Young African entrepreneurs training and touring at Notre Dame

Author: Michael O. Garvey


Twenty-five young African leaders from 19 countries in Africa have arrived at the University of Notre Dame for six weeks of business training and cultural immersion as participants in the Obama administration’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

The YALI program was launched in 2010 by President Barack Obama to support young African leaders in spurring economic growth, democratic governance and peace on their continent.

This is the second year that Notre Dame has been among the elite group of colleges and universities chosen by the U.S. Department of State as a host institution for YALI’s Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders program. As part of the Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD), the six-week institute is supported by a $150,000 grant from the State Department.

In addition to their academic coursework in Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, the YALI fellows will go on day trips to Detroit, Indianapolis and Chicago. They also will visit the municipal offices of the City of South Bend and such local businesses as Better World Books, enFocus and the South Bend Chocolate Co.; tour the Amish country around Shipshewana; attend a music festival in St. Joseph, Michigan; and take in a South Bend Cubs baseball game.

This summer, the YALI program expanded with the establishment of four Regional Leadership Centers across the African continent to provide training, mentoring and networking support for young African leaders. In July and August, two Notre Dame faculty members, Marc Hardy, director, and Angela R. Logan, associate director of Nonprofit Executive Programs, will travel to centers in Nairobi, Kenya and Accra, Ghana, to teach week-long courses in leadership.

“Working with the U.S. Department of State’s Mandela Washington Fellows at Notre Dame has been an incredible experience,” said Joya Helmuth, associate director of NDIGD. “Having Notre Dame faculty teach in the African Regional Leadership Centers will enrich, broaden and contextualize what they are already doing with these leaders. These types of education programs highlight NDIGD’s work with faculty to extend Notre Dame’s research and educational expertise beyond campus and into the world.”

The YALI program at Notre Dame receives additional support from the Kellogg Institute’s Ford Family Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity, the University’s Engineering, Science, Technology and Entrepreneurship Excellence Masters (ESTEEM) program, the IBM Corp. and Coca-Cola Foundation’s #5by20 program for female entrepreneurs.

Contact: Joya Helmuth, 574-631-9753,