BLM Arizona hosts Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

BLM Arizona recently had the honor of hosting a cohort of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders for a public lands session at the Arizona State Office. The Mandela Fellowship is an official U.S. State Department-sponsored program and is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). YALI is the U.S. government's signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. It was launched in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Sub-Saharan Africa.

A group of people stand facing forwards
2022 Mandela Washington Fellows visit the BLM Arizona State Office.

In 2022, 700 Fellows from Sub-Saharan Africa are participating in the program. Fellows hone their skills at a U.S. college or university with support for professional development when they return home. The Fellows, who are between the ages of 25 and 35, have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive impact in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries. Arizona State University's (ASU) Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions was the host to a cohort of 25 Fellows from 19 African nations who participated in nearly six weeks of immersion in the Leaders in Public Management Institute.

BLM Arizona was selected to host the Mandela Washington Fellows through its partnership with ASU. BLM Arizona State Director Ray Suazo and Deputy State Director – Communications Amber Cargile provided the Fellows with an overview of the history and management of BLM-managed public lands and participated in dialogue with them on a variety of topics related to public land management, leadership and public service. The 2022 session was an opportunity to re-engage with the Fellows program after a hiatus during the pandemic. It was attended by approximately a dozen BLM Arizona employees.

“I am so happy that we were selected to host this group of Mandela Washington Fellows,” said BLM Arizona Director Ray Suazo. “I found it personally rewarding to take part in this extremely valuable exchange of ideas, and I enjoyed having the opportunity to meet a group of people who are amazing leaders in their countries.”