The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Young African Leaders Initiative

Dartmouth Hosts Young African Leaders

For the fourth summer in a row, Dartmouth is host to 25 emerging business leaders and entrepreneurs from Sub-Saharan Africa through the Mandela Washington Fellowship as part of the United States Government’s Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI). The Fellows participated in an academic and leadership institute in business and entrepreneurship for six-weeks during the summer term of 2017.

YALI is a program led by the Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs overseen by the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX).

The Fellowship aims to enhance leadership, strengthen communication skills, and foster personal connections. The Rockefeller Center leads sessions on mentoring, networking, leadership, and professional opportunities.

Recognizing Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant: Jimmy Fair '18

Jimmy Fair ’18 considers the Rockefeller Center to be his “second home” at Dartmouth. Jimmy first became involved with the Rockefeller Center by taking PBPL 5: Introduction to Public Policy with Professor Ron Shaiko during his freshman winter. His involvement continued during his first year with participation the Dartmouth Leadership Attitudes and Behaviors Program (D-LAB), the Rockefeller Peer Mentoring Program (RPMP), and selection into the First-Year Fellows program.

During his sophomore year he participated in the Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP), and also began working for the Rockefeller Center as a Student Program Assistant for the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP).

As a program assistant, Jimmy’s main responsibilities were to send out vital communications with participants and head up the reflection and evaluation process. He spent the majority of his work time each week analyzing questionnaires and other forms of feedback in order to customize the program to student needs and attain the preset leadership objectives for the term.

2016 Mandela Washington Fellow: Rabiatou Harouna Moussa

Rabiatou Harouna Moussa Software Engineer, Orange Niger, Niger

Since childhood, Rabiatou Harouna Moussa has been passionate about technology and business. From playing with computer desktops and raptly watching “geeky” characters on television shows and movies, Rabiatou realized that she wanted to pursue a career in technology. After contemplating all of the the different careers and types of engineering that she could study, Rabiatou ultimately decided that she would go into software engineering. For her, engineering would be her way to develop the innovative tools needed to tackle her country’s issues and shape its future course.

“I am a dreamer,” says Rabiatou. “I strive to be the change that I want to see in my country.”

2016 Mandela Washington Fellow: Andile Bonginhlanhla Dube

Andile Bonginhlanhla Dube, Founder and Creative Director, Young Hustla Initiative, South Africa

Andile Bonginhlanhla Dube was troubled by the high levels of unemployment among young people in his home country, South Africa, where the educational system encouraged job seeking rather than job creation.

“Our society thinks that we need to encourage kids to go to school and get jobs, but the fundamental thing that we forget is if everyone is going to look for jobs, who is actually creating these jobs?” says Andile.

The concept of job creation was one of the major driving forces in his founding of the Young Hustla Initiative, where he and his team teach classes on entrepreneurship and business to underprivileged and previously disadvantaged young people and their communities. They feel that many young people have lost their sense of purpose and that young people need a “helping hand” to discover their true potential.

The Mandela Washington Fellows at Dartmouth

Dartmouth’s third summer as a Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) host for a cohort of Mandela Washignton Fellows concluded in Washington, D.C. at the end of July. On campus, the program is a collaboration between the Dickey Center for International Understanding, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences, the Dartmouth Center for Service, the Thayer School of Engineering, the Outdoor Programs Office, and the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network (DEN).

Read more about their experiences this summer in the Upper Valley and their perspectives on leadership, technology, education, and entrepreneurship in Africa in this Dartmouth News article.

2016 Mandela Washington Fellow: Ruvimbo Katiyo

Ruvimbo Katiyo Creator, Hair and Beauty Hub, Zimbabwe

Ruvimbo Katiyo has over four years in the beauty and fashion industry, including hair care, cosmetics, and jewelry design. Her passion for using entrepreneurship to make a positive impact in her community was ignited during her sophomore year at Berea College in Kentucky, where she was selected as a fellow for the Entrepreneurship for the Public Good Program. The program, designed in the Appalachian region, allowed her to witness the challenges that people face in the Appalachian region, which motivated her to apply the same model to her community. After her graduation, Ruvimbo returned to Zimbabwe where she began using her talents in design and jewelry as a starting point for earning a steady income. Later, she started to teach other women these skills in order to provide them with ways to earn their own income. 

The Mandela Washington Fellows at Dartmouth

In April of 2013, President Obama announced the creation of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) during his visit to Africa. The program, now known as the “Mandela Washington Fellowship,” is overseen by the U.S. State Department and the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX) and over 1000 young African leaders have participated so far.

The goals of the Mandela Washington Fellowship are:

  •     build and sustain a network of young Sub-Saharan leaders
  •     strengthen ties between Sub-Saharan Africa and the United States
  •     prepare Fellows for future leadership opportunities in Africa

Each summer colleges and universities across the country host 25 Fellows for a six-week course that provides leadership training, academic coursework, and mentoring in one of three areas: business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, and public management.

2015 Mandela Washington Fellow: Hyasintha Ntuyeko

This is part of an ongoing series of articles on the Rockefeller Center's participation in the Young African Leaders Initiative, or YALI.

Inspired by her own struggles, Hyasintha Ntuyeko devised a solution that has helped her entire community. Working as a telecom engineer in Tanzania, Hyasintha noticed the stigma surrounding menstruation. Humiliation led many girls to stay at home for however many days their periods lasted. These girls would miss school and sometime not even finish their education. Not having an education would put them in conditions where they would depend on men for sustenance, leaving many women unhappy. On top of this, girls who suffered from menstruation issues or experienced excessive levels of pain were too embarrassed to address their health problems. 

2015 Mandela Washington Fellow: Kelvin Macharia Kuria

This is part of an ongoing series of articles on the Rockefeller Center's participation in the Young African Leaders Initiative, or YALI.

Kelvin Macharia Kuria is a 2015 Mandela Washington Fellow from Nairobi. Before coming to Dartmouth, Kelvin founded his own company, earned a Bachelor’s of commerce degree from the University of Nairobi, and received a diploma in Entrepreneurship and Leadership from Africa Leadership Academy. He has been named among Forbes’s Top Thirty Most Promising Entrepreneurs in Africa and has been awarded CNN’s African Startup of the Year. 

Kelvin’s entrepreneurial spirit dates back to his years in primary school. As a young boy, Kelvin was always intrigued by technology and its potential to provide solutions. In class 7, he devised an innovative watch that reads shadows to tell time. In high school, Kelvin invented an organic insecticide.

YALI at the Rockefeller Center: Uncovering Your Strengths with Whit Mitchell

This is part of an ongoing series of articles on the Rockefeller Center's participation in the Young African Leaders Initiative, or YALI.

Chioma Agha
2015 Dartmouth Mandela Washington Fellow
CEO of Swish Ideas

I discovered more of myself on the 7th of July at the Rockefeller Center. I remember being asked to do a lengthy survey prior to attending class, which required that I be totally honest. The results were astonishing.


The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences