, Timberland, and Ben & Jerry’s, and participate in leadership sessions led by the Tuck School of Business, team-building events led by the Outdoor Programs Office, service programs led by the Center for Social Impact, and many cultural events.

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